Slurry Beta

Infrequent ruminations on nothing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Homelessness in America

I am afraid of being homeless. The mainstream media tries to make it out to be some sort of perpetual summer camp but it’s not. It’s a winter camp, too, and it can get cold out there. While I admit that there’s a certain part of me - the reclusive, crazy Montana side - that wouldn’t mind being liberated from the shackles of rental leases and utility bills, I do need to iron my pants occasionally or I would probably lose my job. So when I was notified that I needed to move out of my house by April 1 this year, I went into panic mode and immediately began scrambling to find a place to live.

Around here in this anonymous city I live in, (I’ll just say that it’s a capital city of a nation somewhere in the world) finding housing is difficult. Living by yourself is ridiculously expensive so if you are a lonely seeker like me, you really have no choice but to hit the Craig’s List roommate circuit. The process, although equivocal to a kick in the junkyard, is pretty well defined. First, you need to check the listings on Craig’s List for a place that fits your location and price criteria. Then you need to read the stupid posting and decipher exactly what the author is saying. For example, when the posting says “sunny room available in rowhouse. Room is cozy and has access to roof deck and laundry,” it actually means “the room is suffocatingly small but has a window. There will be constant traffic through your living space because it contains the door to the roof deck. The laundry machine is in your closet.” Unless you’re paying a ridiculous amount for the master bedroom nobody else wants to pay for, you’re paying a less ridiculous amount for the room nobody wants to live in. In these group houses when someone moves out everybody is free to upgrade, which inevitably leaves the worst room in the house for the resilient sucker who endures the process.

Anyway, once you find a posting with the most convincing lies, you need to respond with an email expressing your interest. But it can’t just be any email; you need to really wow these anonymous potential roommates who will be inundated with these stupid ass replies. You want them to think you're awesome but you don't want to give them information that might turn them off if they're Republicans. Be vague but folksy like, “Hey, I’m a laid back guy but not a pot head and I like to have a good time but I’m not an alcoholic. I enjoy all the same things you do! Fuck, we’d be awesome roommates!” If you do this well enough, you’ll get a reply, which comes from the person’s personal account as opposed to the anonymous CL address you responded to. Google the name.

Most likely the person will ask you to “drop by and check out the room” anytime after six tomorrow. When you head over to the address, you will notice a dozen or so other people about your age converging on the house from all conceivable angles. If you’re like me, you’ll get that feeling in the bottom of your stomach that you get when you know a situation is about to get seriously awkward. We’re talking puberty awkward. Kind of like when you go out to meet up with some of your friends at the bar and someone’s ex-girlfriend is there and then you realize you invited her ex-boyfriend who’s scheduled to arrive in the next five minutes with his new lady. Your skills of Social Meteorology immediately kick in and tell you that the situation is critical; there’s an extremely high pressure front about collide with a pocket of low pressure activity and you need to get drunk fast and run some serious interference to avoid social Armageddon. (I’m actually an expert at this, but that’s for another post.)

By this time you’ve figured out that you’ll be competing against 12 other people for a spot in their shitty open room. You walk in, they show you the room, you ask a few questions then…it’s judgment time. Everybody converges in the living room and stares at each other with a collective “how the fuck are they going to decide who gets the room” look on their faces. Note: it helps to have an attractive “how the fuck…” face to make a good impression so work on it in the mirror before hand.

Since the tenants haven’t figured out exactly how they’re going to choose, the quiet staring continues until someone breaks the ice with some small talk. Last week, in my third showing in two days, I made a deliberate attempt to be the cool ice breaker guy and simply asked how they were going to choose who gets the room. The person honestly said (this is no joke), “This is your time to shine. Ummm, so maybe you can just tell us a little about yourselves and tomorrow when we’re thinking about who to take, maybe we’ll remember you or something.” I seriously wanted to walk out right then and there, but I persevered. I collected myself, took a deep breath and charmed the pants right off of them.

Did I get the room? Nope. So what does one need to do at this point? I have no fucking clue. My guess is you need to do something immediately and maybe even shady to seal the deal. Put a cashier’s check in their back pocket on the way out, hide in their closet until everyone’s gone and jump out with a freshly baked cake, spray the competition with a radioactive mist, buy the house, I don’t know.

At any rate, I got a room. It’s small but it has its own bathroom, is in a fairly decent location and I didn’t have to go through CL to get it. I sort of know the landlord, who fills each room himself using a great website with tons of photos and honest information about the six (!) units he owns on the block. I haven’t met my roommates yet but methinks they are going to be absolutely enamored with me. And they’re going to love my new invention. I call it the Midnight Tuba.


At 2:13 PM, Blogger Angel Moroni said...

Next time, bring some baby oil and ask the host if he could show you the bathroom one more time.

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Slurry B said...

You and the baby oil, Moroni. If you weren't a divine being, I'd swear you had a mental disorder.

On a related note, if you're such an all powerful angel, why is Warren Jeffs still incarcerated?

At 10:39 AM, Anonymous james said...

the midnight tuba better be a sandwich.

At 11:07 AM, Anonymous james said...

or maybe a new style of pompadour.


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