Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Movin' Out isn't just a gay musical with Nick Lachey

Let me explain something to you that you may not know about me. If there is any phrase that I would use to describe myself that could be applied consistently to my adult life it would be "laid back." I suppose that may be a bit generous, because in reality this trait manifests itself as being really fucking lazy. I mean, I work hard (no, really!) and I'll give anything a shot once (I even conceded and played a round of tennis for a second time a few weeks ago), but if things aren't going my way I'm apt to get myself right back home, head held high, and drink a beer. So apartment hunting in NYC is, as you would expect, not my forte. In The South, 'hunting' is a term we use synonymously to mean "shooting animals" and "searching for a new place to live," but I never thought that I would be willing to actually buy a gun and take out brokers just for a set of keys. I am fairly close to that point now. Let me tell you two quick stories.

Friday afternoon a few weeks ago I was finishing up work, daydreaming about the fabulously sunny weekend ahead. The plan was to go out with a few of Her friends from school, catch up on some reading at the beach, and get some much needed sleep. I'm not sure if you know anyone in graduate school in a medical field, but if you don't you should meet some. Because ninety percent of them are girls, and of those, pretty much ninety percent of them are hot. So the weekend looks like it has some potential and I'm in a pretty good mood. Since three o'clock on a Friday is about as leisurely as we get around here, I was perusing the Craigslist ads preparing for our impending move into Manhattan when I stumbled onto an ad for a two bedroom in Park Slope for $2000. I usually pass these, first off because the girls are set on moving into Manhattan, but also because brokers yell "Park Slope" if they have a place as low as 25th Street. Even if they insist on calling this area "Park Slope" I still call it "filled with Mexican gangs," but I opened the link out of curiosity anyway. It turns out the apartment was in a gorgeous section of the Slope and there was no fee and no credit check because the guy was trying to get out of the lease early. I quickly emailed him and was pleasantly surprised when he emailed back almost immediately. I called him when I left work and he assured me that he would be there all afternoon so I was more than welcome to drop by and see the place. By the time I got off the train at Union and walked the two blocks to his place I was actually getting excited. I found the building and buzzed up to his apartment. Nobody answered. I hung out for a minute and tried again. When nobody buzzed me in the second time I called his phone.

"Hi, this is Ben. I emailed you about the apartment?"

"Hey, how are you?"

"I'm good, I'm outside. Can I come up?" I asked.

"No, we have someone up here. They just took it."

A slightly overpriced apartment in Brooklyn was on the market for three and a half hours before they found someone to take it. Fuck.

This one is better.

This weekend the lovely young lady with whom we will (presumably) be sharing the mythical apartment was in town for a second job interview. I had a long day at work but, damn the torpedoes, I am pumped about moving into the heart of America. So I gathered up my pride and trekked across town to 2nd Avenue where I met the rest of my troops and we had a drink (to steady the nerves) before we walked (and walked, and walked) to Fifth Street and Avenue B. It was somewhere in the neighborhood of two million degrees Fahrenheit outside yesterday, but there was a bit of a breeze from the sewer vents so we pressed on, pulling off articles of clothing and leaving them for the bums. Millionaires in cute cafes pointed and laughed for our being silly enough to come this far east without a cab, but we were too close to victory to turn back. When we made it, we were one of a dozen or so groups waiting patiently to see a number of apartments. When he called ours we beamed and held our collective "WE'LL TAKE IT!" in until we actually saw the place. What we found on the second floor of this "LES Gem!" was three closets. Connected to each other. With a door and a stove. I know that you may be saying to yourself: "Look at this country boy. This ain't no farm, son. We measure in feet, not acres." Actually, you wouldn't be saying that to yourself because you don't say "ain't" and you probably don't know what a "farm" or an "acre" look like. I digress. Seriously. The kitchen was the size of my cubicle. The two bedrooms were slightly larger than a twin size bed. There was no living room (they call it a "two wing bedroom" in satanic rituals real estate broker talk). It was three east-west blocks from any train. And it was more than a monthly mortgage payment anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon.

This is not a resignation. I will continue to search for a place to live. But I won't be happy about it. And I will absolutely not move to Hoboken, no matter how many hipsters tell me how cool it is. I will live here for three more fucking years and then I will buy a house and throw away every piece of crap I have ever bought that folds up so it takes up less room. And then I'll stretch out on my couch and drink a beer in my central-air-cooled home, and wonder how I was ever such a sucker for putting up with this.

Wish us luck.

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