Monday, October 02, 2006

Don't Make A Sound, Just Move Out!

I think the greatest words of relief in the English language, and possibly the most overlooked, are "I'm home." My house is the Earth to my pointlessly orbiting moon, the big rock right in the middle of my daily ricochet around in space and back again.

There came a point during the last few weeks of furious phone calls to Brooklyn realtors when I realized how acutely afraid I was of not finding an apartment before my mandatory move out date. I was standing in the middle of a weird smelling, shitty apartment in South Williamsburg with a broker named Joel. Joel was youngish, gayish, wearing a yarmulke, and eager to leave our appointment because Rosh Hashanah was beginning. Standing next to the displaced closet parked in the middle of the tiny living room, Joel tried to sell me on the idea that the neighborhood was "very European." He also promised me the landlord would install hardwood floors if I was willing to pay the bargain price of $100 more in rent per month for the duration of my lease.

The fact that I actually began to haggle with him in my head was the breaking point. "Puerto Rico," I thought, "while not in Europe, is a lovely tropical destination. And what's a hundred bucks a month? Besides, you know, $1,200 dollars a year?"

That's what desperation sounds like.

New York real estate brokers reside on the absolute bottom of the humanity barrel. People who sell stolen organs on the black market. People who test blush in puppies' eyes. Rachel Ray. These are people I would rather deal with than ever talk to a broker again in my life. The idea that someone of my means must pay an individual approximately three thousand dollars to unlock a door and gesture toward obvious architectural elements ("Bedroom. Bedroom. Living room. Notice the floor.") requires an adjective I do not believe currently exists. It's fucked, is what it is, but that isn't even the half of it.

Eyefucked. Knifefucked. I don't know. Someone get on this.

The broker Brad and I wound up with wasn't even that bad. In fact, when it turned out we had a problem with our new locks, the office dispatched a task force of three dudes to either muscle a open a door or sufficiently intimidate the previous tenant into coughing up working keys. This was kind of them. But considering the fact that they earned three thousand dollars for what added up to about ninety minutes of work, they should've been replacing the locks with gold fixtures carved in our likenesses. They should've been carrying the heavy shit this weekend, not Brad and Jake and my dad. They should be carrying me to the subway right now.

On a bed.
Covered in afghans they knitted.
In colors of my choosing.

I suppose what you pay for is peace of mind. When the alternative is putting your stuff in storage (which you can't afford) and moving into your little brother's room (and back into a commute you can't afford), you write your broker a check like writing zeros is your hobby. It purchased the ability to unclench my fists and sleep, finally knowing where I would be laying my head in a week.

It is a good place; it's big, it's got a backyard, it's in a great neighborhood, and I have real windows with real light in my room. I no longer live within earshot (as well as gunshot, I suppose) of a correctional facility. My neighbors are the quietest around; gigantic, beautiful Greenwood cemetary is directly across the street. I bought a new quilt yesterday and slept in it last night, relieved. A little broke, a little sore, and a lot more sure that moving is my most hated thing to do, but relieved nonetheless.

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