I recently had the pleasure of my lease getting pulled out from under me at the last minute (okay, technically they told me the move-out date when I signed the lease a year ago, but who pays attention to the fine print? Why didn’t they at least send a friendly reminder about it?!). Houseless and alone in Los Angeles, I went on a three-week-house-hunting binge. I shudder to look back on it. The places I saw… I thought I was getting punked at some of these vacancies. Granted, I had a small budget (less than eight hundred), but still! Let’s review some of the hellholes by reading what the housing ads should have said:
One Bed, One Bath. Mid-Wilshire. $800: Please don’t be worried when the landlord doesn’t show up until thirty minutes after your appointment time. You can pass the time away by having a friendly conversation with the local gang member. When let into this apartment, don’t worry that the kitchen has zero appliances. We’re sure you’ll figure something out. What’s that? You seem surprised by the fact that there is a semi-circle cut out of the bathroom door! It’s just so the door can still open – see, the toilet fits perfectly in the cutout! Yes, we understand no one who ever uses that bathroom will have any privacy. No, we didn’t think about opening the door the other way. Live here only if it’s your last resort!
One Bed in a House, Burbank. $850: It’s clear that this house is absolutely gorgeous and awesome and tucked away in a super cool neighborhood. The only drawbacks are the two old men who live here. As long as you can endure their forty-five minute interview with questions and comments like, “What do your parents do?” “What is your social security number?” “You don’t wear makeup. I like that. My ex-wife never wore makeup”, you’ll be fine! Don’t be alarmed when they call you later and beg you to move in with them because you were the most normal out of everyone they interviewed. And you had boobs.
One Bed in a Two Bed Apt., La Cienega. $725: This apartment is great. The parking is amazing. The location is to die for. The set back? The lady you’ll be sharing the apartment with who doesn’t speak English, watches soap operas in a variety of languages all day, offers you chocolate repeatedly, and at the last second demands that every payment be made in cash. You may or may not start to believe your mom’s joke about how this lady killed the last tenant by feeding her candy and putting her in the oven.
One Bed in a House, Glendale, $550: Finally, the perfect fit! A bed in a house with a single mom and her daughter. They offer you full reign of the fully stocked pantry. They have two cats. They have air conditioning. This is it, you’ve finally found it! You’ll move in, you’ll get settled, and then you’ll find out the ex-wife wants to meet you before you move in and the mom tells her daughter “Can you pretend Carly doesn’t live here?” and the daughter says, “What if I can’t?” So, you’ll meet the ex-wife and pretend you’re just looking at the place when really you’ve already moved in and when everyone leaves the house you’ll realize you left your keys in your room that for the moment is not even your room and you’ll sit on the curb and wait for them to come back.
(Side note: I still live in the room in the Glendale house and I actually really like it, except for the occasional fight between exes and the ten-year-old running into my room and holding up the bra I threw on the floor and saying, “Ooooh!”)