I'm not a procrastinator, but I do have a habit of sitting back and waiting for whatever-I-hope-is-going-to-happen to happen. That's fine when it's something small like breakfast and you can count on your girlfriend to bring you a bagel on her way over to your house, but not so good when it's something bigger like searching out, applying for and eventually being accepted into a new apartment. Welcome to my world. This past month, I've had a gotta-get-out-of-my-house deadline of January the 31st. My room was advertised on Craigslist and within a day of interviews it was filled. I went on a few apartment hunting missions, journeyed up to Harlem a couple of times, saw some great but fecking expensive places in the Lower East Side and a few awful places in Murray Hill, attempted to wrangle my cousin into being my guarantor, failed, and didn't really find anything suitable anyway, and then I quit.
The date loomed closer, and I started feeling panicky, so I looked again. I found one in an amazing location, and discovered that the bedroom was large and filled with light, the roommate was awesome, but the kitchen, living room and bathroom had no windows and therefore all-day-darkness. I found another great place in an average location: The apartment was incredible – so clean and bright with a beautiful kitchen and open-plan living – but the roommate was a nightmare jock. I found the perfect spot – insane location, friendly roommates, and all day sun, then discovered that the photographs had been taken with a wide-angle lens and that the huge bedroom was actually only big enough to hold a single bed and nothing else.
With three days to go until D-Day, I went into overdrive and emailed every single person in my price range and preferred neighbourhoods on Craigslist. 30 emails were sent, five people replied. The first was a man in his 50s who lived in a beautiful building overlooking Washington Square Park. He called and said he'd love to meet me, but I should bear in mind that the only bathroom in the apartment was an ensuite in my bedroom and he'd be coming in every morning at 7:00am to do his business.
The second was a French DJ and producer who specialised in techno music, and worked from home. When I mentioned that I prefer commercial rap to underground hip hop, he laughed in my face. The third told me that he was giving each interviewee a 15 minute window so that there wouldn't be any awkwardness or traffic jams in the apartment. When I arrived at my 7:30pm time slot, there were 10 people inside having drinks. He'd decided to screw his original plan and let everyone hang out so he could observe their 'real personalities'. I didn't even walk in the door. The fourth had a large dog she'd forgotten to mention.
And then I discovered Daniel. He, like me, appeared to be cutting things a little fine. GREAT LAST MINUTE DEAL! screamed his ad's header. "Great last minute deal in the heart of the East Village! Big, spacious, clean two bedroom apartment with lots of storage space... Nice size bedroom, furnished with bed and a/c, chest, table and chair. And the best part, you'll have the place mostly to yourself! I am a Flight Attendant for a major airline and I travel a lot... I would just like a clean, friendly, responsible roommate I can trust."
That sounds like me, I thought.
We met yesterday, hung out for 30 minutes and got along like a house on fire. I move in tomorrow at noon.
Crisis averted. Next time, I'll endeavour to be more proactive in my hunting – it seems to work out better.
NB: This is not my apartment, it is Katie Lockhart's apartment. One of these days. Photo: Todd Selby.
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