July 02, 2012
Porch Resignation, ME Newsletter, Vol, 5, Issue 27
I spent evenings after every disappointing rental property tour with an alcoholic beverage in hand, slouched in a lawn chair on semi-secluded my porch, with blurred vision and warring with myself over containment or non-containment of tears. The wine tact was part pondering self-pity, part, “I don’t really want to move all these bottles… again.”
I even was sadly happy to discover I qualified for low income housing. In a well-kept subdivision, at the end of an industrial park, the units were actually among the nicest I’d seen, but they would require either driving in the dark (because it’s Michigan and that’s how it is here 75% of the year) or taking a community provided shuttle to a bus which would take me to the Ann Arbor Transit Authority bus hub where I could catch another bus that would drop me two blocks from my office in the snow, rain, wind, heat, whatever.
I am apparently quite spoiled, fatalistic, and know myself well enough to know that the prospect of waiting in the snow, three times every morning, and the combined estimated hour and ten minutes most people who use the combined shuttle/bus service report it takes to get into campus, seemed like an unlikely scenario for me to engage in. Never mind, the return trip. So, I enlisted the help of a friend, drove out there just before dusk and waited for night to come. It’s been over two years since I attempted night driving, and I was nervous. I did drive us all the back to my current apartment. Only one verbal criticism occurred. I was stopping too far in advance of stop signs and traffic signals. I considered that to be much better than going past them, no doubt. Still, when I took my hands off the steering wheel; they were shaking. When I unbuckled my seatbelt, first looking down and then looking up, I was lightheaded. When I stepped out of the car, I knew I was going to throw-up. I made it upstairs without my friend’s offered help, and headed straight for the bathroom. It occurred to me later that I may have just forgotten to breathe deeply enough. Still, I thought I didn’t do that badly. I was thinking that if I drove the route enough times in the daylight, I could probably swing the nighttime by familiarity. I mentioned that to my test drive co-pilot. The fact that it took her longer than five seconds to form a response clued me in. I really hadn’t done that well, and, no, my night vision hasn’t gotten any better.
So, one more trying-to-stay-dry-eyed, porch evening later, I realized I truly was out of options. I’d been everywhere. It was time to give up, give in to the inevitable penny pinching, and stop worrying about moving.
So, on a Friday, after work, when I am notoriously in a bad mood anyway, I take my cranky self into the office of my newest enemy and sign a damn lease, one whole week before my extra week grace period is up. The very nice front desker who kindly completed my references for the few apartments I considered, tells me that they are sorry to see me go. When I grumpily announce that I am staying, I get a cheerful response, “I’m very glad!” Without hesitation I snark back, “At least that makes one of us.” In an effort to save the conversation from sliding downhill, the again cheerful response is “You always have a smile when you come in.” And, again, I snark back, “Yeah, for YOU.” They know it’s not their fault and they know what I am not so silently inferring, and I know I have put them in the unfair position of having to ignore my vent.
Two days later, an almost perfect opportunity presents itself. I call the office, immediately apologizing for being snarky and the gracious person at the other ends says, “Oh, I knew you weren’t annoyed at me.” Then I ask the thousands of dollars question, “So, is there a back-out grace period on the lease?” After a few seconds of expected silence, the answer, as expected is, “No, there isn’t, sorry.” Another night on the porch follows, and I decide I like my porch. A lot.
The next day, it occurs to me to ask if there is a waiting list. Because I am only responsible for rent until someone else rents it, and if someone else wants to live in my current community badly enough to pay the fee to be added to a waiting list… then, maybe…. But, in the end, I decided, no. I had already painfully resigned myself to another huge disappointment. So, now it’s official. I’m not looking. For anything, anymore, ever, or at least not until next spring when I imagine this whole scenario will repeat itself again. Or not.
Posted by jaselin at July 2, 2012 04:48 PM