My Other Full-Time Job

I should be menu planning and grocery shopping right now, but I just can’t work up the energy.  I did spend a good chunk of the day out in the sun at a bike-a-thon for local organization Bikes Not Bombs, so maybe that’s part of it.  Or maybe it’s because I’ve been spending nearly every waking and sleeping moment thinking about finding a roommate.  When Peter and Stacie first told us they were moving out (back in mid-March), I was sad but thought, “No big deal.  How hard can it be to rent out a huge room in a beautiful, cheap apartment?”  Apparently, as I alluded to in my last post, it’s on par with, say, learning Mandarin Chinese.  After many close calls in which we thought we had found someone but something fell through, we decided to nix our idea of renting out the large room and offer one of Greg’s and my rooms to Daphne’s close friend Leah, who is moving to Boston after a year in Puerto Rico.  Which means Greg and I are now moving up one floor, and we need to find someone to rent our current bedroom.  Surely, we thought, it would be easier to find a tenant for one room that is half the cost of the upstairs suite.  At first, it seemed to be going well.  We had more Craigslist responses than we knew what to do with, although some of them were questionable at best.  I laughed when we got those and insisted on reading them aloud to whoever was within earshot:

“Yo, me and my girl are lookin for somewhere to kick it.  Give me a call.” (Entertaining, but no.)

“Philosophical discussions are some of my favorite, especially if they are somewhat silly yet puzzling. In fact I consider myself very serious, yet always looking for an aspect of fun. Thats why I love gaming with people smarter than me. I learn from them and yet I don’t have to be crushed when I don’t win, because I just do it for the fun (and because I knew they were going to win anyway).” (This person sounds a bit too much like one of my clients, for whom I write social stories on flexibility when they can’t handle losing.)

“I want to come and look at the room because I really want to rent it so I would want you to let me know your schedule for today and tomorrow… pls back to me at [email] because I am always busy at work.” (This was the only sentence in the email.  Sure, Celeste, come on over.)

“I am  very friendly person and I love animals, I do baby sit my boss dog here and there for 2-3 days, his name is Bentley and he is a yorkie terrier mixed with a chiwawa very quiet humble and fully trained.” (I do enjoy a nice humble dog, but I don’t tolerate misspellings and run-on sentences.  Also, yappy dogs are the absolute worst.)

“I’ve spent the greater part of these past few years cultivating physically, metaphysically, and spiritually. I am a rock enthusiast with a passion in growing from seeds and moments. I am an aspiring performance artist with skills and interests in printmaking, ceramics, whittling, and painting. I am also a dancer (intuitively and also formally in an Afro-Haitian ensemble and danza Azteca) and dabble with the donkey jaw.” (It’s crazy, on my checklist of qualities I’m looking for in a roommate, I have “Enjoys cultivating metaphysically” and “Plays an obscure musical instrument”!)

“Hello my name is Taylor and my boyfriend has been searching for place in the Boston area. I have been helping him send emails to different adds on craigslist and this unit seems to be the perfect fit for him. He works from 10-3 m-f. He also likes to skateboard he has been skating for about 10 years now so when he’s not working he is out skating.” (So with your boyfriend’s busy 25-hour-a-week job, he is unable to send out a few emails?  Also, 10-3 schedule and skateboarding…is he 16 years old?)

Anyway, you get it.  But we’ve also had emails from people who have seemed like real gems!  We’ve even extended offers to a few of them.  They have all said the same thing when they came over:  “This place is so nice!  This is the nicest apartment I’ve looked at!  Your dogs are adorable!”  And they have all said the same thing when we emailed them about moving in:  “No.”  And so the cycle has continued for the past 2 months:  I think I have a lovely relaxing day off, then someone wants to come see the place, so I spend all day cleaning and waiting around for them to show up, and I spend 30 minutes talking to them and gauging whether or not I could live with this stranger, and then I decide that I could, and then we have a roommate meeting to discuss everything, and then we invite them to live with us, and then we get rejected for various reasons.

The process has infiltrated my life, and now all my dreams too.  I dream about firing off emails to different people, about potential roommates responding, about cost breakdowns, and I dream that I’m the only person in the house who drinks coffee and for some reason everyone judges me for it.  There are three more weeks of this special circle of hell, and we’ll either end up with a happy, normal new roommate, or in the poorhouse.  Lord help us all.


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