Smart And Spicy
My Hilarious Search for a Roommate
February 11, 2016
I could write a book about looking for a roommate; better yet, a movie. You won't believe all the funny things that happen.
I was afraid to start. Who was I expecting - Jacquie the Ripper? I feared being in a closed space - the apartment - with complete strangers. I sounded paranoid, even to myself. Yet you read about people who take silly risks and get hurt.
I decided to not be paranoid, but not casual; I'd aim for careful. Inevitably, you take chances.
It's like looking for an apartment at all. Everyone wants your social security number. Once you give it, it's a recipe for identity theft. I even called social security. The person there knew the problem; she advised me not to give out my social security number. "What should I do? You can't get an apartment otherwise." "We know." I realized that all over LA landlords had files with people's ID. If their visitors found those files? Is it crazy to realize you could really complicate life, then do it anyway?
I called one ad for a roommate and the guy asked, "Do you cook?" I said yes.
"Do you use a stove?"
No, I rub two sticks together before I make dinner. (He was selling his house, and wanted an invisible roommate, though he also wanted half his mortgage paid).
He could have asked, "Do you go to the bathroom regularly?"
"You'll be eating your meals in your bedroom, right?" asked one woman. "Can't I use the dining table?" It was near the kitchen. "Hmm... I guess you could use *my table*. Clearly it was all her apartment.
"You don't have dishes, do you?" another asked. "I have no room for them." "Can I use yours?" She frowned.
One woman, a psychologist, grilled me outside for two hours. I was dying to see the place. Finally, I asked to see the bedroom. "Oh, you want to see it?"
Right now, I have my own apartment and I'm looking for a roommate. I tried to rent a smaller place, but kept missing being first. Searching was exhausting, and I couldn't get on with my life.
When I found a beautiful place that was too big, and I could get it, I decided to look for a roommate. Which explains why I'm doing that right now.
BLATANT ROOMMATE APPEAL: If you're looking and want something nice, near everything, with lots of "amenities", please email me. My email address is at the end of this column. After all I've gone through I think I'm a real bargain. How lucky you'd be if you choose me; I'm so normal.
This is hilarious: Who comes to look at an apartment and never wants to see it?
A mother-and-daughter combo, French, met me nearby. I like French people, and speak fluent French. I've lived in France, and know the code. The mother was the worst kind of snob, looking her nose down on people not up to her perceived level of her own sophistication. The daughter wanted to justify to maman that she liked West Hollywood, reluctantly agreeing to look in Culver City (I got this from hearing them rudely talk in French right in front of me, ignoring that I speak French). They seemed to struggle verbally, without words; it was a battle of looks. Finally the mother sighed. "Ok, let's go to West Hollywood." They refused to even see the apartment. The daughter told me she'd moved from the Castro in San Francisco. What could I say? Nothing like an idée fixe.
Some people used me as bargaining chip; they'd tell horror stories of where they lived, say they loved me and the apartment, ask to move in immediately. The next day they'd decide to stay put. They waste my time; it's demoralizing. "Why did you come?" I ask. "Oh, I wanted to see what was out there."
The ad clearly says it's for a roommate. Yet people call, asking could have their own apartment. Does anyone read?
I started texting to shorten the curve; this generation prefers to text. And they like breaking up in texts too; one woman agreed to move in, then texted the night before. She'd changed her mind.
A spiky-haired woman with piercings asked, "Do you like music?" "Yes..." "I like to play mine loud a lot of the time." I pictured acid metal.
One guy detailed how he's the perfect roommate, and it sounded true. At the end of his message: "I also have a 17-pound dog, but he won't make a sound."
I'm reduced to giving flyers to people in my bank, supermarket, dry cleaner; I've become shameless, and hand one to everyone crossing my path.
The flip side is I've met some wonderful people. One of the lovelier ones has already become a dear friend.
This weekend is Valentine's Day. Please do nice things for people, male and female; everyone needs something to smile about. Happy Valentine's Day!
©Carole Bell 2016 Carole Bell is a writer interested in everything.
You can write to her at: email@example.com