Issue #90 – “Rental Health” – May 30th, 2006

-It’s happened to every twentysomething. You’re sitting in your cubicle Googling or MySpacing or doing just about anything to avoid actually working. Your email alert chimes and you instantly check it, only to find that it’s a mass email from a friend of a friend in a dire situation. He’s desperately reaching out to everyone he knows to ask for help. His problem? He needs an apartment – and fast. You of course delete the email as quickly as possible because it only reminds you of your last apartment search: long, arduous, and resulting in you paying $100 more a month in rent than what you set as your “absolute maximum.” This past week I searched for and found a new apartment. The process was as miserable as I thought it would be, testing my mind, body, and wallet. When it was over, I was exhausted, stressed out, and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. There’s no doubt in my mind that apartment hunting is hazardous to your rental health.

-Many apartments in Los Angeles don’t come with refrigerators – once you move in you have to buy one and install it yourself. You’re probably thinking, “What the fuck is the point of that?” I know that’s what you’re thinking because every time I was shown an apartment without a refrigerator I asked, “What the fuck is the point of that?” It’s like they just choose one appliance at random and decide not to give it you. Either that or there’s some unholy alliance between landlords and Maytag to try to drive up sales.

-I lived with my buddy Brian for three and a half years after graduation. Since then, I’ve resolved never to live with another human again, at least until I get married (and even that’s debatable). I just can’t stand having another human in my fucking personal space. Post-Brian, I moved in to a studio that was literally across the street from my girlfriend at the time. People asked why Girlfriend and I didn’t just move in together. Well, for me, the negatives outweighed the positives. The positives were that we’d both save money and get to spend a lot of time together. The negatives were that I’d have to kill her.

-Another drawback to living with your significant other is that the bedroom always skews girly. Triplet #3 lives with his fiancee and their apartment is modern and well-decorated. But once you cross the threshold into their bedroom, things get frilly and purple real quick. And I have a feeling it wasn’t Trip 3’s idea to buy 46 pillows for the bed, including a dozen of those cylindrical ones that serve no purpose at all.

-When I move out of my current one bedroom, I’ll be receiving that special door prize known as a security deposit. I think most people tend to forget they even paid a security deposit in the first place, so when they get it back, it’s like hitting the lottery. Except it’s like the lottery jackpot that comes the week after that unemployed welder wins $350 million so the prize money is reduced to only like a thousand bucks, all of which of course goes directly toward paying the security deposit on your new apartment, which, ironically, is about the same size as the unemployed welder’s place before he scratched off a winner.

-After I move into my new one bedroom next month, I will have lived in five different apartments in the five years since graduation. Each one has had its little quirks. Like the building in New York that completely renovated its roof into a beautiful sundeck – but neglected ever to tell anyone it was there. Or my current place in LA which requires you to walk through four hallways – each with a different aroma – in order to get from the elevator to my door. Sadly, my memories of each apartment are starting to run together – a sure sign that my rental health is deteriorating. Maybe one day I’ll get married and buy a house and live happily ever after. Until then, I’m content with a one-year lease, two pillows, a fridge, and my dreams.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-When I say, “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy,” what I’m really thinking is, “I hope this exact thing happens to my worst enemy.”

-The other day, I was on Crescent Heights Blvd. in West Hollywood when I saw a building with a sign taped to the wall. The sign read “Dry Paint.” Just think about how stupid that is.

-Why is it that most people cannot comprehend the “boarding by group number” process at the airport? Hey, grandpa, it’s not that fucking difficult!! Does it say Group 2 on your ticket? No? Then get the fuck to the back of the line!!

-Ever listen to a rap song on the radio and they bleep out words you didn’t even know were curses?

-I recently made the mistake of doing my grocery shopping online while I was really hungry. On impulse, I ordered some old school Mott’s applesauce snack cups. When they arrived, I noticed the package said they’re made from a “special Mott’s family recipe.” But on the other side of the package, the only ingredients listed were apples and water. Those bastards at Mott’s have been fooling us for generations!

-What happens if Shaquille O’Neal gets called for jury duty this week? I heard you can’t get out of that shit anymore.

-I’ve never been that good at basketball, but I think I know why. When I was growing up, there were bricks lining the driveway underneath my basketball hoop. When I hit a shot, the ball would fall through the hoop then hit the bricks at such an angle that it would always coming ricocheting back at my nuts. Now I unconsciously relate hitting a basket with groin pain, thus substantially throwing off my jump shot. I bet Pavlov never thought of that one.

-And, finally, it’s time for me to take a little vacation. What with my apartment search and all the, uh, emailing that I’ve been doing, I could use a break. This weekend I’m heading to London to hang with Triplet #2, who moved there last summer for work. Trip 2 and I actually studied abroad in London seven years ago, so it’ll be fun to relive our days of drunken vomiting on double-decker buses and other cultural institutions. I also remember trying to explain to a group of Brits that “calling fives” means you get your seat back if you come back within five minutes. They looked at me like I was fucking insane. After leaving London in worse shape than I found it, I’m off to Marbella. I’ve never been to Spain, but I do enjoy napping and rice, so I have high hopes. After Marbella, I’ll be swinging by New York to celebrate Father’s Day and my birthday before heading back to Los Angeles, packing up all my shit, and moving to my new apartment. It’s gonna be a whirlwind few weeks and I couldn’t be more excited. Well, except for the boarding of plane after plane behind goddamn idiots who can’t follow simple instructions and the grueling task of packing up an entire apartment. I wouldn’t wish those things on my worst enemy. Or would I? Fuck me!