Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
The walls of my old apartment were not at all like a beautiful woman. And neither was the woman who owned it. Knowing full well I was in Texas for a couple of weeks, she called and left me the following message: "(Safey), it (Insane Landlady Bitch). You no at house when I stop by. You unstable. You artist. I no renew lease for you. You call me."
So I dialed her number, hands shaking, ready to curse up a storm. But my phone would not connect. So I waited until I was calmer and e-mailed her a message reminding her that I was in Texas, that I had received her very rude message, and that I would look for a new apartment. I then broke the news to my new, not-shitty roommate (who was also in TX) and began searching Craigslist for apartments instead of sperm recipients.
Things looked promising. There were loads of apartments available, and many of them were affordable and close to the comic book store, where I'm now officially working.
Then I had my eventful trip home with Ben and the bus people. And I called my landlady. She did not call back. Days passed into week. I e-mailed. She failed to respond. Unfuck her.
So, my new roommate, Byrne, said he'd help look for a new apartment, and another poetry friend of mine, Mike (not a Michael, Mike) said that he and his imaginary friend were looking for an apartment. So we pooled our resources. Spent a couple of days searching through Craigslist, and then Mike found three or four apartments that we should look at.
We only made it to the first one.
How to describe the oasis of freshly laid Greek marble tiles, bamboo, stainless steel kitchen appliances, a washer and dryer without coin slots, a stunning lack of rats. There aren't enough words. Out of our price range comes to mind, but it wasn't. It was...$150 a month cheaper than where I was currently living with Divine the Nowhere Near Great and Just Plain Old Terrible. So we took it. No look at other, more expensive apartments was necessary. Though, something about the way the landlady smiled when she talked made me uneasy, Mike assured me she was a great person.
That night, while changing the trash at three a.m. an acrobatic rat did a backflip out of the trash can and hit me in the face. A sure sign I was not meant to stay. There was also a certain smell to the apartment. Mike suggested it was something dead, I noted that I hadn't seen Divine for a while. I optimistically opened the door to her room, but her corpse was not there, and neither was a great deal of her stuff. So she must have moved out. Cool, I'd alert my lawyer.
The following day, Mike, his imaginary friend and I went to sign the new lease (Byrne was working). Sure enough, when I got there there were three people in the room besides me: the new landlady, Mike, and MybuddyDex (the aforementioned imaginary friend). He seemed almost real. While we were signing, someone knocked on the door, another one of Mike's friends that I'd assumed to be imaginary (who also thought MybuddyDex was imaginary, and vice-versa). He'd just moved in down the street and was serving as a guarantor for us.
The ink on the lease was barely dry when my phone rang, it was Byrne, who'd just arrived at our old apartment. "Your Crazy Landlady is here. She's yelling something about you not calling or something."
I groaned and muttered. There was less than a day left in August. Soon she and her madness would be behind me.
"We should check out the neighborhood." Mike said.
A great idea. So we wandered over to the nearest grocery store to check it out. It was...huh. Sawdust on the floor. Hysterically laughing employees. Spam EVERYWHERE. And more types of pudding than The Geneva Convention allows for.
"Pudding!" Mike said. And we shit talked and wandered around and..."Hey, where'd MyBuddyDex go?"
We looked around and around. No sign of him.
"Fuck." I said. "You've got to concentrate harder, Mike. Everytime you lose focus one of us disappears, like the people on Michael J. Fox's photograph in Back To The Future."
We went to the checkout counter, where there was still no sign of MyBuddyDex.
"I think he's gone forever." Mike mused.
The checkout girl said "Should we page him?"
Of course we should page him. So we did "MyBuddyDex to the front of the store please, your parents are waiting for you and very worried."
"Guys." MyBuddyDex said. "I'm right here. I've been here the whole time. Why were you guys talking about me like I wasn't."
Oh, this apartment is so going to rule.
Outside, on our way back to the apartment, we caught a glimpse of a harvesty moon. "So beautiful."
"What?" Asked Mike's Other Imaginary Friend.
"The moon." Mike said.
"I can't see it."
"Why?" Mike asked. "Because you're Jewish?"
"It's true. The only drawback to being one of the Chosen People. You can't see the moon."
I cocked my head. "The Chosen People. You're a Pokemon? Guarantor, I choose you! Lease signing attack!"
To which Mike's Other (Witty) Imaginary Friend replied "Guarantor! Guarantor!"
Oh, this apartment is definitely going to rule. But first I had to go back to the old place to pack my shit for the move.
I packed for a day. Wasn't totally finished, but had a good lead on it. Byrne and I took four trips back and forth to the new apartment using his Rav4. The next day we had a van rented, and were ready to move the big furniture. We were tired after trip four and ready to sleep. I went into the kitchen and rearranged my refrigerator magnets to read Worst Landlady Bitch ever. So, of course, there was a knock on the door. Worst Fucken Landady Bitch ever.
"Hi (Safey). You look so good. Very nice. I renew yo lease. You stay, I think. Been try to call, but you no answer."
The fuck? The hallway was clearly filled with boxes, it was the last day of,...scratch that, it's now September 1st, but just barely. There was no way I was staying the fuck there.
"Sorry" you insane bitch "but I already have a new apartment. Cheaper. Nicer." And the landlady is normal.
"But, I think, you, Celeste, all you friends been living here eight years total. Always one of you. I renew lease."
"I'm not staying. Look, I've been cleaning as much of the apartment as I can, scrubbing the bathroom and everything."
"Ok." She said. "Looks very nice. Maybe I see kitchen."
Yes, kitchen where the refrigerator is, and the magn..."Uhhh, actually, I have a question..." We stood there blinking at each other. What was my question? "Shelves! There are shelves in the closet. Should I leave them? Throw them out?"
"I like shelves. I keep. Now, kitchen..."
"Oh, and my computer desk. Should I leave that?"
"I see." And so I went through every piece of furniture I didn't want one at a time, and then asked inane questions about whatever I could think of. Maybe Byrne had heard and had already rearranged the magnets. And maybe if I imagine hard enough, flowers will sprout out of my ass (though why anyone would want that to happen, I have no idea).
The stalling eventually worked, and she never made it to the kitchen. "You have one week to move out stuff. No worry bout hurry. I rhyme. I artist too." I'm sure she meant to say unstable.
The next day, after I got done with work, I met Mike and MyBuddyDex at my old apartment, we loaded furniture (including Byrne's GIGANTIC bed), and headed to the new place to unload it. Then we went back for smaller things. Byrne joined us, replacing MyBuddyDex who had to go to work. During our last packing session, Mike fell asleep on a mattress in Divine's former room.
When Byrne and I were just about done, he awoke with a scream. "Dude, there was a mouse in my ear."
"I woke up and a mouse was nuzzling my ear. I've got to get out of here."
I knew exactly how he felt.