Memorable Moments in an Alien World











{May 30, 2012}   Breaking up.

Before I actually found a place to live in LA, I was living as a transient gypsy. Extended stay at a hotel Sunday through Thursday, 3 hours in traffic on my 5-freeway commute back to Murrieta. Then I would drive BACK to LA on Saturday with my parents, searching out available apartments. Then BACK to Murrieta Saturday evening. Sunday morning would come and go so fast and the next thing you know, I’m packing up to trek back to LA for another crazy 50-80 week.

I had been living like that since late August, so by late September it is a massive understatement to say that I felt DESPERATE to find a place to call home. One week, my ever-helpful mother drove out in middle of the week to help me locate some apartments. While I was at work she lined up a couple of places for us to take a look at after work that evening.

As we drove to the first place, it was right around dusk. Probably not the best time to go apartment hunting, but I had no other option. We Sasses are punctual to a fault, so we had a few minutes to look around while we waited for the owner of the complex to arrive and show us around.

The neighborhood didn’t bowl me over. It definitely seemed like the kind of place you shouldn’t walk outside after, well, dusk! But I was currently staying in a seedy hotel – how much worse could this be?

The owner, Joe, arrived and let us in the available apartment. It was okay. A little rusty. Kind of awkward. At the top of my price range. But okay. It was the first place that I had seen where it appeared feasible I could move into it. Yet…I was uncomfortable. Maybe it was the location. Maybe it was the owner. Maybe it was the place itself. Something just didn’t gel quite right. And yet a month had passed and I was still living entirely out of my suitcase. I found myself thinking, “Eh, you’re just locked in for a year. It’ll be fine. Just quit being picky and do it!” I filled out the application on the spot and the owner all but guaranteed me that I would get the apartment. I knew that he knew that I was the sort of person who would take care of any apartment entrusted to me. Unfortunately, that was all I knew about him. He seemed so eager…too eager. And yet I was ready to commit a year of my life at his complex.

30 minutes later we were on the road, headed to Santa Monica to check out one more place. I had pretty well convinced myself that in my price range, the place I had just seen was as good as it was going to get.

Boy was I ever wrong. The apartment in Santa Monica was PHENOMENAL. I would be taking over this girl’s lease. Roomy, nice kitchen, dinette area, patio, storage, fair-sized room and bathroom. A 3 minute drive from work. A 3 minute walk to the beach. How could I ask for anything more?

For the rest of the week, I thought that the place in Santa Monica was IT (it wasn’t by the way, but that’s beside the point).

A couple days later I was walking down the street with some of my students. My phone started to ring and out of habit (and a little compulsion), I immediately answered it. It was Joe. Oh crap.

“Hey,” he started off, “I ran your credit check and just like I thought everything came back just fine, so the apartment is yours. You can move in and start your lease immediately.”

I panicked. I didn’t want his place. Yet I somehow felt obligated to this stranger. After all, I HAD seen his place first. What could I possibly do to reconcile this situation? Then cowardly inspiration struck.

“I’m -orry….Joe? I –n’t hear you…breaking up. I’ll ca– back -ater.” This would work. I knew it.

“What?” He exclaimed, anxious to close the deal. “You got the apartment! Congratulations!”

I didn’t want congratulations. I wanted out.

“You’re –eaking -p. I’ll call –ck –ter work.” Then I deftly hung up, before he could utter more words that I’d have to pretend I didn’t hear.

I did call him that afternoon and he was not pleasant at all after I told him I would not be taking the apartment, which made me all the more thankful for God’s providence in my hellacious apartment hunting experiences.

However, to this day I still carry a bit of “break up” guilt for my first and only time pretending not to understand someone on the phone to avoid an immediate, immensely awkward situation.

In a pinch, it did the trick.



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