Viewing properties is a long process where you’re faced with pretend grandeur, lies and basically people in suits driving nice cars explaining how you could live in a cosy, spacious “apartment” (apartment seems to sound better than flat) where your living room, come bedroom, come kitchenette are bashing elbows.
What becomes apparent is the slippery slope to a joyless financial trap.
If you live alone you’re penalised further as the items you might buy together such as a bed and sofa, which I don’t mind so much..but white goods? You’re saying I have to buy a washing machine and a fridge? Cooker too? Oh no not a cooker as by law you have to have a cooker. So you need hot food but not a fridge to keep food chilled? Aaaanyway.
The first property I visited clearly had a damp problem as all the windows were open onto the main road traffic noise. “She’s just had a bath or shower, so we need to air it out” he said. I asked where her wardrobe was, we couldn’t locate it. She must have a capsule wardrobe, I pondered.
I asked about the weeds that graced the top of the wall view outside, “who’s responsibility is it to sort that?” “The building management should, but they probably won’t…so you’re probably better off doing it yourself” he said. The estate agent attempted to entice me with some storage space outside which, as I looked through the open smashed window, reminded me of somewhere cats might go to die.
I fled the scene with a fake smile and trotted onto my next viewing which boasted “sea views” but no picture of the bathroom. Hmm, I wonder why?
(Below is a pleasant scene to relieve you from the strain of what is to come)
As I waited on the doorstep I tried to imagine myself entering the doorway of my potential new home, the can of Stella on the ground by my feet and the wheel-less bike interrupted my flow.
3 skanky floors later and I was in double bedroom paradise – mirrored wardrobes, double bed, a window and a …ooh whats this? A door? Where does it lead to? The shower cubicle which appeared to be used in prisons with added peeling walls and ceiling, perfect for your zen morning routine.
On to the open plan kitchen/lounge where the floor slopes and makes you feel drunk for free. Would the landlord be painting the walls before the new tenant moves in? I ask expectantly. (note that the walls are not cream, tan, taupe, grey but some sort of nondescript dirty dishwater colour). “No, he won’t” the suited key jangler replied.
I left feeling sad but with a touch of hope for the couple who were about to venture onto better places.
So far the plan is to use a local launderette and pretend I’m in the 1970’s, only buy and consume foods on a daily basis, keeping my milk outside buried in snow in winter. I’ll also pretend I’m permanently at a music festival as I sleep on a slowly deflating inflatable mattress while I wait 6 weeks for my sofa bed to be delivered.
Bring out the tiny violins.
Image via Farrow and Ball – I couldn’t burn your eyes with the horrors I’ve witnessed.