I’m apartment hunting. I love, love, love my little apartment, but it’s very far from yoga, which I practice five times a week and teach once a week, and very far from most of my friends, and I just don’t think that leisure activities should involve a commute. I’m actually being a little bit dramatic by calling it a commute, because it’s 25 minutes, tops, but…OK, now that I type it out, I’m not actually being dramatic.

I didn’t think I had a whole lot of criteria going in to the apartment search. I wanted a historic apartment, not too big, a dishwasher if at all possible, affordable, and in one of the neighborhoods I deem desirable. When apartment hunting the last three times, I loved the first place I saw and signed the lease and lived there for years. Easy as pie!

But I did not love the first place I looked at, nor the third, fourth, of fifth. I did love the second, haggled, got an amazing deal, then took too long trying to haggle some more, and lost it to a renter who doesn’t haggle as much. And apparently, I have criteria.

Apartment #1 was a duplex, nothing special, but amazing location, and a landlord who was way less than amazing. I asked him about updates and he volunteered that he installed that fancy block window in the bathroom and he was planning on putting in central heat and air. I asked when, exactly, the heat and air would be coming and he changed the subject multiple times. That fancy, new-fangled block glass window wasn’t enough of a draw for me.

Apartment #3 was gorgeous and spacious, another duplex, but just an OK location. And the landlady was so pro-choice that I wanted to hug her. The thing about this place was… OK, let me just preface this by saying that I’m not a snob. I like eating at chain restaurants, I am genuinely a fan of the soft rock radio station, and I wear sneakers with nice dresses because it’s comfortable. I’m not a snob! But the thing about this place was that the duplex neighbor people (is there a word for the people who share the other side of the duplex?) had tchotchkes on the shared porch that were definitely country kitsch. Like, “God loves you” ashtrays. And they had large plastic deer in the shared front yard. And the deer were not left over from Christmas. And I met these people while I was visiting the property–they were lovely people, but they really were the type of people who would decorate like this. And who smoke on the shared porch. There were just a lot of things that represent a very particular aesthetic, an aesthetic that I do not share, and an aesthetic that I would be forced to share by virtue of the duplex. Also, there was some sort of evangelical church across the street, and I’m not sure how they would feel about my car with all of the abortion stickers, and those are not the types of risks that I enjoy. And the other neighbors apparently party a lot when their disability check arrives, says the landlady. And I don’t care what people use their money for! Yes, use WIC on potato chips! I probably would! Sure, party! But I am not really a fan of any type of party that takes place with any sort of regularity, especially ten feet form my would-be bedroom window.

And apartment #4 looked truly dreamy from the outside and on the website. I dreamed about this place, and my premonition dreams are usually spot on, so I was ready to sign a lease right then and there. And so was the leasing agent, who, for some reason, was under the (false) impression that I was well-off. But the website for this place didn’t show the kitchen nor bathroom. The building was constructed in the 1920s, and I’m not at all exaggerating when I say that nothing had been updated since then, and only slightly exaggerating when I say that nothing had been cleaned since then. The whole thing was just dingy and smelly and made me want to crawl out of my skin. No amount of shiny hardwood floors and pretty neighborhood could make up for that. And I bathed in hand sanitizer when I left.

And because I had to drive on ice all the way across town to get to that dump, I figured I would combine it with a trip to see apartment #5. The place had a lockbox and the leasing agent emailed me instructions for getting in, so I wouldn’t even have to deal with a dude following me around as I pretended not to be grossed out. So, I let myself into the building and sought out apartment 16. I tried the second (of two) floor, which was logical. No 16. I thought that maybe part of the charm was that 16 was stuck between 4 and 5 on the first floor, or something. No 16. Where I found 16 was in the basement, which was very basementy. The place was at least twice the size of my current place, it had two bedrooms (I could have a yoga studio!), it had wood floors, but the reason it was so cheap was because it was in a basement with a window AC unit (like I have now), a dinosaur of a built-in space heater (like I have now and am terrified of), a view of a retaining wall, and very little light. Thank goodness for no leasing agent because I could not get out of there fast enough.

So now I am 0 for 5, and I’m beginning to think that I might be picky. I also fully acknowledge that this apartment search might be easier if I were willing to have a roommate or pay more money, but I refuse to believe that my dream apartment with no roommates and reasonable rent does not exist. It does! And I will find it!

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