The Story Of My Fucking Life


Posted by ilbebe on January 10, 2009

Things in Humboldt County can be maddeningly more difficult to accomplish than they would be in the real world, but in general, they’re easier. When I was looking for my first off-campus apartment in the spring of 2001, I consulted the list that the housing department compiled and found a place that fit all of my criteria; close to campus, on-site laundry, cheap. I got the landlord Tiffany’s home answering machine when I called the number listed, and she returned my call later that day to set up a visit.

Tom and I thought the place was great and filled out an incredibly simple one-page application on the spot. A week later, when I hadn’t heard back from Tiffany, I called to ask what the status of the place was. She said, “Well, I gave the place to somebody else. I was concerned about your income, four hundred bucks a month doesn’t seem like enough to cover the rent.” When I explained that my parents would be paying my rent for the coming year, she said “Oh, you should have said so. I’ve got another apartment if you want that one.” The following day when Tom and I gave the new, larger (and same price) apartment a cursory inspection and immediately agreed to take it, I asked Tiffany if she had any other apartments, as my girlfriend was looking for a place as well. She said Yeah, That One Over There’s Available Next Month. Have Her Give Me A Call. And so the galvanization of the Carriage House crew began.

I lived at that apartment for three and a half years. On the eighteenth (!!??) of one month, after we’d been there for more than year, Tiffany came to the door asking where my rent was. I said I’d dropped in the slot on the fourth, and she said Oh, Okay, Sometimes Checks Fall Behind Things In There. (In a charmingly insecure system, rent was put through a mail slot in the door of the maintenance shed) I wrote her a new check for rent minus the cost of canceling the first check, and I thought the matter was concluded. However, I found the first check torn neatly in half sticking out of my mailbox the following afternoon, and when I asked Tiffany about it later, she just said Yeah, I Found It. Sorry About That.

One day we crossed paths in the parking lot and she said Hey, I Heard That The Cops Have Been Called A Few Times For Loud Parties. I said Oh Yeah, But It Shouldn’t Happen Again, and that answer was enough for her. Towards the end of my residency Tiffany asked if I wanted to do the gardening for a discount on the rent. I gave her some stuttering excuse about having no attention to detail, and she just shrugged and said all right, whatever. When I moved out, my friend Jenny moved in with her cat. Tiffany was very anti-pet, but gave Jenny a pass since by that point Tom and I had been at the apartment far longer than the standard one year that pervades the college rental scene.

Perhaps the oddest moment in my relationship with Tiffany was when we ran into each other at the San Diego Zoo in February of 2007. I asked what brought her down to southern California and she said she was on her way to Baja to do some sort of extreme kayaking. This did not raise my eyebrows. We talked for twenty minutes or so and wished each other well. That was the last time I talked to her, but I may have called and left her a Happy Thanksgiving message this past year. I was pretty drunk, and if I didn’t, well, I was thinking about it.

You can see why I find property management agencies that want credit checks and co-signers criminally unnecessary.


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