Tuesday, October 29, 2013

{a craigslist story}

I'm only writing about this experience because three separate people told me, "OMG YOU HAVE TO BLOG ABOUT THIS. IT'S A BLOG POST IN ITSELF."

Ready for my Craigslist story?

When I first moved to San Francisco, I had grand dreams of moving into a lovely, light-filled one-bedroom or studio apartment. Shortly thereafter, a few people splashed some cold water on my face & clued me in on the housing market in the city.  So with one-bedroom dreams rightfully out the window, I moved from the "apartments" to "rooms/shares" option on Craiglist. Turns out, this was the better choice. Although I'd love to get my own furniture, the idea of moving into a place with everything I need already there sounded increasingly more appealing. My first year of work was going to be jam-packed, & I wasn't going to be at home a lot. So this option allowed me to save some money, live with cool people, & just settle in for a low-stress, inexpensive year.

The "room/shares" tab on Craigslist has been endless entertainment for me. The ads are SO FUNNY you guys. I'm impatient to find something, yes, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't look forward to scrolling through the postings every day. Half the people don't give a shit about what they write & the other half treat it as a creative writing assignment.

I've seen photos of beautiful apartments & rooms; I've seen photos of just food--as if to show me what I could make in the apartment's kitchen; I've seen {interesting} photos of the people who live there; I've seen pictures of dirty laundry & the apartment's "all-inclusive" pets. Or no photos at all.

I've read, "Please do not live here if you're looking to use the kitchen. If you like to cook, this place is not for you. Please do not even respond."

And: "We're looking for someone kick-ass & cool. So if you're not either of those things, this isn't for you."

I clicked on this posting before it was taken down & was rightfully horrified. {Re: current housing market in SF.}

I've applied to about six apartments so far & three have gotten back to me. Two of those were great experiences--the locations were safe, the flats were beautiful, & I clicked with the roommates. But they just didn't picked me. {I'm pretty sure both times were because of my age--22 still sounds college-y & most people my age are still in school.}

I told my sister that this whole roommate application process is a lot like applying for a job, however I'm lenient to take these rejections more personally because the decisions are solely based on my personality. & I think I'm pretty great. Ha! But I'm also totally aware that you could take two of greatest people in the world, put them in an apartment together, & it could be a nightmare. So no hard feelings towards the people who didn't pick me.

My third experience was a different story.

The pictures from the posting looked okay; the bedroom was tiny, but just what I needed, the location was a seven minute walk from work, so it was super convenient. The girls were my age, had good jobs, & I seemed to fit the bill for what kind of roommate they were looking for. Check, check, check. Feeling hopeful, I scheduled a time to see the place on Friday night. This wasn't the first time I'd gone to see a place by myself, but it was the first time I'd done so at night. My boss demanded I tell her the address just in case--as did my sister--but since the girls had my email, LinkedIn, & phone number, I figured if they were planning on doing anything crazy to me, they'd have done something already. So off I went.

It started off SO WELL.

Good Sign #1: The building was really safe. The guard wouldn't let me in the lobby without a key.

Good Sign #2: The girl who came down to get me was very nice, making me feel okay to get in the elevator with her. Second roommate was nice too.

Bad Sign #1: I thought I was being taken up to my room in an insane asylum, thanks to the peeling wallpaper & yellowed lights in the hallway. TOTALLY NOT a deal breaker, but it made me a little nervous.

Good Sign #3: The bedroom was cute! Just what I thought it looked like. The view was amazing too.

This is the end of the good signs.

Bad Sign #2: They were cooking dinner as they gave me the tour & the whole place was steamy & smokey. None of the windows could open, so fresh air was not an option. {To be fair, I don't know this to be a absolute fact, but the windows did not have latches, that's for sure.}  I was so claustrophobic.

So we chatted for about twenty minutes in the living room. Next to the couch I was sitting on was a trampoline. A mini one...but still. A trampoline. The one girl loves to jump on it. {Bad Sign #3, obvi.}

The final straw was when they explained that the girl moving out was taking all of the furniture, so whoever moves in--potentially me--will be included in the buying of new furniture...

...& the hot tub.

It went like this:

Girl: "What do you think about…putting in a hot tub?!"

Me: (clarifying) "Oh, uh...a...hot tub? In the living room?"

Girl: "Yes!"

Me: (politely) "I don't think that's allowed. We're on the 14th floor. If it leaked, it would--"

Girl: "It's totally allowed. The only downside would be cleaning it. But I would definitely clean it. I mean, can you think of anything better than coming home after a long day of work, getting a glass of wine, & relaxing in the hot tub?"

Me: {I was pretty much at a loss for words, but I did come to the conclusion that this was Bad Sign #4.}

Girl #2: "So…what do you think?""

They put me in a hard spot. I was already feeling awkward & uncomfortable, but I didn't want to tell the truth & make it more awkward & uncomfortable. So I mumbled something along the lines of, "Well I guess you have to take advantage of the view!" & pretty much grabbed my coat & got the hell outta there.

The worst part about this whole situation was that they were nice. Odd, sure. But they were really nice.

Full disclosure: after I left the trampoline apartment, I was near tears. I was just frustrated by the whole thing. {& a little weirded out, let's be honest.} But did it make me give up on Craiglist? No way. I'll keep looking. This was just a bad egg.

So the moral of the story is…Craigslist is a gamble. You never know what to expect. You just have to be smart & safe about it & trust your instinct.

{Oh, & I won't be living there.}

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