notes on bay area homefinding
hell hell hell!
this shit is an excellent bay area geography lesson. not only is there emeryville, there is near north upper west emeryville.we're looking into a two bedroom apartment, in a concrete courtyard complex in "upper rockridge." when we drive by the building, there are 14 people, loosely grouped in couples, waiting outside as one brave soul speaks to the manager through a dialbox (all of them doubtlessly referred to the apartment by the same referral service we were using - a real personalized service). we park and enter, to find the apartment open, asian white and black couples streaming in and out - mostly twentysomethings, with one noticable thirtysomething gentleman. his sweater tied neatly around his waist, demin shirt, he has his homefinders survival kit folder and a checkbook out asking questions that are scary to the less prepared - "can i write you a check for the deposit now?" i walk into one of the two bedrooms - on the first floor, it is loud with roadnoise. there is a man with a bicycle helmet on, measuring out the room with a tape measure. two short haired men enter and ask us if we are showing the apartment.
there is a misery to looking over homes when other people are too - "open houses," contrary to their expansive title, are some of the most depressing events in the san francisco bay area. dozens of better dressed people acting more prepared and probably getting the one place you could finally agree to live in.
everywhere there is people. sitting on the floor. opening the fridge. waiting to talk to the beleagured manager. he is "tim" a young man with a portable phone, measuring his applications from a paperclip in a folder. there are so many people, he is unable to converse with any at great length. it is impossible to make jokes (my standard one: after walking around and inspecting the place, i announcr to the manager in a loud voice, "we'll take it." - which is really how it should be in a buyers market. !@#$!%$).
amy and i struggle to figure out how to distinguish ourselves - attach our faces to the applications. as it turns out, we are the least prepared so our arguements over necessity, fault and information were perhaps the most entertaining thing about us. amy has not brought her credit card or college loan information, and i don't know my savings account number. the manager is being stingy with his applications, so we will have to return amidst another throng of folks when we are more prepared.
there's a preponderance of places put together in the fifties and sixties. they boast wonderful metal cabinetry with oh-so-sylish handles, but there is little or no attention paid to views natural light or vistas. everything looks like florida, except with a lot more clouds and mildew.
the apartments that you can see without an open house - by appointment, tend to be the dingy depressing ones, with the nice landlords waiting for you to say "yeehah" while you can't talk to your partner in confidence. views of other apartment buildings across concrete courtyards, while the porch above the place across the way has a depressing hole in it. and it smells - like old basement.