It’s supposed to be move-in week for me. After eight months of living back at my parents’ house, I was finally supposed to be independent again and move back to lovely Berkeley. I was supposed to join this cooperative house, including two of my close college friends, and embark on quintessentially Berkeleyan adventures like farmer’s market shopping, biking to the bay, taking free yoga and gardening.
But, of course, my best laid plans have gone astray.
The first time I visited the house, two months ago, everything was peachy. The sunshine, the neighborly love, the positive landlady. So many people were there, all hoping to get an offer. My friend fell in love instantly, and I saw its wonder through her eyes. When the landlady chose us, I was thrilled. Everything finally seemed to be working out–two of us would live in the quaint sheds in the back, where we’d be like neighbors yet also have our privacy. We signed the lease and paid the deposits. A few weeks later, when another friend of mine was looking for a place to live, I told her about another vacancy in the house, and even got her to jump aboard.
But today, as I drove up to the house with my parents, everything seemed off. Every surface of the front, side and back yard was covered in ancient furniture, sinks, appliances, rusted metal, and splintered wood. My parents, as usual, grumbled their complaints about the appearance, loud neighbors and “uncouth” street. I ignored them at first, knowing that if they had their way, I’d live in a boring beige artificially built suburb, paying three times as much. It was too late. I was going to live here.
I led us through the backyard, covered with dirty rugs, bikes, and billowing sheets, and my mother declared that it was worse than a third-world country.
“The actual room is nice,” I said, trying to convince myself in the process.
I opened the door to my shed and showed it that it was indeed a clean, tidy room with hardwood floors and mirrors. My mom walked out and told my dad that if I lived there, she’d jump in a lake. She was overexaggerating, but so was I. It wasn’t nice. At the end of the day, it was still a glorified tool shed.
So, after a ten minute argument in the street which gave the neighbors a run for their money, I bowed out. It wasn’t worth fighting to live in squalor just so I could prove my point. I had to bail on a friend (the other’s happy to leave with me and find another place) and ruin a super nice landlady’s day. And I’m back on the despicable apartment hunt, while also in search of a “real” full-time job. Craig has a list, and I’m all over it.
But I can weather the unexpected. Better than stressing over the inevitable, and brute force or anger would only make more people upset.
Underneath it all, I’m a little relieved I won’t be living in the shed. It’s hard to do after having my own nice, spacious, centrally-located apartments, and it’s certainly no place to entertain. I won’t admit it to my parents, but I was unsettled myself when I saw the dilapidated state of the house today. I wouldn’t want my daughter living somewhere like that either. Even my dear landlady said the same thing to me.
The most disturbing thing about this day was realizing how uncool I am. What if, in a few years, I’m living in a gated community, working 9-5, shopping at the mall, and happy about it all? In times like these when I find myself worrying about being happy, I find it’s best to stop thinking period before I annoy and offend everyone around me. Good night.