If you’ve followed anything happening in my life for the past month, or received a frantic phone call that does not respect the West/East coast time difference, or are soon to open your mailbox to a lock of my hair with instructions for casting a luck-spell for which I paid WAY too much (first born, 10 percent on any and all prodigy profits), then you also know that I’ve been searching for a place to call home for some time now. What you might not know is that I have several times over, through pratfalls all my own, ruined my chances of becoming a permanent resident of Los Angeles.
So I present to you, in the form of a dated pop culture reference sans the charm of 2003’s Kate Hudson, a simple guide to totally sabotaging your chances at home-renting, roof-over-head happiness. Follow these directions and you are certain to remain homeless forever. No chance of romancing any sort of stucco-ed stone. May as well throw out those Spanish facades and brick-faced kitchenettes because not even McConaughey will bet on this sad case for under twenty-five assisted living. But do prepare to be CHARMED:
HOW TO LOSE AN APARTMENT IN TEN DAYS, a guide:
Day One: Drive. Drive all day. Drive until your fingers bleed & your stomach is but a forgotten sack, a dustbowl once filled with the crop of fast-food sandwiches and discount cheese. Soon, through basic statistics, you’ll drive by an apartment building with a sign that reads: “For Rent.” Call the phone number on that sign. Leave a message that sounds a little shaky because the only thing you’ve had to eat is coffee. After you leave the message, get out of your car and explore the neighborhood. Stand up, but then trip because you’ve only had coffee and you’ve got sea legs like some slippery accountant on a much-too-real pirate themed singles’ cruise. Ahoy! Is that your perfect, orthodontic-treated mouth meeting the concrete sidewalk? Sure is, sailor.
Day Two: After spending the morning worrying whether or not your little tumble yesterday resulted in swallowing a chipped tooth in your sleep, receive a phone call from the apartment’s landlord. Answer with the quietest hello because you’re a timid shrew-human. Find out that this apartment is within your price range and available to view right now. Say you’ll be there in ten minutes even though it will only take two because you’ve been waiting one block away in anticipation of this phone call. Drive over. Wait in your car for a few minutes. Gather yourself. You’re outgoing! You’re normal! Normal as pie! How normal pie-you is!!! View the apartment. Find out that it’s perfect. Fall in love. Make out with the tiled backsplash when the landlord is in the other room…because there is another room!
Day Three: Fill out an application. Wonder about the state of your “credit.” Google “credit.” Get confused about “credit.” Spend forty-five minutes crafting an email to the landlord. Attach the application. Send the email to yourself first to see what it will look like when the landlord opens it. Re-craft the email for another forty-five minutes. Press send with your eyes closed. See that you missed. Try again with your eyes open. Wait for the “whoosh.” Stare at the wall for an hour as you imagine several scenarios and locations that the landlord may have gotten the email. Wonder about his mood. Hope that his home-life is good. Consider sending over brownies.
Day Four: Wait.
Day Five: Wait some more. Get worried. Send a follow-up email.
Day Six: Begin a full panic. Call. Leave a voicemail. Tap your foot while leaving the voicemail. Wonder what’s wrong with you. Give too much personal information because you’re wondering what’s wrong with you. Apologize for giving too much personal information.
Day Seven: Spend the day researching the landlord. Use context clues in his email address to figure out that he is a professor at a local community college. Read his reviews on ratemyprofessor.com. Consider writing a scathing review, but decide against it because his field of study involves computers and you don’t exactly know what an IP address is, but you know it can be tracked using numbers and magic. Instead, type insults into your twitter drafts folder. Feel good about yourself.
Day Eight: Leave three more voicemails, each more threatening than the last. Drink too much coffee before getting in your car and heading over to the apartment. Park a block away. Use your phone’s camera as binoculars. Sit in stakeout for three hours. Don’t take your eyes off the apartment’s entrance because at hour three and a half, the landlord will appear. He will have another person with him. This person will be a fireman. Scream in your car. Scream louder than you’ve ever screamed. A landscaper will knock on your window to see if everything is okay, but just keep screaming. Scream because how are you supposed to compete with a fireman? Scream because you’ve been cheated on. Scream because the fireman looked really nice. Wait for the evil landlord and the temptress fireman to return from the apartment. When they do not, formulate a plan to go up there. Practice your “oh, no! I’m so sorry no one was answering my calls and I just wanted to check in on the approval process, and oh are you with someone? A fireman? You do say!” face. Get out of the car, but don’t trip again because that would ruin the revenge-swagger in your step. Get to the apartment and find that it’s empty. Realize that the cheating landlord and that hero probably snuck away while you were practicing your revenge face. Get angry, but try to internalize it. Then steal the “For Rent” sign.
Day Nine: Think about what you’ve done. Realize that the nice fireman was probably there to inspect the building and not to ruin your life. Throw the stolen sign into a river.
Day Ten: Receive an email from the landlord. Find out that the apartment has been rented. Stare out into the distance. Contemplate your actions. Decide you wouldn’t have done anything differently because you’re freaking perfect and that idiot would have been lucky to have you as a tenant. Consider your lack of shelter. Try to remember that positive energy is “the secret.” Buy eggs, but do not use them like you want to, because “the secret” says they are not weapons. Cook the eggs. Cook them because you’re hungry. Have a nonweaponized egg dinner. Cry over your nonweaponized egg dinner because you’re sad but also because it needs the salt. Read Oprah quotes. Resolve that she’s out of touch and you know what you’re doing. Look up apartment listings and plan to begin new tomorrow. Make a vow that in ten days you will have an apartment. But also buy a curse from your witch-neighbor for that dumb, evil, computer-teaching landlord. Smile as you cut out a lock of your hair. Smile wide because you spent big money for a good curse and this landlord’s really got something coming. And that something is back acne. Dirty, gross, pore-filling bacne!
Day One, Cycle Two: Wake up feeling oily. Reach for your back and realize you did the curse wrong. Promise to give up curses. At least until day ten. Curses are reserved for day ten.