Just Looking For A Place To Live

First off, the realtor informed us that “split bedroom” means that the living room is the second bedroom listed, a claim I can’t negate with any actual housing knowledge, but which I still find highly suspect given various google and craisglist searches. Not to mention words of wisdom from Jurvis’ mom.

“We thought ‘split bedroom’ meant that the two bedrooms aren’t next to each other, but are on opposite sides of the apartment,” Jurvis said warily. “So, you’re saying that’s not true?”

“No no, it means, one bedroom, and a living room. But the living room has a door. You can use it as a second bedroom, it’s just as good!”

“But, then we don’t have a living room,” I said.

I wondered briefly if we were experiencing a language barrier. The realtor smiled nervously.

“Hmm.”

So he scrambled around for a bit, trying to find a whole new apartment, and then we piled into his car and were off. He drove like he spoke: quickly, with abrupt transitions and turns, and a cheerful disposition that seemed to be thinly spread over some kind of terror, some not-so-long-ago depression. I clung to the door. “Here we are! I can just park here!”

“Please let it be in the brick buildings,” I thought at some higher power. “Not those stucco grey things. That’s where you get murdered, doing your laundry in the basement.”

“This grey building right here, across the street, there you go! I have two apartments to show you!”

Well, the view would be nicer at least, looking at the brick ones. As we entered, someone driving by stuck his head out the window and yelled something: I couldn’t discern what.

“What are these notices of extermination?” Jurvis nodded his head toward the signs, placed on every other door or so, which said in big, black font: “WARNING: EXTERMINATION SCHEDULED, 4/15. Please evacuate your unit at this time. Extermination takes up to 24 hours. Final notice.”

“Oh!” the realtor chirped. “That’s nothing.”

“What’s being exterminated? Bed bugs? Roaches?”

“No, no, ha ha ha! That’s . . . it’s just, you know, every now and then they like to check. You know? It’s like a check up. They just look around to make sure . . . make sure there’s no problems.”

Nice of them, isn’t it?

We proceeded to violently intrude upon two different tenants, one a bartender who’d just woken up to the persistent knocking, and the other an older woman who yelled at him as he entered “NO ENGLISH, NO ENGLISH, PORTUGUESE!” They were fine apartments for what they were — although I can’t really speak for the second, since we were told we couldn’t open two of the doors to see in the rooms, and the realtor looked very embarrassed when he did. We were assured that, while there was no back yard, there was a fire escape we could stand on, and while electricity wasn’t included and could get pricey with an air conditioning unit, “there are windows. You saw them, right?”

Finally, we shook hands and went on our way, to the next realtor’s office down the street.

“Oh,” I said, once we were a few blocks away, “what did that guy yell, anyway? As we were about to go in to the apartments, that guy who drove by?”

Jurvis grinned. “He yelled, ‘This is a terrible neighborhood!'”

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