Looking for a new apartment in San Francisco may be one of the worst things you can ever go through. It's like every apartment is a little drumstick behind a velvet rope, and landlords allow access and remove the rope and we all beat each other to death trying to get to the drumstick first. Don't ask why I used a drumstick as the metaphor, it was a bad one. But you get the point and can probably sympathize: It's a headache and makes you feel poor and/or poor. You know one day you'll walk into a place, look around, and realize almost immediately that you are home. I've done this three times now, and each time it's happened. You like a prospective random roommate, the bedroom looks huge, or you just realize it's a terrible deal and you'll probably just settle to make the bad man stop (which, contrary to popular belief, is a horrible reason to select a new apartment). But the process of getting there is just horrible. And here's why: everyone on craigslist is lying or lives at the airport where a five dollar bottle of water is a STEAL of a deal.
For the past few days, my friend and I have printed out upwards of 20 postings to take around with us while we hunt all day long. At the beginning of the day, you feel like you are sitting on a goldmine: All of these places are a deal! Every one of them is too hard to pass up! IF WE DON'T DO SOMETHING THIS APARTMENT WILL BE RENTED OUT IN THE NEXT 14 SECONDS, IT'S THAT GOOD!! By the end of the day? You hate the world and are considering moving to a small rural town where you can live on six acres and have nine bedrooms for fourteen dollars. It turns out most of those places Craig and his minions are selling are sending a little misinformation.
So I've decided to decode some common craigslist verbiage that's floating around out there. If i'm going down right now, I figure i'll bring my new found knowledge to the people so that when you have to get out there, you might have a better shot at understanding what a craigslist post means before you get too excited.
Large 2 BR with a great view: By large, they mean if you love prison and are looking to upgrade a little. Remember when you got to college and realized your dorm room was kind of like living in a cardboard box? Now get in the cardboard box, break it because you are too large for it, and this is your new "large" bedroom in San Francisco. Oh, and by view, they mean a wall. Because that's what your new bedroom window looks out to. The wall of the middle of the building. The only reason this view might be great is if you can also see the window of another persons apartment and can totally spy on them. You know, if you're creepy. Personally I'd never do this. Unless she was hot and totally wanted to do me. Moving on.
Lots of Charm: Everything breaks all the time, but you'll love it because it looks like old people used it! Do you like doors that don't really close? How about "split" bathrooms where the toilet feels like a port-o-potty oddly placed in the middle of the apartment? Fireplaces that aren't fireplaces? Well, my friends, you've come to the right place. Don't worry, it's still priced like everything is brand new. That's what's so charming! It either breaks, serves no functional purpose or takes up space you would have loved to have used...tee hee!
Lots of Light: Its got windows. Not like those OTHER apartments that don't have windows. Wait you said you used to live in prison, right?
Quiet Professional Building: Tons of old people live here, and they hate you if you like to have fun. And by fun, we mean do things like walk, talk, or do any other human function. If you are alive and/or do human things, this probably isn't the place for you.
Remodeled Kitchen and Newer Appliances: This place was a total piece of shit, so we kind of painted over the shitty parts and added a microwave that fits half a bag of popcorn. The stove works sometimes too, but don't expect any miracles like "cooking" something. What do you think this is, a Motel 6? We don't have the kind of "remodel" money they have!
Shared Patio: Bobby Fratastic and his striped shirt cohorts are usually out here grilling up a hella tight BBQ before they go out to crush tons of chicks. Oh, a creepy old guy sits out here also and judges you from time to time. You are not allowed to put anything out here or use anything that is here. Wouldn't it be awesome though if you could? Don't you want to throw down that extra $300 for this dream?
Great Location: We're lying. It's nowhere near anything really, but this made you read our post. It's on that one street that has one of those weird names you've never really heard of. Food is like 10 blocks away and there is a random corner store that has slices of american cheese and some warm coke with dust on it on the shelf. At a totally reasonable price of about $3 per can. But not everyone has that luxury, so it totally makes sense.
Washer Dryer in Building: We've put a washer dryer from 1974 in the creepy garage downstairs where you might get shanked at night. It runs on coins for about $22 dollars a load. Also, the dryer doesn't really dry anything, so make sure to run it about eight times. We hope you hate your clothes, because this state-of-the-art wonder that we won in the showcase showdown back during Woodstock ruins everything! Oh, and if you want to use it you can't because someone else usually is, since everyone wants to use it when they get home from work in our 10 unit building. Beggars can't be choosers. BEGGARS CAN'T BE CHOOSERS.
Lots of Closet Space: It's got a closet in one of the bedrooms. It can fit like four t-shirts and a pair of shoes. It also has a hall closet that can hold two jackets and a swiffer mop! (well kinda, but the door won't really close if you want to put the swiffer mop in there, so maybe just don't get one of those)
Parking Available: We have one spot in our garage for about $400 a month. It'll take you about 4 weeks to learn how to fit your moped in there, but that's totally worth it. Oh, you have a car? Like, a real one? That will kind of fit. Actually it won't. You can try though. Street parking is everywhere though at 3am. Sure, hobos break into your car, but it's no big deal. They're just cold! Don't be so cruel! And wait you have a car? DON'T YOU CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT? ASSHOLE.
New Price Reduction!: Seriously, nobody wants to live here. So that's a pretty good sign. Yeah, this is that post you saw two months ago. Seriously, we haven't rented it out yet. So what if someone died here. We dropped the price by $100. Totally reasonable.
Gas Stove: Wait, really? This is listed as a "feature" in the post? That's like saying "it has four walls".
Edwardian Style: If there is an earthquake, you are going to die. Like, one of those earthquakes no one else felt. You just died.
At the end of the day today, we went and saw a place that pretty much summed it up. Russian Hill. It was described as a "cottage" that couldn't be missed. So when we found it, there were three old dudes with beards standing there looking like they either molest or stab people for a living. It had staircases that only anorexic people could comfortably walk up, one of the bedrooms was a ledge over the living room that was described as "cozy" that had no walls or privacy, and it also had a room that one could only get to by going through the bathroom (?) that the guy told us could "probably fit a small matress if we could find a third roommate." Oh, cool! I thought that was just the creepy pedophelia room! Kevin wasn't going to move in with us, but i'm SURE he's on board now if we explain to him that we have a room where he could probably lay horizontally and not really stand up! Thanks for helping us see the "steal" of this place, creepy old bearded man!
Needless to say, we found one place we like so far. And this is after I came to the conclusion that I will be spending a billion trillion dollars if I want a room and/or windows in a neighborhood where I probably won't die kind of sort of. So that's cool. But the thing is, the first place I lived in this city had a born again, meghans law certified crazyhorse of a landlord who told me that Jews were going to hell and I currently live in a neighborhood where someone has thrown fried chicken at me (true story, AND the cop who was arresting her after the incident acted like she'd done this before...here's a tip homeless woman, EAT THE FOOD. YOU'RE HOMELESS) and I wake up every morning to people yelling things like, "Crackhead biiiiiiiiitch!" (not even lying, this is also true and I have guests/witnesses who will testify to this in a court of law).
Point being, I could use a little edwardian charm right about now.