The Perils of Bay Area Moving
Well, I have to move. The condo I was renting was sold at auction so I am moving on the 13th. I must say that I am an organized mover. 97% of everything I own goes in a box, wrapped, labeled and waiting to be shipped out. I have nothing but odd looks for the people who leave their packing until the last-minute. You find them running about on moving day, shoving things into boxes like a squirrel burying nuts against the winter frost. Yeah, these people just toss things into boxes, bags, and small totes in a willy-nilly fashion. They are as strange to me as life on Pluto, which is still a planet in my book.
As I made appointments last week to view places, my mind went back to a similar situation twenty years ago when my friend and I were looking for a place to live. I remember this one huge complex in Burbank. It must have had about 100 units, looked like a bunker, and we were shown around by some heroin-skinny headbanger who assured us of the “rockin’ parties” and how all the tenants were “totally bitchin'”. Ummm, we aren’t interested in your parties or your bitchin’ tenants. We are interested in peace and quiet. Needless to say, we didn’t move into that place.
I’ve had interesting and equally frustrating experiences this time around. There was the tiny mother-in-law unit that was billed as 650 sq. ft. but was more like 450 sq. ft. I would have to go outside to change my mind. There was the over-priced, ancient and crumbling apartment in the Temescal district of Oakland that had no parking and the hallways smelled like a mixture of sauerkraut and curry. There was the “watery” apartment building in Walnut Creek. It appeared to have been built in the 1960’s and hasn’t been updated since. Situated at the end of a cul-de-sac, the heap has been mouldering in apocalyptic splendor since Nixon was in the White House. I drove around their parking lot and noted that most of the cars looked like they came off the set of The Road Warrior. I can tell a great deal about the flavor of a complex by the cars and their condition. $1,100 a month for that? No thank you.
I saw one flat I totally loved. A Victorian apartment building with hardwood floors, built-in’s, parking, washer/dryer and a safe neighborhood. The rent was a great price but it seems faxing in my application at 7am Monday morning, after seeing it on Sunday afternoon, was good enough for the number two spot. The landlord said he takes the applications in order. I should have hunted down a Kinko’s but didn’t know it was a race. Stupid me. Life is a race. However since the other party saw the place at 10am and I was there at 2:45pm, conceivably they could have beat me in the Kinko’s sweepstakes anyway. If this person fails to come up with the deposit, then I get it but I’m not holding my breath. Fate is a fickle mistress.
I have also received two replies from Craig’s List ads, claiming to be either missionaries traveling to Malaysia or London and offering me the keys to their apartment for a low rent price. This scam has been going around for years and is akin to the lottery/Nigerian Prince/millions of dollars stuck in a bank scam. I stopped answering “too-good-to-be-true” ads though now perhaps I will just so I can collect scam responses. It might be a way to while away time while I find a place.
I have two more places to look at after work today in the Lake Merritt area. Wish me luck! Hopefully they won’t smell like bad food.