Today I was house-hunting a place to lease. It was dismal. It was hot. It gave fodder to a description of what being a senior, getting on in years, without what you would call “a job”, lighting my St. Jude candles, a now praying-out-loud woman has to go through to move to a new location. The reason WHY I would like to relocate? I’ll get to that, later.
I called about an ad in our newspaper for a 2 bedroom quadplex in the area I was hoping to relocate. To my delight, the elderly woman gave me details about the “darling unit being secluded, very quiet, new stove, and new kitchen floor, oh AND it was actually a 3 bedroom”. It just sounded too good to be true. But she sounded so, well, old and all-knowing about the property (so that made her honest)!
She gave me directions to the “unit” sounding like a speed freak, fast and choppy, while also speaking simultaneously with someone in the office. I tried to write as fast as I could, her “down a road, then an alley and a longggggg walkway...peek inside the curtains, go around back and peek in” and actual street directions. It was VERY confusing.
And the money total that would be due upon signing the papers and lease “today” was quickly and professionally whizzed through, making me catch my breath! Something about the actual rent, damage deposit, cleaning deposit, pet deposit for the dog and more for each cat. I surmised she was talking’ $1500 up front. Oh yeah, sure.
I met with another elderly woman who opened the house for me. She arrived in an ancient orange pickup with the oldest man I have ever seen, driving. Before he could stop the car, she flew out from the drivers seat. I walked over to introduce myself. I could see fear in her eyes.
She said, “Lordy, that was the worst drive in the dirtiest pick-up with a deaf, old man! We were hauling butt to get here on time. My heart is racing!”
The driver was the ancient handy-man who had driven to a nearby town to give her a ride into the city after her car had broken down. Unfortunately for her, he was chauffeuring her for the afternoon. He was a creep, too. He only mumbled or should I say, growled. Miserable, mean, old curmudgeon. It was sure a turn-off if that was the guy I would have to let into my home for any repairs I might have! One red flag.
The actual front door to the unit faced the alley. It had bars on every window. The driveway was cement, the unit was cinderblock. The wall was cinderblock. The backyard was cement with 3 very high cinderblock walls bordering it. It had a tiny patch of dirt, enough to plant one tomato plant. Nothing else. A bunch of red flags.
Onward and inward the horrors continued. The carpet was orange textured, with some sort of swirly design and intermittent yellowish threads, padded, too pouffie for my taste. I asked if it would be cleaned before move-in and was told they’d had it “professionally cleaned” already. Uh-oh. Thank god it was textured and bi-colored so I couldn’t see at first how really filthy it was. Walking on it was, disgusting.
But the new kitchen floor, a tiny 5’ x3’ space between the stove on one side and the refrigerator, DID have brand new tile. And it WAS pretty!
The woman was talking the whole time as I peered into each closet, opened doors, and checked the place out. She told me to take my time and kept talking. I told her I was trying to think about it, but she never got the hint. I knew it was awful. I was trying to convince myself I could make it work, there for awhile.
The three bedrooms with the same orange, dingy carpet gave me claustrophobia. Each had only a north-facing window with bars. I couldn’t breathe. Red flag.
The Master bedroom was a tiny bit larger. It had a brick firewall (the woman pointed out how “unique” that was). In the middle of the wall looked like a large, roundish, crimson spot, about the size of the top of someone’s head and red drips all the way to the orange carpet below. It truly looked as though someone had been murdered on that firewall. I asked her what it was. She said, “Oh probably just some red paint, you know how those cleaning crews are”. Uh, no, I don’t. It made my spine shiver. That and the claustrophobia drove me out of the bedroom area, in a hurry. MORE than just a red flag!
The woman spoke about the money and how the $1500 “had to be CASH, today, to secure a hold on the place”. Double red flag.
Even through my horror, I was adding it up in my head to make sure I could come up with enough if I scraped all my resources together. I didn’t have it.
And then, we rounded the corner into the dark, carpeted living room, and as if to remind me I had just been through a surreal experience walking through the unit, a gnat attacked my right eye. It would NOT let me alone. I shushed it and waved my hand to make it leave. It wouldn’t. I took it as a sign.
I walked to the door to get rid of the gnat and at the same time told the woman “something just wasn’t right about the place, for ME” and I wished her luck. The old codger stood behind her with a scowl and grumbled and I walked outside to freedom and light! Gawd, I am so depressed!