Or maybe more appropriately, “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” The great apartment hunt has come to a close is one of the more convenient but unsatisfying ways possible.
After weeks of driving around Austin, looking at tons of real estate sites and Craigslist, after actually saying yes to a living situation and then backing out (which left me feeling both freer and also like a giant jerk), I have decided to…move across the hall. That’s it. That’s the big reveal.
Let me back up a bit. The living situation I said yes to was a house around the corner from my apartment. It was a nice house, and I was assured that the roommates were nice, respectful people who were never there. I got excited about the house because I’d had a string of bad luck with potential roommates who seemed like Nigerian prince email scam levels of bogus or nuts, and some apartments that looked fine in photographs but were dodgy as hell in the context of a particular neighborhood, and this situation didn’t seem bad, and by comparison it seemed perfect. I was used to having a roommate who is gone a lot, and I liked that, but after I agreed to move in, I started getting cold feet. Really never there? Or “never there.” Mostly, though, my doubts were about me. Was I going to be a good roommate? During the school year, I usually do my dishes regularly, but during the summer…I might let them sit a while. Is that okay? My boyfriend keeps odd hours, and sometimes he might want to drop by kind of late. Is that okay? I forget my laundry in the dryer for a day or two sometimes. Is that okay?
I was telling my roommate about the house, and she said, “There are three roommates?” and I heard her say it, and I realized sharing a space with other people wasn’t what I wanted. They might be respectful; they might be gone a lot, but there is still some sharing involved, and the more people you have, the more you have to negotiate. “Have you talked to them in the office about one bedrooms here?” my current roommate asked.
D’oh. I meant to, but then I found a house and got excited because it was a house and my bedroom was really big and I said yes before I asked about the possibility of living alone. So, I backed out of taking the room in the house. It was an asshole move, and I should have taken more time to think about that situation before actually agreeing to it, but I hadn’t signed any papers, so I decided, shitty thought it was, to do the thing that would make me happiest, which is living by myself.
Better yet, when I went and talked to them about one bedrooms, the lady said she had a one bedroom on the second floor in my building.
“That’s the one I want!” I said, and when she said it was across the hall from my current place, I just started writing a check. Because my biggest reservations about getting a new place were the sort of unknown element of “what if this place is much, much worse than the place I was living before” and the sheer dread of packing all of my things in boxes and taping them up, lugging them downstairs, driving to a new place, and lugging them inside and unpacking them all again. The sheer irritation of multiple trips where I only carry a lamp and a bag of toiletries because it’s all I can carry at one time, but it’s barely making a dent in all the stuff I’ve got to move. The handful of crap that won’t fit into a box because it’s irregularly shaped, leading to more little trips to carry a table or rolls of toilet paper, bottles of mustard that I’d rather replace than move, laundry detergent. That quickly becomes irritating, hot, sticky work, and it becomes overwhelming to think about. But carrying stuff across the hall…no big deal. The lady in the apartment office even suggested I could swap my kitchen drawers out with the ones in that apartment and not even have to deal with relining drawers or moving boxes of plastic wrap and sandwich bags!
I wanted something new and different. I wanted to be closer to my boyfriend. I wanted a house. I wanted a lot of things that contradicted each other, but when I agreed to the smallest move possible, I realized I felt completely at peace with that decision.