Your first apartment: get used to the cold and mold
So, you’ve navigated the dorms, learned how to take care of yourself and have decided it’s time to strike out on your own.
You should know that you have a lot of options open. For your first apartment, you can pick from a number of models, including noisy, moldy, no insulation, domestic violence next door or landlord who doesn’t return calls about the wall that is falling down. Some students also have the drugdealer neighbor and mysteriously horrific smell options available, although these depend on location.
But where do you find these beautiful, clean and affordable apartments, you ask? One of the best ways is to ask your friends who have apartments. They can give you lots of helpful advice, mostly by telling you not to call their landlord. Theirs is always the worst in history.
It’s true. Landlords are terrible masters of shadow and death who command demonic legions and from their dark keeps can see all underneath their burning gaze. No, wait— that’s Sauron. My mistake.
Although they don’t actually command demonic legions, landlords have the power to withhold your security deposit, which for many college students is much more frightening.
But really, who can blame them? We never call our landlords to tell them how well class is going, or update them on our family life. We only call them when we break the toilet, or freeze the pipes, or drop our keys down the elevator shaft. If those were the only kinds of calls I got, I’d want to unite Middle Earth under a flaming banner, too.
I would like to take a moment and say, for the benefit of that segment of the readership who happens to be my landlord, that I am 100 percent kidding here. I’ve had some really good landlords in Cheney, and they know who they are.
Another thing about finding a new apartment is that there are always exciting surprises around every corner.
In my apartment, for example, I thought that I was getting a bathroom, when in fact what I got was a shrine to the mold gods. For those unfamiliar, mold is a living colony of disgusting slime that thrives in darkness and preys upon perishable goods, much like your roommates.
This may sound frustrating, but I take it in stride. After all, it would be a much more frustrating situation if, for example—and this is purely theoretical—as far as you can tell, the previous tenant either caused the entire problem through a lack of basic housekeeping skills, and/or did absolutely no cleaning before turning it over to you. That would be frustrating indeed. Thank goodness that did not happen.
But let’s not dwell on the bad things. In fact, one of the benefits of my apartment is that I do not need to watch TV. My neighbors do me the favor of constantly keeping me updated on current events.
Their coverage includes such diverse topics as the price of beer, the price of gasoline and the ever-changing nature of one’s relationship with one’s parole officer. My favorite segment, however, is the saga of Mark and Sally. Mark and Sally are in love, but Mark is always cheating on Sally. It’s endlessly entertaining. I never tire of hearing about them.
Now, my neighbors are not bohemian intellectual types. They know that sometimes, to fully get to the heart of an issue, you must carefully weigh the facts by repeating them constantly at a high volume. Sometimes their discussions last far into the night. I am glad for this, because after a 12-hour day of school, work and not eating, sleep is the last thing on my mind.
However, it is not always fun times at my apartment. About once a month, I must face the most dreaded of all enemies: the electricity man.
The electricity man’s job is to come to your house when you fail to pay your utility bill and turn off your electricity. The electricity man, for all I know, is probably a very nice guy who maybe even has a family or something. But I hate him. When he comes around to my house, I close the windows and hiss through the blinds.
Some of you think I am over-exaggerating about needing electricity. After all, we have computers, internet, television and expensive video games on campus, paid for with your university recreation fee.
But there is a flaw in your plan. You may be surprised to learn that the microwave, unlike the dishwasher, which runs on magic, does not work without electricity. At least 50 percent of you, including me, would starve without it.
In any case, I wish you the best of luck in your new apartment. And when the going gets tough, just remember: it could be worse. You could be working on a deadline while frantically rushing home in a vain attempt to waylay the electricity man.
Views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the Easterner