Friday, March 27, 2009

Apartment Zero


Yesterday sure was an emotional roller coaster. Out of nowhere, my real estate agent -- who had gone MIA after presenting me with nothing but overpriced crap a couple weeks ago -- suddenly took me to see a half-dozen apartments, all of which I would seriously entertain calling home.

As this was going on, news leaked out about mass layoffs at work, with pay cuts and other negotiations in the works. While I was immeasurably thankful to still be employed at the end of the day, it was difficult learning several colleagues wouldn't be coming back, some of whom I count as friends. It was a stark reminder (like any of us needed it) of just how bad the economy is right now and how tenuous things really are. (All but one member of my family has now either been laid off, had full days cut, or has been asked to take leave without pay.) While all of this was unfolding, a friend of mine at work -- who'd been off for a few days -- confided in me that he'd suddenly gotten married on Sunday. I was so happy for him and then so sad that he felt like he should keep it under wraps because it wasn't the right time to share "good" news on a day filled with so much tumult. (People getting married should ALWAYS be allowed to be happy about it, shouldn't they?)

No sooner had I begun to pull myself together to resume the apartment hunt it dawned on me that I might actually need to make a decision on one of these places -- and fast. I'm heading West for a week on Sunday (another source of stress -- traveling), and today is Friday. Further complicating things, with the exception of the neighborhood and general price, each apartment is COMPLETELY different -- from street-level garden style to sleek high rise, and everything in between. (Do I want charm over function? Is a doorman important? Can you put an air conditioner in a window with security bars? Is the school too close? Is the place too close to the bar? Should I really be moving now at all???) I thought if I gave myself some time to clear my head and weigh the pros and cons, I'd begin to see things more clearly. Instead, bedtime came upon me and I was completely at a loss. Earlier in the day I called my brother Bill and jokingly told him that he should come up from D.C. to help me decide (like he has with every other apartment I've ever had dating back to when I was a "kid"). At first he said he had plans, but then later in the day -- and much to my delight -- he actually said yes! (He'll be here at 1 today!) Maybe he can make everything all right. Sometimes I don't feel like I was cut out for all this grown-up stuff ...

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