The apartment building that Gentleman Scholar and I live in is for sale. We knew this when we signed the lease, but as the landlady is asking quite a bit for it, and prices for multi-family homes are way way down, we figured it was safe to move in. If it does sell, the buyer has to honor the terms already agreed upon, so we don’t really lose, and it’s a great apartment.
When we signed the lease, the landlady told us that there would be a realtor coming through every now and then. We were prepared for her, but I don’t think she was prepared for us. The first time she showed up, we had just moved in. Things were still in boxes, we looked frazzled and exhausted. The next time she called to tell me that she was coming by, she made a point to tell me, “Don’t worry about cleaning up and making everything perfect. It doesn’t have to be spotless.”
“Ok,” I told her, “I won’t.”
When I conveyed this conversation to Jewish Friend trying to figure out what the hell I was supposed to take from that, she determined, “The realtor was passive-aggressively telling you to clean your house. Forget her, man, you just moved in.”
What realtor was probably not anticipating is that both Gentleman Scholar and I are going through a summer of underemployment–I’m looking for work, and he’s sorting out PhD research stuff. We are home all the time, usually in pjs, seemingly just hanging out.
We always forget when the realtor is coming, so probably look that much more disheveled and confused, then she tries to banter with us as if we are friends, which quickly becomes awkward. She left a message a while ago saying that she’d be stopping by on Thursday at 10am, “If you ‘re not home, I’ll let myself in and watch out so the kitty doesn’t run away.” Her tone seemed incredibly hopeful that we would maybe, finally be out of the house, but when she knocked, I let her in like always, and watched her smile become that much more strained.
The most awkward encounter to date, was when I completely forgot she was coming, and was on the treadmill in the basement. Normally, she hustles people through my apartment saying “this is the exact same layout as the (vacant) apartment downstairs.” In the basement, there are laundry machines, breaker boxes, and water heaters to explain. So I ran on the treadmill watching Gilmore Girls, trying to sweat inconspicuously while she and four other smartly dressed people examined the nuts and bolts of the building.
I could make a point to leave the house when she comes by, but since I’m working from home (even if it just looks like I’m hanging out), I don’t want to bother packing up everything I need for a 30-minute jaunt down to the coffee shop. Also, because I’m working from home and rarely go out, time has no meaning. I barely know what day it is anymore, and unless I jot down what day and time she’s expected in my google calendar, I’ll never remember it.
Now that we’ve finally gotten around to hanging thing on the wall, we look a bit less useless. The apartment has gone from boxes and piles of crap, to an actual home with deliberate placement of items. Of course no amount of decorating will take away from the fact that we are always just there, hanging out.