The carpet screams ’70s. The couch and dining room table look like they might be from the same era.
“I provide all the furnishings free!” announces the chipper landlord for the fifth time in five minutes. “That’s mine…” he points to the large, tarnished lamp, “and that…” This time the cheap desk – a surprisingly modern-looking addition to the room.
I smile and nod, trying to imagine myself in this ugly little space. Would a rug make the room more cheerful? Could I talk him into a fresh coat of paint?
“And this is the oven!” the landlord opens the little, brown box with a flair it hasn’t seen in decades. “Help yourself, help yourself.”
I’m not sure what I’m supposed to help myself to. The current tenant’s pots and pans?
He moves on, pointing out the concrete ceiling and floor, the furnishings (he provides them all for free!), and the closets.
“Help yourself! Help yourself!”
The place is gross; grit and grime cover every surface not filled by the current tenant’s possessions. I wonder if it can all be blamed on the tenant. The room looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in years.
“I’m the owner and manager,” says the landlord, as if reading my mind. “I do all the repairs. I’m here twice a week.”
Doing what? I think but don’t say. I want to like this place. It falls within my budget and comes with furniture so I don’t have to figure out buying and storing furniture for a semester. He also will let me sublease – a handy option considering I’ve decided to study abroad next year.
I can put up with anything for 5 months. But do I even want to think about how filthy the couch is?
5 months feels like a very, very long time. Good thing I have another place to tour tomorrow. I don’t have high hopes, though!