Note: I do not intend to diminish the reality of homelessness. There are real people here who are really homeless, struggling every day just to survive. I am not really homeless in the traditional sense. I have a job (a great one), I have the Night Witch (sexy, sexy car), I have a place to stay (motel), and I have a pretty fantastic support network (I love you all). But, I haven’t been able to find a place to live until now. So, technically, I’ve been homeless.
The art of renting in Humboldt County was something I was wholly unfamiliar with and unprepared for. I lacked the certain tenacity it takes to find a dwelling behind the Redwood Curtain. Boy, did I learn my lesson.
The first obstacle is finding a place to rent. Everything goes through a rental agency, even the apartment complexes. Sure, you can look online at listings. Go ahead. They have this cool technology here called the world wide web that you can use to apply for a place. How advanced! Except…even if you apply, have good credit, and the money you need for a deposit, you are in no way guaranteed that anyone will even answer a phone, let alone get back to you about an apartment that fifty other people have applied for.
The second problem, and it is a problem, is that offices are only open from 9-5, Monday through Friday. Some places don’t open until 10. There isn’t even a bank that is open on Saturdays here. I’m thinking of proposing a new slogan to the chamber of commerce along the lines of “Fuck your day job! We do business on our terms, assholes.”
Demand exceeds supply. Not only do the places go so quickly that the online listings are often useless by the next day, but there just aren’t enough places to find. Too many students, drifters, vagabonds, hobos, and swindlers competing. (I like to imagine I fall in between a vagabond and a hobo.) And we’re all competing for that sweet studio apartment in the ghetto with the shag carpet and questionably smelly neighbor.
Finally, there’s the ample opportunities for you to meet your competition at local showings. These showings are scheduled mid-to-late mornings during the week. They come with complementary stink-eyes from your opponents. I showed up to one ten minutes after it started and they had already rented the place to someone else. Your only hope is that the property manager on site will take pity on you. And maybe some bribes.
But none of that matters now. I found a place to live! And it’s cute, to boot! There are mountains and the Eel River and cheese and trees and cow crossings. This girl is one happy Hoosier.