I am unsure as to nature’s reasons, but in anticipation of a new story, the sun gloriously shines on me again today as I have another outing. A second viewing in the second week of hunting for a flat to rent. The property is conveniently located on the same site as the office, how advantageous, literally a hop and a jump from the workplace. No more late mornings. Ever.
I am quite excited, whilst fate on a parallel level of being, silently and cruelly plays with my destiny, laughing at the knowing events about to befall me. I cannot bad mouth mystery, it should remain just so, the truth is always ugly – in hindsight – however, off I skip like a baby wallaby to find the pocket to where I belong. Memory has dispelled the disaster movie of the previous viewing (Jack and the Beanstalk) where the Estate Agent had sent notification to the existing tenant via email, he appeared not to have been organised enough to check messages to confirm his vacated presence. In this day and age, surely that is an unforgivable act in itself. It is called organisation and communication, about the only two elements that will help you live, love and learn in the twenty-first century.
However, I pontificate, the resolution being that I did not for one second think I would be living out an identical scenario in the higher echelons of society; the town is fit for a prince, it says so on its green welcome sign, in italic white lettering, with double quotation marks.
The Estate Agent, female, blond, midget, all smiles and loveliness conveniently meets with me as I exit the office. We are both wearing fuscia pink cardigans, fate giggles to herself whilst I am thinking co-incidence is on my side, Maybe this is it! Literally leading me along a garden path, the neat grass and colourful prettied flowers shine at me happily, and the adjacent deep green wrought iron-bench beckons me to sit lazily in the sunshine pondering on life’s dreams. Of course, I resist. Temptation is so extraordinarily bad. Thoughts interrupted, Oh, started Estate Agent Lady, it appears the tenant is in, we did notify him as she spots all the windows to the property have been left open. What kind of properties am I looking at, what kind of ‘professional’ Estate Agents am I dealing with, and what kind of tenants do these Estate Agents let to, for goodness’ sake…
We both enter the building through the warbled glass door and I note the dusty cobwebs where ceiling meets wall. Estate Agent Lady assertively taps the brass knocker. I absorb the tiny St George’s flag in the centre panel of the door, visible but invisible, silently worried if the occupying tenant does indeed answer the door. She repeats the knocking. Still, no answer. I inspect the hallway and my attention is drawn to a crunchy woodlouse lying on its grey ridged back in the corner where this time, wall meets floor. Its legs of course are not scrambling, it appears to have been stupefied AND petrified, Death-Eater must have eaten its insect-visage, it now rests on a nameless cemetery that is the entrance to my potential new ‘pad’.
Estate Agent Lady perches herself on the stairs, I don’t want to enter in case he is sleeping, let me call the office. As we engage in polite conversational social chit-chat, her phone vibrates. It’s ok, he’s not in, just popped out for some fresh air speaks the voice from inside the handset, Estate Agent Lady is relieved. Fresh air?! Have I stumbled into Pride & Prejudice? We enter Number 24.
I remember in infant school we made 3D shapes from cardboard, drawing out the plan of the real shape we had been tasked to build. Each meticulous measurement was completed with the utmost accuracy, having to score along the folding lines several times with the blunt edge of a pair of scissors, so when the flaps were glued together, the cube / cuboid shape had been perfectly created. I walk through the door and this is the plan I am faced with, each folding line is an entry to a smaller vortex. I am disappointed but it is fair to say, the dramatic suicide of the woodlouse had already told my instinct, this was not to be. However, the viewing continues.
The flat is being offered unfurnished and the sparsely populated living room is a further personification of death itself. The three-piece caramel leather suite with beautifully carved oiled wooden platforms pleads with me for escape as it sits, naked, in front of the small television set which attempts to paint the reflection on its black-screen-glass canvas. The tenant has recently separated from his wife and I don’t think he’s entirely domesticated himself to single life volunteers Estate Agent Lady. My heart bleeds. I am looking for a property, somewhere I can call mine own, not an excuse, or a sob story to the current state of the accommodation. And even so, separation or divorce or bad relationship status is extremely bad karma. I have imagination, but even imagination could not cure my surroundings. Even a kiss from a virgin princess could not kiss this frog of a flat into the princely apartment of my dreams.
The only positive characteristic are the large windows. Five steps directly from the entrance is a dark brown door which opens into a sink, with a tired hob to my right. All in all, the rectangular kitchen is about four steps in width, and I am not a giant with 5ft paces a piece. It is uninspiring to say the least. Estate Agent Lady advises, It of course needs a good clean.
Hmmm, I think, Fully fitted kitchen, it’s a rabbit hutch with a washing-up basin. I will one day verbalise my thoughts, however, I keep them to myself appropriately in the current situation. We step – literally, one step – back out into the dead sea of light brown carpet, and head towards the other dark brown door. I am greeted with, a dark brown square. I feel as if I have been transported into an episode of Funny Bones.
What on earth were the architects thinking? The three-foot square has a door on each side of its shape, on my direct right; bedroom, on my direct left; ‘walk-in wardrobe’, immediately in-front; bathroom. Needless to say, the doors cannot be opened all at once or there would be some sort of panic in an emergency, trapped in a hellfire of fake-timber, it was the size of a telephone booth. I would surely have entered some dark wormhole that belongs only to outer space if I stood too long in the centre of the square with all the doors tighted around me. I am half expecting a pentagram is drawn in lizard’s blood underneath the bouble carpet. Moving swiftly on…
The double-bedroom. I surmise Estate Agents need to clear up the detail surrounding this description. A bedroom containing a double-bed, is not a double-bedroom, it is a myth. The definition of a double-bedroom is a room that not only contains a double bed, but also has space enough to contain furniture and provides the ability to walk around said double-bed, and said bedroom furniture.
The current double-bed is pushed into the far corner against the radiator, which is underneath the window (What on earth were the engineers thinking?!). Common sense was clearly lacking from the project team at inception level. Advising Estate Agent Lady I am yet to purchase my furniture and already having confirmed I have not joined the happy worldom of marriage in our tête-à-tête earlier, there was no need for her to assume I was in the market for a single bed. I like my space darn it, I sleep pretending I am an exploding star thus a double bed is a staple requirement for my future bedroom.
Before I could prevent any further splurges of advice, Estate Agent Lady went on to suggest that I place the single bed on the centre of the wall facing the window (whereby I would have a view of the brick wall on the other side of the pathway) and there would still be room enough for a dressing table, wardrobe and bedside cabinet. This was so far-fetched I wanted to laugh in her face, sneeze in her eye and cough in her mouth. Needless to say, I refrained. Social etiquette, I am brimming with it, now if I could somehow turn that into a commodity, I would be on the property ladder for my mansion in Vancouver.
After dismissing her creative imagination of futile interior design, we move on to the bathroom. I will advise you of the adjective ‘splatters’ in relation to the eau de toilet, and orange speckles-come-growing-spots of damp were scattered across the white ceiling. The window was open, so it was not odorous, thankfully, or I may just have passed out.
I will let you know, I have a few more properties to see tomorrow…