Thursday, February 4, 2010

Roomie Hunting in the Great Depression 2.0

Greetings from my favorite Starbucks in Sherman Oaks on Ventura Boulevard.

I'm blogging and making video here at Starbucks today, dear reader, because I am using the web to hunt for my new place.  You see, the internet just got cut off at Gilley's place, whose sudden move to New Mexico, has me looking for new surroundings.

So pardon any typos but working with the cappuccino machine next to my head is distracting as hell.

Charlie Fleischer of ROGER RABBIT fame sits next to me, sipping on a iced coffee and doodling.  Charlie's a regular here like me and a sweet guy.  I'd love to interview him before I blow Sherman Oaks. 

I did a rooms for rent search Monday for my new place for the next 90 days.  My budget is tight and I thought my options would be limited but I found hundreds of options on Craig's List that fit my tight $500 to $700 per month budget.

That amount of people searching for roomies says a lot about how hard times are by itself, but I came across some sad stories that drives the point sadly further home.

One was a lovely, lonely woman living in the valley in an area that would best be described as a mugging waiting to happen. As I pulled up to the spiked metal fence surrounding the apartment building I knew this would never work for a guy who likes to walk in LA, a rarity I know, but it works as long as you're not dating and you work from home like me. 

But I never break an appointment so I went in, even though I knew this war zone wonder was not for me.  The lady was former actor who was now a beautician, and as we sat and talked I thought about the story of the pioneers who set of for California, only to stop along the journey to establish places like Denver and Salt Lake City.  Short of the destination but happy with where they settled. 

The actress turned beautician  impressed me as happy but then next sublandlord was not so happy.  Unemployed and likely to remain so in this rotten economy, the next lady needed a roomie to make the mortgage.  As she tourd me past the broken washer in dryer sitting in her living room she explained,

"It gets chilly here at night because I had the gas turned off to save on money. But a space heater might keep you comfy."

Someone the other day told me that America was already a third world country and we're just to brainwashed to know it. I couldn't help feeling this might be true given the third world conditions that rivaled DISTRICT 9 that I was seeing today.  Cable's down at Gilley's and I was watching the director's commentary and he in fact calls LA "Johanesburg Light" that the world is heading for a society where the elite live behind fences to keep out the poor.

So as I thought about D-9, I tried not to feel too guilty telling this desperate woman not to wait for my answer.

Justified though I was in running, not walking, out of that sad house perched among choked weeds on a sunny middle-class Burbank street, I still felt like a jerk. The poor thing needed a lot more help than my little monthly rent might provide.  But God help me if one of my clients stiffed me and I failed to pay rent on time and she and her little Toto looking dog ended up on the street.

So, not wanting to be a roomie in in place that sounded like it was heading for foreclosure or worse, I headed over to Venice Beach in Kim's car that she's kindly letting me use to get resettled after she and Gilley decided to move to New Mexico with only one week's notice.

BTW, normally I'd be bugged about this short string move notice but Gilley's been awesome.  Yep. I'd be a dick to complain. I love Kim and Gilley so I'm joyfully making this work, even if I end up throwing my stuff into storage and go on a camping trip for a week at Big Sur or crashing on a pal's couch.  No bitching allowed.  I'm seeing all this as an adventure
And though the Venice Beach place is a little above my price range, I hope this works out not just for the cool location, only a couple hundred yards from the beach, but for chance to get to know the nice woman who'd be my new roomie.  But it's hot property and I have the disadvantage of being a guy when she'd prefer a fellow female roomie.  So I'm keeping up the hunt!

Stay tuned for more of my adventures in Hollywood here in the Great Depression 2.0.

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