"i am would liking to know if te room is still 4 rent? please send picture, address, phone number, full name to me so i can do need some research on the place. please consider the House mine. -Jessica"
Reading it I could actually feel a small part of my brain wretch as small blood clot formed from pure frustration struck it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I lost some grade school algebra in a small grammatically-induced stroke.
I deleted the e-mail that was most likely a scam anyways. I then edited the Craigslist ad I had put up, and with no dramatic rapidity or concern added the word "intelligent" into the description of the would-be roommate Fiance and I were hunting for.
I'm sorry, but if I have to live with someone then that person better have a firm grasp of syntax and punctuation.
The search for a new roommate - a situation brought about through fiscal necessity as Fiance and I were eager to start scrimping away more fervently for a down payment - had never been this hard before. Then again, the last time I was hunting for a roommate the economy was good and Bravo had yet to start airing anything starring an attention-whoring housewife. There were simply far fewer ads on Craigslist to compete with for potential roommates.
Of course, those who did seem to read the ad weren't exactly the ones who fit the description. In fact, I imagine that none of the potential applicants had actually read it in full. I use the word "potential" rather literally. Only one person have I actually deemed to meet and that one was more out of desperation than anything else. For the most part many of the applicants are failing to get past the preliminary phone conversation or e-mail due in part to grammar so blunt you could club a horse to death with it; or phone skills that demonstrate a third grade education, a drinking problem, or both.
The ad reads pretty darn simple. Clean gay couple with two cats. No drugs. You pay rent on time. Clean neighborhood. Attic and a washer and dryer are available. So on and so forth. Overall, it's the place I would have loved to live in but couldn't afford seven years ago. Thus, by my standards, it's a room in a house that people should be knocking down the door for.
Instead, I get people who call and ask about thier pet dog.
"The ad did say no pets," I replied. "I suppose if the dog is trained..."
"Well he's an inside dog, but he only poops on the floor every so often. He also hates cats."
"Everything you just said is a problem," I replied.
"The pooping or the cats?"
"You have cats then?" he asked.
I sighed audibly. "It's in the ad that I do. They are indoor cats."
"Can you put them outside?"
There are times, in fact, when it is perfectly acceptable to just hang up on someone and it not be considered rude.
Then there was the pair of twins who insisted that four people sharing a bathroom is just as easy as three. I must assume then that these twins shower together because I'll be damned to live with two other people and scramble for a share of hot water in the morning. Seriously, leaving me with only cold shower water is a quick way to find yourself with my belt wrapped around your neck while I punch you in the kidney repeatedly. Just sayin'.
Then the lady with four kids who called. For one bedroom. Lord, I almost called Social Services on that one.
The worst applicant so far has been the pot smokers.
During the phone interview earlier in the day before their visit they had asked if smoking pot was fine. Now I'm not a smoker myself as the taste of the smoke generally causes me to cough so hard I practically break down into hysterical sobs before throwing up my ribcage. However, I really just don't care if others do it. This being California and all I asked the guy if he had his proper, legal medical docs all in order. He said that he did and so I invited him to see the place.
What arrived at the door was not one, but two chunky, rather awkwardly shaped men in suits that did not practically fit them. They reeked of pot and their glassy eyes gazed through me as they searched, I assume, for munchies.
"Uhh... hi. There are two of you," I said. I didn't bother to really compose myself from the surprise of a Wonder Bread version of Cheech and Chong ringing my doorbell.
"Yeah. Is that okay?" one of them breathed out.
"Not really. The ad was for one roommate. Not two."
"Well we would only be in the room a few hours a week," said the other one assuredly. We smiled and gestured towards me with a nod as if to indicate how obviously I should know this.
"We just need a room to smoke in."
Having had some experience with drug using roommates in the past I knew this translated as: We plan to do illegal stuff here. Buying, selling, and weighing. Smoking too, of course.
"No. No way. I'm sorry but I am looking for someone to live here. If that person has a medical prescription for pot for a legitimate reason that's one thing -"
"We can find a friend to live here in our place to make it better," he laughed before falling into a small coughing fit. Oh, pot humor... I'm never sure if it's ever actually a joke.
"Not a chance. Sorry." And so I escorted them out the door before cracking open a window to get the reek of hemp, Fritos, and Call of Duty out of my living room.
Still, not all of them have been bad and hopefully I actually have a decent person lined up. Nice, educated, no drug problems, good at conversation, and understands pithy references to Doctor Who. Furthermore, this person seemed to really like the place.
Of course, the smell of coco-banana bread baking in the oven may have helped sway the final decision. It's a relatively typical banana bread recipe with the addition of a generous amount of cocoa powder. Incredibly satisfying and a decadent twist on a classic favorite. Furthermore, the aroma of chocolate and banana wafting through the house is sure to sway the opinions of those around you in your favor.
So here's hoping. Until, I find out from both Potential and Landlord we'll just have to wait and see.
For now? More bread for me.
Adapted from Simply Recipes
3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon and a large bowl, mix the butter into the mashed bananas. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and walnuts, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.