Wednesday, July 30, 2008

TWIR, XIV: Please Consider the Fact That No One Cares

TWIR, XIV: Please Consider the Fact That No One Cares

Monday, March 24, 2008

You know what drives me absolutely bonkers (among a hastily-expanding, infinite amount of things) are the posers who think it’s trendy to put that green note with the little tree icon at the bottom of emails. “Please consider the environment before printing this email.”

Listen, I am as much of an eco-freak as someone living in a concrete jungle can be; I more than support the cause. I use mass-transit. I own 2 real furs… err, wait? I have a f***ing compost pile of Diet Coke bottles/cans under my desk at work that I feel too bad about not recycling… and will eventually take to a bin… at some point… maybe when I leave the office late at night and don’t mind being mistaken for a homeless person who just dug through the garbage. I stood in line at Whole Foods at 5am in the rain for a “I’m not a plastic bag” canvas bag to use instead of plastic bags at the grocery store, and among other things, I’ve stopped eating mammals* because of the greenhouse gases they produce on the meat-butchering farms where they are raised. (*I reneged this commitment twice in the past 10 months, once at a media party and once after a media party, both times excessive alcohol was involved and come on, sometimes you just need a bite of a burger). I digress. This is not about me.

Back to the e-consideration of Mother Earth. It’s so f***ing presumptuous to think that people are just printing out your emails left and right - like they aren’t already getting 9859285732986 other emails in a given day - to the point that you need to step in and say something to stop them before they print it out. Thank goodness you have that little icon and note there, you arrogant jerk, so that when people get to the bottom of your emails, just before they hit the Print/Kill-a-Tree command, they can now stop and think, “F**K, WWAGD?!?!” (F**K - What Would Al Gore Do)? Well we all know what Al would do; he wouldn’t print that email. If people are really printing out my emails, I would ask them to please consider what they’re doing with their LIVES if they truly feel they need a hard copy form of this sh*t to file away.

Equally annoying as the faux eco-freaks (fauxcofreaks… that doesn’t work does it) are 99% of real estate agents in New York. Living in the center of the universe is great, but for sure the worst possible thing you can do here is move your stuff from one NY apartment to another. I challenge you to find a more agonizing process to go through. Adding brokers to the mix only compounds what is already an extremely painful experience. The whole process is just awfully ass-backwards. And if you’re an in-advance-planner-type, forget about it; start the anti-anxiety meds now. In my case, the last round of relocation started with eviction, which was a special little twist of the knife in the side.

Most brokers are shady. And that’s being kind. Take the guy from Best Apartments who showed us a place in Tribeca. It was a great place in Tribeca proper, as opposed to a Craigslist ad that says something to the effect of “$3150 / 2br - Big true 1 bdrm-flex 2 bdrm, 740sqft, city.water vu, drmn, gr8 area! Tribeca/Soho!!!!” That really means Tribeca/Soho/a sketcy area not remotely close to either of those posh neighborhoods, and watch it, because you’ll likely get mugged at night by a shady character… possibly the broker who is trying to sell you on the place. That brings us back to Best Apartments Buddy. He shows me this apartment and I liked it a lot, however, I was the only one who was able to see it at the time. I gave him $500 to put a hold on it till we could send in the applications. As luck would have it, we found a much better apartment on the day we were approved for this one. We said thanks but no on Tribeca, and he said we owe him $4695 because we decided not to take the apartment. Excellent reasoning. Then he threatened to take us to small claims court, and after we called him out on his BS, he decided he’d just keep the $500. This kicked off what inevitably turns into the equivalent of taking a large sum of money and dumping it in the East River.

Speaking of large sums of money, another annoying thing brokers do is show you apartments out of your price range. These apartments will be the ones you fall in love with, and of course everything else will seem like a rat-infested sh*thole in comparison. As I said, we saw mecca the same day we were approved for another apartment. This was the holy grail of NY apartments: centrally located, stunning, 2100sq ft and just out of our price range. Fitting right into place as part of the universe’s grand scheme against us, we decided we could stretch a little more for such a fantastic space. How often do you find that much space in NY? OF COURSE IT’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. Please. During the application process, the owner of said apartment decided that perhaps the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle wasn’t the ideal tenant situation for him. Did he even take into account the fabulous clothing that explained the lack of available funds in our checking accounts? No. He decides we need an extra month of security upfront, which along with the 15% broker’s fee (another special aspect of moving in NY), brought the grand upfront-cash-needed-total to $30,000. I sh*t you not. Am I wrong in wanting to scream out, “If I had $30K lying around, do you think I would be looking for an apartment to RENT with two other people, asshole?!?!?!?” That settled… onto night #47 in a row of wine for dinner. Those of you who were there know how well that panned out.

Maybe the last worst thing brokers do (can I even say that – it’s probably like picking a least-favorite child) is show you spaces that are flat out unlivable. Under this umbrella falls the 6’x6’ “bedrooms,” underground apartments with no windows, entire apartments with no closets or living rooms, walk-ups that triathletes couldn’t manage every day, and among other things, anything on Avenue D or Peter Cooper (read: Stephen King) Village. The last one made the list while viewing an apartment and looking out the window to an empty playground with empty swings blowing in the breeze. This is the stuff that Law & Order: SVU episodes come from. Anyhow, we saw so many awful apartments it was entirely depressing. Exactly what part of “overpriced bat cave that you can only fit a twin bed into” did you think you were going to sell me on? I am a professional, er mature… I will be 30 in about three years; I need a place that leaves me with a modicum of dignity and enough disposable income to buy at least 3 new outfits each month. Is that too much to ask?

Eventually you get so tired of looking that you settle on a place you can live with and live in. Sure it’s $500 more each month than you’re paying now, it’s a fraction of the size of the fabulous 5th Avenue apartment you left (after they evicted you and changed the locks) and even after downsizing the copious amount of STUFF you’ve collected over the past 3+ years you still need to get a storage unit for the opposite season’s wardrobe… the point is you’ve finally found a home and you’re not far away from once again feeling settled. It’s then that you get an email from your broker letting you know that within the next 24 hours you’ll need a certified check for the majority of what you make in a year another for 15% of the annual rent, but CONGRATS, because you have a new home! Then, just before you go to print that sucker out to remind yourself of just exactly how far into debt you’re about to fall, you see that familiar little evergreen icon and accompanying note from yet another self-important asshole reminding you to consider the environment before printing this email.



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