I lasted about half a year in my apartment in Mekor Chaim before I would admit to myself that I had to move. It took another 2 months before I could find another place (that was clean and would be ok with a large, temperamental feline, preferably not too far from where I was living, though that was more flexible). I was trying to be a bit more discerning this time around, since I had the luxury of not needing to move immediately.
I went to see an apartment that fitted my not very many requirements (in my opinion anyway) and after a half hour conversation and seeing out another, fairly irritating candidate who had come to see the apartment, the woman offered me the place. It was about 10 minutes away from where I was already living, but closer to work, my gym, and my preferred supermarket, while still being in walking distance of the Aroma at the Hadar mall. I had basically mapped out all potential locations based on their proximity to providers of that revered bean of mystical powers.
All I had to do was inform my roommates that I was moving in a month and find a subletter. Telling them was the easy part. I plied them with alcohol, and then made my announcement. They were both very surprised. Apparently they had been under the impression that I enjoy coming home to the loud thumping of techno music, of doing all the cleaning or giving up and living in filth, of being prevented from going to sleep at night by a) loud phone conversations b) noise coming from their computers c) the previously mentioned techno music, and being woken up in the morning by a) loud phone conversations b) loud music, though not necessarily techno c) alarms that don’t get turned off because I’m the only one who hears them. It would seem that these things only bothered me.
Finding a subletter for 3 months seemed like a mighty tall order. Finding someone who could put up with the mess, and didn’t mind that the living room shades were broken, or that there was no working oven or microwave and that the only way to heat anything up would be to put it in a frying pan or wait for a really hot day. Or that the roommates were 40 year old guys with peculiar sleeping habits and a penchant for spur of the moment parties. Other than that, the apartment was a steal. (And by that I mean I stole all the cleaning supplies when I left so they couldn’t clean even if they wanted to. I figured the chances that anyone would notice before next Pesach were about as slim as Johnny is fat. Considering they had to ask me where all the cleaning supplies in their apartment were during this year’s Pesach “cleaning”.)
Surprisingly, I actually did have a few responses. In fact, no one was more surprised than me, although I didn’t exactly elaborate too much on the particulars of the apartment. The first guy who was interested had just gotten back from India. Then half of Mike’s Place wanted to move in. I also got a response from a few younger girls in their early 20’s, a few people who wanted to sublet at different time periods than I had specified, and a nut job that I happen to know. We had 3 people come see the apartment and the recent divorcé that showed up with his daughter won out.
So I moved to the beautiful neighborhood of Katamonim. Just kidding, if Jerusalem had a “hood,” Katamonim would be it. It’s not exactly the wealthiest neighborhood, but on the plus side, property taxes are way lower. There has recently been an attempt at gentrifying the neighborhood, and a few luxury apartment buildings have gone up or are in the process of going up. I don’t live in one those buildings (that probably didn’t even need to be pointed out). I live in an apartment complex that got notices from the municipality that the amount of litter and garbage strewn about is in breach of city ordinances. To be fair we live right next to the Gonenim city park and much of the garbage is probably from park visitors. Probably. Either way, I have no plan to do anything about the situation.
When I moved in there was an old couch sitting outside the building. A few days later a wheelchair joined it. Then a shopping cart. Then a mattress and a plastic chair. I started giving people directions to my apartment by telling them it was just past the homeless guy’s pad. Then one day it was all gone, so I guess he moved on. This is also the kind of neighborhood where you hear all the neighbors’ arguments in the summer when the windows are open. And the neighbors are loud and prone to argument. Also, the neighborhood celebrations (comprising Mizrachi music blasting from speakers, children shrieking, the smell of burning meat, firecrackers, etc.) will let you know if you’ve forgotten that it’s a holiday. Or semi-holiday. Or almost a semi-holiday. Or just Tuesday.
The apartment itself is pretty nice and has obviously been renovated some time in the past 30 years. I was informed that a mouse had been spotted a few days before I moved in, but I figure Johnny’s got to work for his keep anyway. My options were an old apartment in a nicer neighborhood, or a nicer apartment in a less nice neighborhood. I guess it’s a bit of a toss up really- buckets in the living room when it rains or dead bodies in the yard (and yes, that happened. The poor kid that found it will probably be in therapy for the next few years).
Johnny seems to like it here too. He’s mellowed out quite a bit and almost never hisses or scratches anyone anymore. In fact it took him an entire 3 days to trash the place. This is how he shows his approval. It wasn’t really his fault though. It all started when he found a vase full of very tasty flowers on the living room table. He ate them all. Every single one. And then went back for more the next day, knocking everything off the table, breaking a wooden coaster in the process. I went though all of my stuff, most of which was still packed, looking for some kind of glue before my roommate got home. I finally found some superglue, but not being a frequent user of super glue (this will probably change living with Johnny), I didn’t realize how runny it is. I ended up supergluing myself to the bottle of glue, the coaster, and some newspaper. The only thing left to do was to text a friend with the one finger not attached to anything but my hand (incidentally I now have superglue on my phone as well) for help. The answer is no, acetone does not get superglue off of skin. Nor does vaseline. We tried both. In any case, my roommate doesn’t need to know about any of this. Hopefully she won’t notice the newspaper stuck to the bottom of her coaster.
I am also including a picture which explains why my parents have forbidden anyone from bringing them flowers. They had a similar incident with their two cats leading to a broken clock and a shattered vase. As they say, you can have plants or you can have cats. You can’t have both.