19 September 2011

Homelessness

My latest hiatus was a bit longer than expected I'm afraid. My life is in transit and it has been pretty difficult to find the time to sit and write something a little bit interesting.

So to London I've come to be a grown-up. I've been finding myself a job and a flat and a general pattern of life that doesn't give me a panic attack each day. So far success has been found on two of the three. Finding somewhere to live has been more difficult than I thought. See I've done the whole house-hunting thing before in Florida and now I'm doing it here in the UK. Now, I've noticed some quirky differences between here and there; some basic anthropological observations, if you will. (You probably shouldn't)

Randy Glasbergen

First, there's the adverts. UK has gumtree and US has craigslist. They are essentially the same thing with slightly different formats. I prefer craigslist only because it is simpler and I get easily distracted by fancy colours and shapes. Give me white squares please. But format is not what I'm getting at! It is content! The content of the ads is so hilariously different. In the US the emphasis is on the property: exact location, square footage, when it was built, who maintains it, full specs on kitchens/bathrooms/windows/walls/ceilings. Ok, maybe that many people don't talk about their ceilings, but you get the point.

In the UK it seems adverts are mostly unconcerned with the property itself. You get a general area (Clapham), a general size (spacious), a general feeling (bright), and that's about it. For all you know, a bright, spacious place in Clapham could be a picnic blanket on the commons. The priority is on the people. You can find out a hell of a lot about potential flatmates from an advert on gumtree; how old they are, where they were born, what they do for a living, what they do on weekends, their favourite beer, their favourite food, preference for pets, cleanliness habits, and often much much more! I may be wrong, but if you asked an American advertising a flat for their date of birth and nationality you would probably get reported for identity theft.

Then, once you get past the adverts there is the matter of viewings. In the US you are urged to look at all the physical attributes that were spelled out in the ad. "Observe the excessive square footage of this room", "Take a look at this shiny silver fridge", "Notice the perfectly smooth dry wall." Yeah, I've always dreamed of a really good dry wall. Then the questions: "What is your credit score?", "What is your income?", "How soon can you bring the deposit?" The flat goes to the first person to arrive with cash in hand. Money money money.

In the UK, or at least in London, it goes something more like this: "Don't worry about that hole in the floor, the landlord is getting around to fixing it", "No, that isn't mould. I don't know what it is but it is NOT mould!" Ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. Then the questions: What do you do? Where are you from? Do you eat? Do you drink? Do you cook? Favourite band? Favourite film? The flat goes to whomever is deemed the "coolest" potential housemate. Must! enhance! social life!

Conclusion: both ways suck. Really, I do prefer the Brit-way but it is so much pressure. I've got to prove that I can be your friend? I'm not very good at making friends. This may or may not have something to do with the negativity and the sarcasm. How am I meant to convince you in 20 mins that I'm going to be more fun to live with than the next guy? It's hard!



1 comment:

  1. lol this is so true! I know people who judged potential flatmates in London on which paper they read. The Financial Times? Boring, works too hard and doesn't know how to have fun. NEXT!

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