The Bungle Years: Good apartment hunting

In the five years since I have graduated from high school, I have had 27 roommates in 12 different apartments in six states. I have seen my share of rotten food, empty toilet paper rolls, and pairs of dirty underwear on the living room floor that nobody is willing to claim. Needless to say, after five years, I was ready to move on to a better living scenario.

Getting a better roommate was simple. I just got married. She’s like my old roommates, except the hairs she leaves in the sink are much longer. (Just kidding, sweetie! I love you and your long hairs.)

Finding better living quarters, though, was much harder than I thought it would be. Much of the last five years for me was spent living in college dorms.

I naively thought, “I sleep on a small twin-sized bed. I share the bathroom with 19 other guys, and I cook every single meal I eat in the microwave that I have to hide under my bed, because I am not allowed to have one. There couldn’t possibly be worse living conditions than this.”

I was wrong.

When you go to look at an apartment, the landlord always takes you on a tour of the location to show you why his or her property would “be just perfect for a young couple like you.” Throughout the entire tour, the landlord will keep this all too perfect, frozen smile on his or her face that seems to say, “I hope you can’t see through my bullcrap.”

Some of the apartments we looked at were in the weirdest locations. People have a little extra space in the back of their closet, and they think to themselves, “Hey, why not rent this out to college students?”

It happens all of the time. You read an ad in the paper or online for a “cozy two-bedroom apartment with a great view!” But when you get there, they say, “Now, if you will just climb through this hole in the wall, it will lead to the opening where we keep an apartment.” As far as the view goes, they usually say, “Now, if you look straight up, you can see the top of the mountains!”

“Honey, let’s take it! There is no other apartment in town where you can see the upper half of a mountain.” Oh, wait, double-check that. Actually, you can see the mountains from everywhere, because it’s Utah!

Then you have the apartments that offer everything and nothing at the same time.

“We have a world-class exercise room and a year-round swimming pool. Best of all, every room comes with a telescope and a lookout pad, which provide world-class stargazing on clear nights.”

“Wow, that sounds amazing,” we say to our tour guide. “But where are we supposed to take out our garbage?”

“There’s a Chinese restaurant right across the street that doesn’t lock its Dumpsters at night. You could take it over there when nobody’s around.”

Luckily, we did end up finding a fairly nice apartment within our limited budget. It’s not perfect, but it’s right for us. I am glad we found it, and I am glad my wife is my roommate. The best part of having her as a roommate is there is no denying who the dirty underwear on the living room floor belongs to.