When we were looking for a place to live, we looked at a lot of places, we went through a couple realtors, and we were probably a huge pain in the ass. (snort, probably…) The final weeks of our search brought us to the Hancock park area in the duplex region. The prettiest place had the awkward appeal of having the owners living right above us. I was not keen on having the social anxiety of a landlord above me at all times, judging me. So, even though we loved the actual place, and the price, we kept looking. The next duplex we saw was smaller and not as awesome and not conveniently located to Campanile (my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles next to the Polo Lounge, but I’m not about to move to Beverly Hills), and I started to realize the owner operated duplex was going to be the best place we would see. So we called our realtor and she told us that the owners were in the final stages of negotiations with another family.
Let me pause just a second to tell you how not to raise your children. Don’t tell them that the only acceptable grade is an A. Don’t tell them that a B might as well be a failing grade. You will have children that grow up crazy. Like me. Who believe they must always win, no matter what the game is. Even if the game is beating a perfectly nice family out of a fine duplex wherein the owners live upstairs.
So, I flipped out while Seth was calmly talking to our (completely batshit crazy, but totally driven) realtor. I’m not exactly proud of this, but working in an industry that doesn’t exactly frown on flip outs (in fact it tends to reward them…) I might have yelled some things. Loudly. Like, “What the fuck is she doing? This is fucking ridiculous! She royally FUCKED us!” It was very “Tamara of 2002.” Anywhoo… Like I said, not proud, but I was now in some kind of insane competition mode with someone I had never met and saw my future laid out in weekends of aimless apartment hunting all over Los Angeles and I just couldn’t take it. Our realtor hung up and I started to cry. Seth told me that our realtor said we should just go over there and talk to the owners. I was in no mood to sweet talk, but Seth, being smart and realty savvy, said we were going.
So we went. And we had a delightful conversation with our soon to be landlords. They basically told us they wanted us and that the place was ours if our realtor didn’t fuck up the next three steps. Which at this point, in my mind, was questionable. But she did it! And we moved in! And I still cannot believe how much closet space we have, how our garage isn’t falling down, and that Seth is still dragging around motorcycle parts for his vintage Ducati that he never rides.
The day we moved in, our lovely landlady came down and told us that their 20-ish year old son had just moved home and that we shouldn’t be surprised if we saw him lurking around the back yard being weird. She didn’t say that last part, but when she introduced him to me, and I formed my initial impression of him, it was that he was a weird lurker. I guess because he has bad posture? Or because he was wearing gym shorts?
Anyway, cut to last week, I was walking out our back door when I heard a shril girlish squeal and a series of thumps and giggles that could only be described as “Girl Descending a Staircase on Her Ass.” And a pack of Marlboro reds came tumbling into our part of the yard. I picked up the cigarettes and as I called out, “Dude, are you ok?” I heard him asking the same thing, “Are you ok?” And I looked up and saw a 19-ish year old girl on her ass half way down the stairs, looking freshly fucked and very embarassed. She giggled and pulled her skirt down as she stood up. I handed the cigarettes to our landlord’s son and said, “Everyone survive that?” The son said “yeah”, and lumbered down the stairs as I scurried to my car to avoid any other discussion of what I had just seen.
The upstairs is identical to to the downstairs, so I know those bedrooms are really close together, and I cannot imagine being a 20 year old dude bringing a girlfriend home to fuck while my parents watched TV next door. But I do love how awkward this all is. It makes me so uncomfortable, which makes me so happy, because, I am nothing if not inspired by awkwardly social situations.