I was one of this starry-eyed bunch, and, as you can imagine, the reality turned out to be not all that idyllic. For starters there is the issue of the landlord being an utter madman (is this starting to sound like the plot of a TV-show? because it kind of feels like it half the time), who, near the end of the construction phase, managed to piss off every single one of his contractors and then decided it would be a good idea to finish the second floors of the houses by himself.
It wouldn't be though.
By the time we finally got the group together (which proved quite a challenge on its own) it had become clear that none of the houses would be finished by the time we had arranged to move in. Our countermove as a group was to refuse to sign a lease before the promised second floors would be habitable and all of the houses would be painted as promised. This would allow us to pay a little less rent, because the homes we got were only about 2/3 of what they were on paper. This seemed like a solid plan at the time. Little did we know this meant we would be living on a permanent construction site for the next 10 months, completely at the whim of a deranged creep whom we still thought was just 'eccentric' back then. Hell, we even went along with it when he asked if he could spend the night on the days he would be working in the houses, because, we thought, why not?
Some of the reasons "why not" would become clear quite early on, when on multiple occasions he was found standing in the open doorways of sleeping women's bedrooms, leering at them. Or when he forced one of them to kiss him. Or when, after the patience of each and every one of his idealistic tenants had worn thin and the privilege to stay the night had been retracted, he stated that there would be a very good case to make for us reimbursing his train fare, because now he would have to go home at night.
None of us have managed to deter him in any way from showing up whenever he pleases, using his own keys to enter (which, yes, is breaking and entering, but we don't have a lease -hey, remember when we thought that was so clever?) slithering around the houses like the glib little eel he is, doing preposterously little work (while what little "work" he does looks like the above photograph), making inappropriate comments at the women and being discovered sitting at my neighbour's kitchen table at 7 in the morning, reading a fucking book.
I can actually hear him creeping around in the hallway as I type this, apparently under the pretence of trying to fix what he did to the wall when he tried to paint it...
|That wall was newly plastered and perfectly flat before he started. Also see how he tried to "sweep" up all his spilled paint using a broom. A broom. I actually have pictures of him doing this but am afraid it might be illegal to post them on the internet.|
Of course I might be able to laugh all this off as some of my neighbours do (the ones who haven't yet fled the scene) if it wasn't that me and my roommates couldn't possibly be any more mismatched, and that is me being incredibly fucking diplomatic here. If it wasn't that I've learned in the past year just how much I need a safe and fairly predictable place to call home and this place is not that. And if it wasn't that it turns out that I am, at 34, a whole lot more materialistic than 16 year old me would have found acceptable, and that no matter how much I would like to be the type of person who is "just chill" with all of their stuff being broken or accidentally eaten and having drunk people in their backyard at two a.m. yelling "Fuck yououou! FUCK YOUOUOU!!!" at the night sky, I just can't will myself into being that person.
There is also the matter of skeletons falling out of the closet on a weekly basis, like when I discovered after putting in 30m² of flooring by myself (because things would have been so much easier if we had all just chipped in and done at least the paint job ourselves, instead of handing the reins to Creepy McLurk) that our basement actually isn't flood-proof as promised, because the contractor who built these houses is an even bigger con man than or landlord is.
Most of all I am just done. I have been for a long time now, which is why I am finally moving out this weekend into a house I can't afford (even less now because as it turns out, when the time came to make the extra hours I've been working into a permanent thing, my boss preferred to give them to a girl who's been working there for all of a year) but if being poor again is what it takes to finally get out of this place, then that's what I will have to deal with.
If I haven't written any New Year's posts, it is partly because of all of the above, and partly because my new year officially starts this weekend. It isn't a moment too soon, because while the first couple of weeks after I found the new place I've felt like Indiana Jones fleeing a collapsing temple, praying to make it out in time for one last quick snatch of a hat, the state I am in lately is more like that thing cats do when they are tired of you chasing them and can't see a way to escape, so they just press themselves against the floor and hope for the best. Or maybe it's just my ex's cat who does that.
It was the work thing that made me finally snap, and made me quickly spiral into my current stage of depression, which is the one where I'm paranoid to even talk to people because I am afraid I will accidentally say something that will make them find out that I'm really a terrible person because I can't trust myself when I'm like this. I probably shouldn't be writing posts right now.
But if anyone is going to understand how I feel, it is the assorted bunch of misfits that are trying to hide away in the internet this very moment as they battle their own versions of winter depression. We all know the drill by now. We've been there before, and we know we can survive, and how to deploy every spare ounce of energy left to battle the black dog. We know we will get out of this, and come out stronger on the other side. We know exactly what we have to do to get there. And when there's nothing else left, it's this knowledge that will bring us home. So this is written as a reminder to you as much as it is to me.
We will make it home.