March 23, 2004

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day

So, I’ve begun scouring the real estate listings, trying to get a feel for price ranges and what neighborhoods I might want to live in. At first I turned to real estates agent’s sites, but most of those seemed attuned to the needs of the buyer rather than the renter (or letter. lettee?). Finally I stumbled onto, which claims to be Ireland's biggest property site. They also have message boards, a fairly common feature, but one implemented a bit unusually on their site. Occasionally you stumble across someone asking a fairly simple moving related query, but mostly they seem to be thoroughly taken over with vociferous and ill-informed discussions of social policy, musings on why the board members can’t get a date --- apparently, it’s because all Irish women are slags, according to several commentators --- offers to sell Duran Duran tickets, and the tirades of several resident trolls, some Irish anti-Europe, some Other anti-Irish. It’s as if they allowed all the people scouring the Village Voice classifieds on Monday midnight to sit slumped in the same bar, drunk, while they did so. Ah, I thought, here are my people.

The ads themselves have an amateurish, fly-by-night quality; that is, while some of them partake generously of the real estate jargon meant to create a tempting vision in three acronyms or less --- “HWd. Fl.” “Ex. Brk.” “Blcny” “Yd. Acc.” --- most were mere statements of fact and a few were just a price, a sparse selection of amenities ticked off a list, and, always, a phone number. “You want it? Come and get it,” they seemed to say.

I’m mildly apprehensive about the fact that so many of them checked off “Microwave” as an amenity. In New York, even the scummiest slums have stoves with ovens --- hey, how else you gonna warm the house when the landlord cuts the heat in the middle of January? --- a stove and running water are the minimum necessities to rent a place as an apartment under the city code, before even a refrigerator. (Though that’s pretty much de rigueur too.) In Ireland, I know, the swingin’ bachelor(ette) pad is an idea whose time has fairly recently come; in the 60s and 70s students and other young singles often stayed in bed-sits, which are like a cross between a dorm room and a B-n-B, as near as I can make out. Something along the lines of a boarding house, a concept so old school over here I believe I first heard tell of one while reading Steinbeck. With the economic revival and the housing boom, people my age have begun moving out of their parent’s homes in droves, which means a lot of the bed sits have been renovated, but I’m beginning to get the feeling renovated means installing a private European-style bath (Take phonebooth. Slice in half. Attach to wall. Install showerhead.) and buying a microwave.

I am conflicted. I really like to cook, but I’m not sure how much that’s worth to me --- doubling my rent and halving the time I have to find a job is not a step I want to take. Coming home every night to stare sullenly into the gamma radiation as my frozen burrito rotates on its axis, its doughy, gamy self somehow coming to embody the lonely Existential degradation of my life in a very black and white student film kind of a way is not a future I want to contemplate.

Posted by Diablevert at March 23, 2004 01:04 PM

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