Robin-Lee

It's up for debate

The Never-Ending Apartment Story

with 4 comments

Do you remember the 1984 mind-blowing fantasy The NeverEnding Story? A bullied teen escapes to a world in which he transforms into an adventurer and hero and gets around on a giant, white, dog-like dragon, Falkor (whose name incidentally is a rough transliteration of the Japanese word for “lucky dragon”).

According to IMDB, the production studio built a “43-foot long motorized creature with 6,000 plastic scales and pink feather-fur” with a head three feet tall and long to create the legendary creature.

My tie-in for this anecdote is that I also ride a hefty steed and am on an adventure, only my means of travel is an immensely heavy mountain bike and my quest is not in fantasy but in realty.

Surprise photo of me in the basement room

Surprise photo of me in the basement room

And finding an apartment in Delaware County has been no easy feat. At the time of writing this, I’m still holed up in basement of a house in Ridley Park by the good graces of my sister’s boyfriend, who is just delighted to have me and has no qualms with my presence here whatsoever.

Upon arriving here about a month ago and exploring the vast outer area of Philadelphia in the meantime, I’ve been shocked to find that shitholes are now going for the rate of one of Beyoncé’s eye lashes. Or about the price Strong Bad paid for his new Compé.

Today, I had the pleasure of meeting yet another realtor, whose name I won’t divulge out of respect for privacy and, moreso, poor memory. Crump, as we’ll affectionately call him, arrived in fashionable shorts and a protruding t-shirt under which I image he was keeping his other properties.

He curtly beckoned me inside and told me to wait if I wanted and as if though I had a choice, leaving me for some minutes in a dingy lobby with a mirror plastered with images of the current Pope. During my wait, two tenants came through, one who ignored me completely and the other who looked horrified when I said hello.

Landlord Crump (a portmanteau of a crappy Trump), who will undoubtedly demand my ride as apartment deposit fee

Landlord Crump (a portmanteau of a crappy Trump), who will undoubtedly demand my ride as apartment deposit fee

Down the corridor, I heard Crump pound on a door and, in response, a vicious snarling of a German Shepherd and a sudden wild ranting from a human within.

Crump: “Where’s the key, man? You got my key.”
Human within: “WHAT KEY? I DON’T GOT NO KEY. KEY? KEY FOR WHAT? I GOT NO KEY, MAN.”
German Shepherd: (translated) KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL

This went on for a little as I admired the landlord’s taste in carpet — dark gray or red or mauve or carnival throw-up, accentuated by musk of tobacco and socially awkward, single men with shifty eyes.

The ranting human with snarling dog indeed had no key, so the landlord decided to show me how marvelously the basement laundry room could be the setting for a paranormal horror film. After 10 seconds, with still no key, Crump wordless- and signalessly took me to see the unit for rent, very much unconcerned whether I was even following him up the much-too-soft/sinky carpeted stairs (also not without the lovely pungency of a small-town bowling alley).

Crump studied the door, perhaps considering a shoulder thrust but then thinking about what his prospective tenant — wait, did he follow me? Oh, yeah, he’s here — might think. He chanced feeling above the door sill for a key, and, voila, there was one! Ah, but it didn’t fit either lock. Mysterious key was placed back on top of door sill.

Then, a light bulb came on — not in the hallway, where about 96% were merely just decoration at this point — and Crump got out an old and warped Lowe’s credit card and jimmied the door open. I remarked dryly something about security, to which Crump wittingly retorted that he was “just really good at doing this sort of thing”.

Now impressed by my landlord’s obvious and demonstrated credentials, I stepped into the studio, as it were, and tried out the room I’d hesitatingly call “home” in a place I called “definitely one year but we’ll see” working at a job where I’m seen as “figuring out what I’m doing”.

I observed the bathroom, commonplace minus the claw marks in the sink, as though someone was trying to get out through the piping, or, better yet, something trying to get in. The refrigerator stood in the middle of the room, not usually where I’d have a refrigerator, a comment to which Crump responded by pushing it into the kitchenette area; as he did so, liquid poured out from the bottom into the brown/tan/calico unusually already moist carpeting.

“Ah, just water,” he said, opening the fridge door. “Ah…that’s going to be fun to clean up.”

Whether he meant himself or me, our tour had come to an end. We talked shop: credit check and application fee of $35, rent with utilities included at $700, laundry wash and dry combined at $3.75, and surrender of dignity and possibility of “bringing someone back to my place” at the low, low price of getting out of Ridley Park and away from sister’s boyfriend, which approximately balances out to zero.

Another surprise photo of me bringing someone back to my place

Another surprise photo of me bringing someone back to my place

In this tender little vignette, my horse, as it were — my light, aspiration, hope, and whatever the hell Artax stands for — has already sunk in the mire of the Swamp of Sadness. In fact, I took the application form and have the $35 ready to go for tomorrow.

My tale isn’t as heart-wrenching as the loss of that gorgeous horse, but it’s been too long and annoyingly tiresome. The other day, I spoke with a girl who wasn’t sure she was even selling an apartment, nor was I sure she had ever spoken to a human before. Another potential housemate seemed a little too keen on spending (all the) time with me, while another posting turned out to be a sex ad. Mind you, I’d live rent-free so long as I was willing to be a “female in a 24/7 Dominate/submissive (D = Me, s = You) lifestyle.”

Oh, Delco, you spoil me with an abundance of choices.

Until tomorrow, I remain in The Nothing, living the lie, as Gmork would have it. Luck-be-a-lady or Crump-be-a-landlord, I’m still having some interesting (mis)adventures, and that’s really been my only quest to begin with anyway.

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Written by Robin Lee Dunlap

June 18, 2015 at 5:47 am

4 Responses

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  1. […] when did landlords need not try to sell their properties and assume a soft-spoken, single, non-threatening white boy […]

  2. […] current job in horticulture in Drexel Hill when I lived, utterly unemployed, in the basement of my sister’s boyfriend’s apartment further down in Delaware County in Ridley Park. Just next door lied the John Heinz National […]

  3. […] current job in horticulture in Drexel Hill when I lived, utterly unemployed, in the basement of my sister’s boyfriend’s apartment further down in Delaware County in Ridley Park. Just next door lied the John Heinz National […]

  4. […] over, and, similar to my frustrating, seemingly endless hunt for an apartment (moving out of my current one soon, by the way), job hunting has been just as adventurous and […]


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