A meander on renting
I am a renter now. I guess technically before the move to NY, I was a squatter, since my name was not on the documents for the condo. I was assured that I could take Brad to the cleaners in case of a divorce, though (ahem. heh heh.), so I counted myself alongside him as a homeowner.
The condo’s now someone else’s problem, and I live a house owned by the university where Brad now works (wow, he has been keeping a roof over my head a long time, eh?). Last night the oven began to spark and hiss, clearly expressing a desire to burn the house down. So I turned it off, and we told the facilities folks that the element seemed to have gone out.
Aaaaaaaand now there’s a brand new range in the kitchen. I was expecting just a new element, but the head of maintenance said nope, it needed to be replaced (he had a reason — let’s not rail about wasted government spending, okay?) Being fresh from responsibility-for-buying-expensive-appliances, this is shocking to me — pleasantly so. Why, even based on my past renting experiences, this is surprising.
I’ve never rented anyplace not owned by someone either bordering on sleazy or right in the middle of sleaze with both feet. I have had a range replaced once before by a landlord. Alan Parsons was more of a slumlord than the State of New York (but he’s funnier and less nearly bankrupt. He definitely has a more amusing name.) The old oven seemed to leak gas. He showed up a week or two after I told him that with an at-least-equally-old range to use as a replacement; he hooked it up in a loosey-goosey sort of way. That gas connection sort of worried me, but I survived, so I suppose he knew what he was doing. Well, either he knew or the semi-homeless guy Ken who lived behind the apartment in one of the garages and did Alan’s handyman work around his numerous slummy properties, knew.
After I moved out I realized that Alan hired homeless and semi-homeless people for all his maintenance. Which meant that some portion of Salt Lake’s homeless population had keys to my apartment. Yay for giving Brian David Mitchell your keys! (I have no proof). Fortunately, I liked Ken a lot. He had my back.
All the same, I was happy not to have learned about that until I had moved to an RV trailer way up in the Uintas, which was my next home after Alan’s place. I’m not sure that thing even had a lock, so the news freaked me out maybe less than might be expected. No repairs were needed on the trailer, that I remember, just a willingness to live in considerably tight and slightly musty/dusty quarters. With a rotation of random Forest Service volunteers. And an exchange of labor — I gill-netted lovely trout out of a high mountain lake and chainsawed sodden logs out of a high mountain stream with a ill-advised lack of safety precautions. So my labor was sort of my rent and my totally safety-negligent boss was my landlord (okay, the State of Utah was my landlord. Come to think of it, maybe I’ll start referring to my new landlord as “The Great State of New York” because the new landlord seems to care whether or not I die in a fire, whereas the old landlord was pretty unconcerned about the likelihood of cutting my own legs off.)
What, you want a conclusion?