FLAT VIEWING: 11am, Monday – The ideal moment, I thought, to steal my future sub-letter’s heart. Everyone will be at work; I’ll go in, exchange pleasantries, eat a Snickers.. Deposit. BOOM!
Before I’d come within a 50 yard radius of the place I knew it wasn’t to be.
10, maybe 15 sour-faced individuals perambulating the pavement outside our mutually-regarded ‘dream flat’ awaiting further instructions.
Eye contact was brief, pained smiles were offered, occasionally (and when ABSOLUTELY necessary). You could cut the tension with an ISDN line!
I remember thinking: Does it have to be this way?.. Where’s the camaraderie?
We’re all going through the same shit!.. Like hoax ads where the ‘apartment’
is ready for ‘you’ but the ‘keys’ need to be Fed ex’d from Outer Mongolia, cash transfer permitting. Or those confusing ones where the toilet is located in the kitchen, and the kitchen is located in the shower.
This apartment, however, seemed not only scam-proof, it also promised to be quite lovely. Fully functioning everything, balcony, high ceilings, wood floors etc. And seriously affordable to boot!
One guy buzzes us inside the compound and we all head for the stairwell. I break into a gentle jog. ‘Ja Genau’ I offer the existing tenant at the door. I have no idea what I’m saying but she seems pleased. I peer eagerly into the hall behind her – attempting to stay ahead of curve – only to discover a further 15 or so gawping punters! It’s a fucking free-for-all!, I thought. Every man for himself. Everyone with their own agenda.
To my left a glowing bohemian couple stood politely fingering the spines of classic Neil Young records. In the kitchen a leather-clad Stephen Dorff look-a-like sat chain smoking and tucking into a bowl of cereal, simultaneously!.
Assuming he lived there too, I asked him whether he planned on leaving some of the crockery, pans etc. ‘No’ he said, exhaling. ‘I’m from W G’..
For a split second I imagined us all in a Tarantino-style showdown. Shouting expletives at each other with guns cocked and pointed..
I didn’t get the flat…. and I’m pretty sure Stephen Dorff didn’t either.