ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 203: Phone Calls and Showings
I live in a seventh-floor condo and also own a 220 square foot studio condo on the first floor of my eight-story building. My lessee has just moved out, so I’m looking for a new lessee.
Lots of people call about the studio, attracted by its relatively low rent — which includes utilities — but I know to ask a lot of questions before I agree to a showing.
“It’s one room — no kitchen — one closet, a bathroom with shower — no tub — and you want to bring in a George Foreman cooker? No, that won’t work,” I tell one caller.
“No, this space will not accommodate a queen-sized bed,” I tell another.
“No, a Lazy-Boy lounger is too big for the room,” I tell a third caller.
Three different guys fill out applications. One’s in his fifties, with a watermelon stomach. Is he a drinker? Another, almost thirty and with a credit-history problem, has a young son who’d visit him on weekends. The third man is retired from the Army and makes, he says, five thousand dollars a month. If that’s true, the rent is only ten percent of his income. Why isn’t he looking for something bigger and better?
A mother calls for her daughter. “We live in Oregon, but Anya’s heading into a three-year program in speech pathology in your city. This sounds ideal for her. She’s also a runner and likes that the studio is near a park.”
“Ask her to call me,” I say.
Anya calls. I tell her the dimensions of the room.
“I don’t have much,” she says. “I just have to decide whether that’s big enough for me. I’m considering another studio, with a kitchen, but it’s farther from the park.”
“Where is it?” I ask.
She tells me.
“I know the complex you’re looking at. It’s only two blocks from shops and the grocery, but it is farther from the park. Still, you’d find places to run.”
“I’ll call you back either tonight or tomorrow,” she says.
I head to the park myself. I think Anya’s a good prospect. I also think there’s a fifty-fifty chance she’ll take it, but if she doesn’t, so be it. Eventually I’ll hear the voice I want to hear.
I come in from my walk. Anya’s left a message: she’s sending the security deposit and first month’s rent, and she plans to move in the tenth of August.
She hasn’t seen the studio, and I haven’t met her . . . but I think this will work out.