bunt sign

March 28, 2000

Now that I've seen what a rental application looks like, I'm not nearly as optimistic about my chances of moving as I was yesterday. It's obvious to me that I don't make enough money to live in a nice place. On my salary, all I deserve is a refrigerator box under the freeway. (And damned lucky to have it, too.)

This application is worse than a job interview, because you have to sell yourself, let them review your whole life, instead of just convincing them you can do the work. The process exposes your inadequacies, first to yourself and then (if you let it go any further) to the rest of the world. I mean, they asked for one lousy personal reference, and I couldn't think of a single person who wouldn't have to lie. It might be better to quit now, before I totally humiliate myself.

Nevertheless, I did look at a place today. At least, I walked past it. There was supposed to be a showing by the rental agency, but there was no one around. From the outside, it looked solid, maybe not quite big enough to hold two bedrooms and an office, as advertised. The yard seemed on the small side, which appeals to the lazy gardener in me, but I'm looking to branch out in that area. These spring days make it apparent to me that the Home Office is inadequate in that respect. I don't want to spend all my time doing yard work, but I'm willing to devote enough effort to give me a place to relax when the weather permits.

So maybe this house wasn't going to be the paradise I'm seeking after all. That's part of my problem. I go overboard with enthusiasm every time I even hear about something that might be available, and it becomes the end of the rainbow. Then I chuck it all at the first indication of imperfection. I'm the guy who tears up his ticket before the results are official.

On the positive side, this place I walked by today is close enough to where I am now that I wouldn't have to change post office boxes.

I'm not sure why I bother hoping to find the ideal answer to my problems, since the rent is likely to be out of my range. If I could get the Boss to pay half, I could swing it, but I think he wants me for as cheaply as he's getting me now. Half of my house is tied up with the Company's stuff, and he's paying nothing. If I bring this up, even obliquely, he reminds me that I don't have to commute, as if that were a fair tradeoff.

So before the whole thing drags me down, I have to lower my expectations. I can't let myself believe it's going to happen. Maybe the place in the country that I'm looking at this weekend will work out. If not, I can keep on looking. But I haven't divined any omen that tells me I won't still be right here mucking through the same sludge another ten years down the road.

Today was a black hole as far as getting anything done. I ran some errands on the way home from the dentist this morning, so I guess that counts for something. I went into Best Buy and almost bought the digital camera I've been drooling over for months. I don't think I can hold out much longer on that one. Sometimes spending money I don't have is the only way to counter the depressive side of my personality. I need a new toy! Need it, need it, need it!

I did stop at Crown and get myself another cookbook. I'm always looking for easy recipes with clear instructions that even I can follow. It helps if they use ingredients that I already have, and not too many of them at that. I picked this book by the title: Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen.

As and added treat, I also picked up another HTML book, one for grownups. This one is a reference text that goes beyond the "teach-yourself-to-code-in-two-hours" workbooks. I spent eight weeks studying one of those and only got through half of it.

No gardening books yet, though.

And no new toys. Then I spent the rest of the day beating myself up over my future housing prospects. Concentration eluded me. I couldn't focus on any task long enough to complete it. Unknown forces were sucking the brain out of my head, like a McDonald's shake through a flat straw.

Writing about it helps. It may not help anyone else, but it helps me put things back into perspective. Words on a page don't have quite the inscrutable mystique of the random thoughts misfiring in my mind. I can pick apart my own arguments and find the holes. Can't fill them yet, but I can find them.

As full of mawkish self-pity as this entry is, it was much worse before I edited it. You're welcome.

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