le Chateau Oh No . . .

19 Feb

Tired of the one hour commute to work every morning, I recently realized that a move to Dallas might be long overdue, and spent an entire Saturday morning with Bing driving around various Uptown neighborhoods. I called various apartment houses and left countless messages; perhaps the housing slump has also caused landlord lethargy, because very few returned my call.

So hopeful I felt, then, when Todd of Le Chateau rang me and quoted an unbelievable rate. Because I had driven by so many properties, I couldn’t accurately remember his, but it was only a short distance from the office, so I thought it worthy of a look during my lunch break.

I pulled up to a building circa 1950, which might have been labeled charming had the lawn not been drier than El Paso; I assured myself, however, that this was due to the winter chill, and anxiously walked up the sidewalk into the office.

Oh, how I wanted to turn around at that very moment! The office was circa 1970; not a charming era for office furniture – a giant brown metal desk, three maroon metal filing cabinets, and three green pleather chairs. Todd greeted me from behind the desk where he was enjoying a Marlboro Red over a faux gold-plated ashtray filled to the brim with approximately three decades of cigarettes.

Hello darling. You must be Anika. I’m soooo glad you’re here.”
Todd was definately gay, but in his polyester brown pants and stained white undershirt he was definately not fabulous.
“Let me give you the grand tour,” he said with the accompanying arm gestures of a conductor finishing Mozart’s Requiem Mass.

Polite I was, and obliged Todd in his delusional debut as Robin Leach.
“Isn’t this stairwell just fabulous,” he mused as we creaked up faded red-carpeted stairs and hallways permeating with the scent of mildew.

“It’s Apartment W – for wonderful!” he continued as he opened up an apartment the size of a closet in Paris.

And there it was – approximately 450 square feet of never-vacuumed dark brown carpet, accompanying dark brown cabinets, walls of peeling paint with exposed outlets, and the single window overlooking the even more decrepit laundry center. PETA wouldn’t have allowed an animal to live in such dire conditions, though the previous owner was obviously an animal lover, the evidence clearly left behind.

“Oh, Chuck had 7 bunnies living in here. Ha. He was such a funny bunny himself,” Todd bragged.
“Oh.” I said.
Soooo. . . what do you think?”
I suppose he could tell I didn’t think much, because on the spot he approved me, offered me a month of free rent, and waved the deposit.

“I’ll have to think about it . . .” I began when I was interrupted from the tenant in Apt. R – Stan, who was wearing an very old postal uniform; but he was too young to be retired, and the uniform was too old to be worn by present postmen. Clearly, he liked to hang out in postal uniforms.

“That’s Stan. Now, he rents a cabana, and he’s been in it for three years.”
“What’s a cabana,” I queried.
“Oh, it’s just a fabulous little room. But there’s no kitchen.”
“Well . . . how does Stan cook?”
“Oh, he has a hot plate. It’s swell. We can look at the cabana if you like.”

A hot plate! For three years Stan has hung out in postal uniforms cooking dinners on a hot plate!

“No, well, I don’t think I’m interested in the cabana.”

I wasn’t interested in any room in le Chateau – at best it reminds me of a place where an opium addict in a Poe story might reside. So naturally, I lied. I took the application, said I’d think about it, and walked very quickly to my car, never again to darken the shadows of le Chateau.

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7 Responses to “le Chateau Oh No . . .”

  1. punchlinewalking February 20, 2008 at 4:06 PM #

    That’s hilarious! A cabana?! Please.

  2. Anonymous February 20, 2008 at 5:59 PM #

    So funny that you compared “Todd” to “Robin Leach”! I actually used to watch that show!

  3. Noelle February 21, 2008 at 8:16 PM #

    That is very funny. There comes a time in every grown up’s life where it is not okay to rent a home that requires a hot plate.

  4. Zee February 22, 2008 at 2:42 AM #

    So you saw my building! Ok, not MY building, but one that has some remarkable similarities, baring the cabana. Good luck with the apartment search! I know how tough it is.

  5. opehlia February 22, 2008 at 2:48 AM #

    I am sure that a cardboard box would work better than the ‘cabana’. Or you could always live out of your car. Or better yet, just bring a sleeping bag and a toothbrush to work and live in your cubicle.
    Don’t despair…you will find something.

  6. Kristen February 28, 2008 at 10:54 PM #

    I have a hot plate you can borrow.

  7. Donna March 21, 2008 at 4:31 AM #

    That just sounds scary…. I think I’ll stay on the Ft. Worth side. 🙂

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