It’s interesting — I have to keep reminding myself that not everyone can see the traces of someone’s editing process in their writing like I can. And there’s some interesting things I notice…
For example, I got a reply to one of my Craigslist “housing wanted” ads yesterday. Someone who had actually read the ad — a rarity — and followed the instructions for contacting me. She mentioned that she had two rooms opening up (a bad sign for me, because it means moving in with one near-stranger and one complete stranger) and linked me to the ad she had up for the other, more expensive room. The room she was writing to me about was already at my maximum, and I’d be expected to additionally share the cost of utilities, which put it way out of my reach.
But the things that stood out to me were that even though she talked about herself first, it showed that she’d initially given her list of requirements first — in the “Me:” section were things like “I’m also a non-smoker, non-drinker, and vegan” for example, and other stuff that referenced the section down below about “You: must be (blah blah blah.)”
And in that section, she had things like “not a heavy drinker” and something about how “you recognize that housekeeping is a part of life” and how you’ll make sure the house “stays very tidy” and holy shit, the way she wrote it translated so clearly as “I’m an anal-retentive neat freak and likely a control freak as well” and then she ended that section by saying “bonus points” if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
She also mentioned in there that you “won’t have frequent overnight guests.” Okay, look — I really, really don’t understand the sex-hate and the slut-shaming around here. Whether in the (once-upon-a-time) Hippie Central of Berkeley or the supposed “Queer Capital” of San Francisco (though that’s becoming more Oakland these days) or anywhere in the “Gay Area” — the first thing I see is “no overnight guests.” Occasionally I’ll see something like this chick wrote, and it’s “no frequent overnight guests.” And it makes no fucking sense to me! Look, I get not wanting someone to “not quite move in” their significant other. I’ve lived with the Girl-Child and her Boy-Toy who “didn’t live there” — he just stayed over every single night, hung out there every single day, and made the water and gas bills triple in just the first month with all of the hour-long shower-sex sessions they were having. That sucks, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to be okay dealing with that. But having someone over two or three times a week? Someone who leaves in the morning, has minimal interaction with and minimal impact on anyone else living there? News flash: some people fuck. Some people aren’t ashamed of that. Some people don’t do monogamy. Some people don’t have a “steady partner” who has their own home and doesn’t care that “my place or yours” always has the same answer.
But remember, kids — sex is bad, mmkay? Even if it’s part of looking after and maintaining your health! Trying to explain that to people is often not worth the effort. Also — okay, you choose to eliminate a bunch of potential food sources from your dietary intake, as a matter of your overall health and well-being. I choose to give my body the foods that it needs for my overall health and well-being. But in the Bay Area there are more folks who selectively restrict their diets (and many more who have the financial luxury of being able to do so) than there are people like me — poor and not picky. But even if I were rich I wouldn’t try to harm myself that way. Finding housing with other omnivores is another headache on top of everything else.
So is finding housing without animals running around… I’m allergic to pets, and I don’t much like most of them anyway. I may play with your cat, as long as I can get away afterwards, and I’ll avoid your dog (yes, I’m sure she’s the sweetest little puppy in the whole wide world, and I don’t think she’s going to bite me. I’m not scared of her, just not fond of her. Really. Yes, I know that she licks my hands and face because she likes me. Should I lick your hands and face, too? Oh, yeah, that is kinda gross. Welcome to my world.) The times that I do find animal-free housing, it’s the folks who make everything to do with animals a political rallying point. And I can’t deal with cigarette smoke, either — finding smoke-free places often means also finding people who think that alcohol is a horrible, disgusting thing, that anyone who drinks is a moral failure and a worthless, unmotivated loser who just needs to find a purpose so they won’t need to lean on those drugs anymore. And look, I don’t care if you use pot, smoked or vaped or edible or whatever. I might have even encountered it myself at some point, and I don’t think I could claim it’s a bad thing at all — seems like (hypothetically, of course) it would be rather pleasant. But I can’t live with it, not in the same space I’m supposed to call home. Sure, come home high as fuck sometimes, I couldn’t give any less of a shit. Come home drunk, whatever — I certainly will sometimes! But most folks seem to expect that if you’re cool with one drug, you’re cool with them all, and in any amount, and at all times. Moderation or being selective isn’t possible, somehow… if you’re cool with booze, you’re obviously cool with weed and tobacco and who knows, maybe someone does a few lines when they get home tonight, why would you care? Or you’re on the other end of things: no tobacco, no cannabis, no alcohol, and if you choose to take any of those into your body you’re a horrible person who deserves to suffer because clearly you don’t care about yourself!
Just… Ugh. No men, no pets, no smoking. Yes to meat, yes to sex, yes to booze. I’d ask why that’s such an incredibly difficult concept, but then I remember that it’s only incredibly difficult when you’re trying to spend over 90% of your above-the-table income on rent, and you’re not likely to find even the bottom-end options for under 150% of your income. I’m too broke to ask for basic access needs, and if I do, I’m somehow a super-picky bitch.
I just wanna go home.