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Three and a half weeks ago, at 4:00am, I was lying in some random girl’s bed after a Thursday night out on 6th Street in Austin. The night was pretty standard, except for the girl part, that was definitely an aberration (usually I’m having an intimate moment with Whataburger), and as it finally wound its way down, I started to fall asleep. My fade into unconsciousness, some desperately needed unconsciousness since I had work the next morning, was suddenly interrupted by my phone. I wasn’t exactly sure why someone would be calling me at 4:00am, but it’s never for a good reason. Paranoid and ready, I looked to see who was calling. Phew, it was just my future roommate, Geoffrey, probably in jail or something. He had been out with me that night, actually he had gone out before me that night, and we met up later.
By the time I had met Geoffrey, at roughly 11:30pm, he was ridiculously blackout drunk. Happy hour had been kind, or, considering the ultimate outcome, cruel, to him. I was legitimately stunned by how drunk he had gotten. The many, many women he approached were revolted. The bouncers were ready to attack should he puke/fall/spill/piss himself. I was just trying to keep him upright and semi-human. It was no easy task. His eyes were glassy; there was no light left behind them. His soul had been extinguished for the night, and with it, all sense of morality and humanity had vanished. Geoffrey was so drunk that he didn’t even move like a drunk guy; he moved like a marionette being worked by a drunk guy. We were thrown out of one bar and then barely got into another. Geoffrey left not long after that, sometime before 1:00am.
Fast-forward back to 4:00am and Geoffrey was calling. I answered. He was still completely hammered, which was far less surprising than the fact that he had figured out how to operate his phone. He was going to be working off his alcoholic intake for a while, as evidenced by a Snapchat he sent me the next afternoon. It was of him, violently puking. I would have hated it, but the cinematography was (seriously) breathtaking. The way he worked with the natural lighting and the angle at which he shot himself puking his balls up, just wow.
At 4:00am, however, Geoffrey was still wandering downtown Austin. Thankfully, Austin is one of the safest cities in the country. I have no doubt that in any number of other downtowns, over the many similar nights we’ve had, Geoffrey and I would have been stabbed by some hobo and left to bleed out no less than three times each. That’s why I love Austin: very friendly, shiv-less hobos. Unfortunately for Geoffrey, no cab would pick him up; our cabbies are about as friendly as everyone else’s. After realizing this, Geoffrey resolved to find his car and pass out in it for the night. However, he couldn’t remember where he parked. So, out of options, and completely unaware of his surroundings, or, in all likelihood, most everything else, possibly including his very existence, and I mean that in the sort of way a lizard or fish might not realize it “exists,” Geoffrey called me. I couldn’t pick him up though. I didn’t have my car, and was too drunk to drive even if I did. I offered to call him a cab. He declined. After four more phone calls in which the exact same conversation took place, because his short term memory was apparently Memento-esque at that point, I gave up. Long story short, Geoffrey didn’t make it to work the next day, and now Geoffrey doesn’t live in Texas anymore. To be fair to him, he called in early and tried to use a sick day, of which he had many, and his work decided to be total cocks about it.
Regardless, because of that episode I have spent the past few weeks undertaking the painstaking displeasure of apartment hunting. While I was (sort of) excited to find a new place to live, because Austin has quite a few cool neighborhoods and areas to choose from, I hated the process. Then again, I hate most processes, so maybe my opinion isn’t all that valid. Job interviews, buying a car, courtship — I hate it all. Within five minutes I want to scream, “JUST GIMME IT ALREADY!” That would explain the current interest rate on my car loan and lack of girlfriend. Of course, the fact that I’m an unapologetic man-child could also be to blame, as is reflected both by my relationship status and credit score. I’m actually just kidding about the credit score thing. Truthfully I have no idea what it is, and I’ve been too afraid to look. PGP.
I felt the same way every time I walked into a new apartment. I knew almost immediately whether or not I wanted to live there, and the answer was almost always a solid no. Still, I had to sit through 30-plus minutes of a bullshit presentation from whoever was showing me around the complex. Why I went to so many large apartment complexes, I’m not sure, but basically I was desperate. Only desperation could get me to look at massive apartment complexes, because as a general rule, I hate them. The faux-community bullshit they sell is bad enough.
“You’re going to make friends here!” the reps exclaim with glee.
“Do I have to?” I wonder sincerely.
Their enthusiasm creeps me out. It shouldn’t, and I know that. They’re either 1) faking it because they have to, which sucks for them, or 2) are simply genuine people selling me something they believe. I, meanwhile, am just sort of an apathetic asshole.
If being creeped out by the fact that these apartment communities are trying to sell me on “friendship” is a product of my own sad personality flaws (that I refuse to explore!), hating the other aspect of apartment communities, I believe, is completely justified. The amenities. Oh God how I hate the amenities. Fuck the amenities. Every time I go to one of these apartment communities, with their basketball courts and their game rooms and their movie theaters and running trails, I legitimately want to ask, “If I promise not to use any of this shit, can I have like $250 off my rent a month?”
It’s true, I’m not going to use any of that crap, probably not even the relatively reasonable amenities like the pool and gym. I’m sure as shit not going to use an arcade or a movie theater. What normal adult wants to go play in an arcade regularly enough to be enticed to move to a property because it has one? Some of these apartment communities seem as if they were conceived by a brain trust of 13 year olds commissioned to design the world’s premier network of tree forts. The events the communities throw are equally asinine. A shitty band is going to play by the pool once a month? Sweet! Totally worth an extra $50-plus on my rent! Movie night in the fifty person theater? Yeah that sounds like my ideal Thursday evening after a long day of work; sitting with dozens of people I don’t know watching a movie I’ve already seen. So much better than doing that alone in my apartment, where I can fall asleep if I feel like it, let alone take masturbation breaks at will.
The other thing about amenities is that they’re there to mask the mediocrity of the community: its residents, its staff, but more importantly, the location and quality of the actual apartments.
“Sure you’re fifteen miles away from downtown, but you have everything you need right here! YOU NEVER NEED TO LEAVE AHAHAHAHA!”
Half the time I expect them to slip me the lease across the table and start chanting, “one of us, one of us, one of us.”
So you end up paying a premium for things that do not improve your quality of living, possibly excluding the pool and gym. If those apartments stood alone, without all the extra bullshit, they’d probably go for 2/3rds what they’re being rented for, if not less. But they don’t, because some assholes actually want to walk across their complex in a Snuggie and have a quote-a-long to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. You’re going to have to excuse me for a second, that thought just made me want to puke. Honestly though, that’s fine for them, but not for me. For me it’s a waste of time and money, all of it is, because amenities are bullshit.