Thursday, August 16, 2012

Binghamtownie: A Prologue

I once moved to Binghamton, New York. I wouldn’t’ recommend you do the same. For about the five months I spent living there, there were many instances where I found myself anticipating the next way our landlord would screw us over. Though I hated it at the time, I’ve learned to look back at this period with fondness. I mean, I learned some neat things like how roaches aren’t really anything to worry about and how easy it is to live with them. In line with bug issues, my roommates and I experienced mild forms of delusional parisitosis. I also embraced the idea that it’s not entirely crazy to prefer working over spending leisure time at home.

Theoretically, this was supposed to be time for me to take a break from school and relax, try to find myself, and make some life decisions. Being a first time tenant, I had no idea what to look for or the general procedures of renting an apartment. Someone smart would probably say do some research, maybe look at the obstacles tenants have faced and how to protect yourself from fraudulent claims, lying landlords, and potential problems with renting. What can I say? I’m not that smart.

Instead of worrying about potential problems, here were my general priorities:

1. Cheap rent

2. Be near other college kids so there is potential to socialize

3. Get money, make lady friends

And that’s how I ended up living in a Main Street slum. It’s also how I met Natalie.

We had already toured two other apartments before finding our future home that day. The first one, my roommates and I were told, had been broken into by the neighbor kids and trashed. The windows had been left open and the whole place smelled like mildew and urine. Had the kids been peeing in this place? 
Hopefully it was just the animals. Add to that the fact that, as we pulled in, a toddler was rolling down the hill on a Big Wheel in his diaper with his older sister running behind, yelling at him, “Get back here you little shit.”

After the tour was over we thanked our guide politely and said we’d have to get back to her in the next couple days and, “Let her know.” Needless to say it didn’t take long to reach a group consensus—we were going to avoid waking up to rabid children roaming and pissing in our apartment throughout the night.
Any place, compared to the first apartment, would’ve been an improvement but the second apartment we toured that day turned out to meet all of our demands. And it didn’t hurt that the guide was an attractive young female student.

“Do any college kids live around here?” we asked, making sure to keep our priorities straight.

“Oh yeah, I actually live right around the corner from here. Most of my friends are close by too.”

Check and check, one last concern. “How much is rent?”

“$2,400 a month.”


An hour or so before our long drive home we received a reply to an inquiry we made on Craig’s list earlier that day. It was the tenant of that apartment and he said we could tour the apartment since he was moving out within the next couple weeks.

Little did we know the ensuing months would conclude with us truly understanding the sentiment of the almighty Rod Stewart when he wrote Ooh la la. (No disrespect Rod, but I like the cover version more.)

Other Sections: Prologue - I - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII

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