Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Location, Location, Location

Sometimes it's nice to see what you're missing. Maybe the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence. I've been living in the same small apartment ever since I first moved here. There have been times when I didn't think I could stand living there another day -- especially last week when the heat and humidity turned the place into a sweatbox. There's no air conditioner and really no way to install one without knocking a hole in the wall. I've considered it, but I think the landlord might notice the alteration. So, when I saw the ad for the hillside guest house with access to a private swimming pool, I just had to check it out.

I wasn't really looking for an apartment for myself, I was looking for one for my niece, Annie. She was out here last year for the summer and apparently liked it well enough to move out here for real. She arrived last week and has been staying with her former college roomate while looking for a car, a job and a place to live. I've been trying to help out as much as possible since I supposedly am older and wiser and better connected. Of course, she's already been invited to her first Hollywood party and I'm still reading about them in Premiere magazine. Nevertheless, I do know this town pretty well. And this town being L.A., the first order of business was to get her a car. Before she flew out here, she found a car on the internet that she really liked. I went over to check it out for her and thought it was a great deal, so by the time her plane landed at LAX, she already had a car.

Next order of business was finding a place to live. You can only crash at a friend's place for so long. Although, I do know a guy who shall remain nameless (Kevin Osborn) who lived for an entire year in New York City going from couch to couch to couch and never paying rent! And the amazing part of the story is that he remained friends with everyone involved. (Or so he says.)

Annie found a place not too far from me with a very nice young man named John and for a while there it looked like she was going to have the lodging situation all sewed up in record time. Complications arose however and now John is looking for a new place as well. Good luck John.

Meanwhile, I was checking out the local Craigslist for suitable apartments in decent neighborhoods with affordable rents when I stumbled across the hillside guest house with swimming pool. Damn! I have to see this one for myself.

The first drawback is the location. It's a long, stressed-out freeway ride from downtown to the Sepulveda Pass and I do not do well on long commutes. As it turned out, however, the day I went out there it took me exactly the same amount of time as my current commute. Hmmm. Then there's the size of the place. It's not large. In fact it was described in the listing as "compact." I already live in a "small" place, I'm not sure if I can handle "compact." But there's the pool. And it was nice, and you pretty much have it all to yourself since the widow who owns the house never uses it. She and I talked for almost an hour. She's very interesting and maybe a little lonely. I really wanted to like this place -- I mean it has a swimming pool. But for some reason it just wasn't bowling me over.

I drove back to West Hollywood and met Annie at my place. We walked over to the Italian restaurant two blocks from my apartment and had dinner. I realized while were sitting there that as claustrophobic as my place can seem sometimes, it has the three things that any real estate agent will tell you are the most important selling points for any property: location, location, location. I really am right in the middle of things and any time I feel cramped I can get up and walk to any of two dozen cafes, restaurants and bars. Or go to the nearby park or the West Hollywood Pool, or just go for a stroll on the Sunset Strip or catch a movie or even a play at one of the local theaters. So, I think I'm gonna pass on the hillside guest house with swimming pool. I'll keep checking out Craigslist every now and then, though, just in case.

And, as it turns out, a friend at work knows someone who is looking for a roomate. She sounds really nice and the rent is good and it's even closer to my place than the other one we looked at. And it has a pool. So if this works out, I may get to keep my location and still have access to a swimming pool. That is if Annie doesn't mind me coming over to visit every now and then. Hey -- I guess I do have connections after all. Who knew?


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