So you got the job, or you’ve ditched your hometown. Whether you hail from some burrough of the Bay or out yonder across the globe, you’ve now found yourself in the position of needing a place to live in our fair city of San Francisco.
So, you turn to Craigslist, that shining pillar of online society. Your experience in the throes of real estate may ring at this pitch; let’s call it, “A Stream of Consciousness Response: Applying to Apartment Postings On Craigslist.”
You’ll start timid. Believe me, we all do. Respond to a stranger’s posting on Craigslist? This is exactly what our moms told us not to do in life, don’t you know that? You’ve heard of the Craigslist killer, have you not? No, there’s no way you’re giving them your phone number. Nice try. Maybe you’ll tell them your last name. Maybe.
After a week, maybe two, you’ll get irritated. Why is no one responding to you? You’re a normal, great human, and so much more normal and great than the rest of these lemmings claiming to be normal and great--believe me.
Oh, you had three apartment viewings scheduled for tonight and they all canceled? Probably because you’re a wandering soul with no connections. Probably because your Instagram is private. How are people supposed to stalk you if you’re so damn cryptic? It’s 2018, my friend, privacy died a long time ago. You can take that up with Zuckerberg later. For now, though, if you want any chance at living in this astronomically priced city, prepare to apply to apartments until your tiny texting-toned fingers bleed.
Cut to a few weeks of searching: you’ve deserted all qualms against oversharing. You’ll give anyone your damn social security number, bank account, background check, every pay stub since you left the womb—you name it! Take it all! Copy and effing paste, you get an email, you get an email! Anything that looks remotely like a step above a drug den has your complete attention. Remember when you used to judge people whose posts included that they had cats and liked to hike? Well, oh how the tables turn, my friend. Now you’re hitting up REI with the tenacity of Bear Grylls just to prove to them that they should choose to fill their open room in a Presidio Officer’s Mansion with a nature wrangler such as yourself. And as for the cats? Bring them on, who gives an 'eff about allergies. You would live with a wild hyena at this point, just please, make the Bart commute stop.
It’s been over a month now. You passed desperate a long time ago. In fact, you’ve lapped it a few times. This experience has really broadened your horizons though, right? It’s broken down some of those straight-edge, immoveable constrictions. You know you used to be picky, what with this “I’m exclusively looking in the Marina and Pac Heights bullshit,” but that was so many ignored emails ago. You’re a different person now, anything that could be generalized as the greater San Francisco territory is A-OK with you. Yeah, your budget started out meek and mild, but look how it’s grown thanks to the absence of all moderately priced real estate! What are savings, anyways? Surely they went the way of the buffalo, along with our friend privacy. They’re all hanging out somewhere in a different decade. Let me know if you find them, yeah?
If you’re still looking, good luck to you, my friend. One day we’ll look back at this and laugh... or something. Or just skillfully repress it.
// Tips on apartment hunting in SF? We’re all ears! Art by Anthony Rogers.
Isabella Welch is a graduate of UCLA with a degree in history. Her writing has been featured in history journals, travel blogs, arts & culture magazines, and more. Director of Editorial & Creative Development at Bob Cut Mag, lover of stories and tinto de verano, she’s usually found wandering the Headlands.