I’ve spent the last week looking for a place to live. Since running away from my seaside city and retreating inland I’ve had a run of nasty shocks. Johannesburg is not as friendly as everyone says it is. Have you ever dealt with rental agents? Let me tell you they are special breed of human, imagine a snake and hyena, with added botox and collagen pumped lips. Sort of slimy and slippery with added bite and frozen facial features. I’ve dealt with three of them this week, all skinny, all in high heels and all with shiny, over-glossed lips that seem to wobble uncontrollably as they speak.
‘Honey, what kind of apartment do you want?’ they’d ask at the interview.
And I’d describe my vision, a Juliet balcony, a lovely quiet garden, a modern open plan living space. Quiet, understated, yet hinting at affluence and a willingness to settle down (in a handsome man’s arms).
I had something like this in mind…without the ocean but perhaps facing a golf course or a quiet tree-lined road.
Instead they showed me places better suited to meth addicts or badly paid spinsters. I suspect it might be how I dress, I’m a barefoot girl, most days you’ll find me in Birkenstocks during the summer and Uggs in the winter. Who would’ve thought they’d show me places that look like my old shoes?
In desperation I called Fungal Peter. He’s really the only person I know in town and he did say he lived in Hyde Park. I am the arch-princess of apologies, I’ve been known to apologise to my fridge for opening it too often on a hot day. Apologising is a habit that’s got me into plenty of trouble, in fact it’s probably why I had to bolt from home to live in hot, dusty Joburg. I’m missing home, the ocean, the sea breeze… but I’m digressing and a minute away from the dreaded Mr D – for depression.
Fungal Peter accepted my apology for standing him up as only a good-looking, handsome man can. It turns out that he owns a few flats in his building and he’s invited me over tonight to go look at one. Apparently he has a large two bedroom, open plan space available on the sixth floor. It sounds good.
God, I hope he’s not a crazy person. I’ve lost my ability to judge men. And women. And I’m not even confident about judging the character of cats, the last one I had hated me. She would lie in bed and chew my arm while I was sleeping. I lived in terror of my cat and slept most nights like a battered woman, not daring to poke a limb out the duvet. That cat was not the reason I ran away, but she certainly helped move the process along. Was I pushed or did I jump? That’s what I’m thinking about right now.
Hey you, if you’re reading this in two days time and I’ve not posted again, please come look for me. We’re meeting at Hyde Park Exclusive Books this evening. I’m the girl in the Birkenstocks carrying a large bag of antiseptic wet wipes. I’m so desperate for a place I might have to live on the edge a bit and exchange a rental contract for lady favours.