High Standards

Posted: 28 June 2008 in Charlottesville, observations

I don’t think I have particularly high housing standards.  Of course, I want what everyone wants – clean, lots of light, space, etc.  But I accept that I’m probably not going to find the perfect house in a rental.  We’ve spent multiple days looking for houses in Charlottesville.  I’ve looked at duplexes and traditional complexes.  Ivory towers and 1950s homes.  Shoebox rooms.  Missing appliances.  Questionable stability/cleanliness.  It’s been so much harder than I imagined to find a rent-able place.

At one point we thought we’d stumbled into a hidden ghetto judging by the amount of people standing around drinking Schlitz.  More disturbing has been the amount of people who informed us that this was normal.  It’s Charlottesville, they said.  Some even said that it’s a Southern thing.  According to these folks, it’s perfectly normal, non-ghetto, thing to stand around in your wife-beater, drinking a beer, leaning on the hood of your car, surrounded by your pregnant, actually barefoot wife and seven toddling children.  This, they said, is normal. 

My own expectation is that on a weekend day, people are moving.  They’re taking in groceries.  Washing their cars.  Mowing the lawn.  Cleaning the sidewalk. Pulling weeds.  Walking the dog.  Walking the children.  Going somewhere.  Coming back from somewhere.  The only standing around happens at barbecues.  Perhaps this is a Northern expectation.  And I’m not particularly Northern. 

Our last trip proved more fruitful.  Apparently, that extra $200 makes all the difference in the world.  We also learned some important things about the difficulties we’re going to have searching for our future house.  If left alone, I’d move into any quirky, hidden, victorian with tricky cabinets, oddly sized rooms and state of the art kitchen.  I think though that that house will be left for daydreams.  Which isn’t a bad place for it.  At least in my daydreams there isn’t any Schlitz.

  1. Dylan says:

    I’m in the middle of an apartment search as well. I’m starting to get discouraged for various reasons and then I also wonder, are my expectations unrealistic? I don’t think they are… but who knows, maybe these little details aren’t what is important.

    I say we don’t settle. Our place is out there. Things just take patience.

  2. WKC says:

    DC to Charlottesville is cause for pretty strong cognitive dissonance. Hell, even DC to Baltimore is a noticeable contrast. I confess I, too, have become acclimated to a white-collar atmosphere. Nothing to do but keep heading north, I suppose.

    We found a rowhouse, which we’ll move into in a few weeks, pretty readily, but probably that’s due to my roomate’s and my acceptance of ourselves as broke, aimless postgrads. This is something of a delusion–we both could be a lot more broke and a lot more aimless–but somehow it saves the reality of my life from having to meet my ideals. Of course, that’s one excuse I won’t have forever.

  3. backlist says:

    Ah for a rowhouse. And to be aimless…
    And Dylan – the house is found – let that give you hope!

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