Subletting is a strange proposition and in many way not unlike the act of making recommendations, except perhaps the onus of responsibility is even more severe on you who wishes to let another make your (temporary) home theirs (temporarily). Yes, you tell the potential subletter, this is a great place to live! And you mean it. Yet, even you know that no place is perfect. The radiator makes an occasional clanging noise that you have started incorporating into your winter time dreams, and the extreme dryness during the cold months is something you address with a few extra cups of water throughout the day and via the purchase of an elephant shaped, kiddie humidifier. But these become relatively minor hiccups as you travel along your daily path because you accept that in order to go about your business (of writing, teaching, fieldwork, office hours, exercise – mental and physical – shopping, cooking, laundry, correspondence, paying bills, reading, living), you must be willing to accommodate some imperfections that come as part of the package of living in an old, pre-war, constantly-under-some-kind-of-construction/repair building. What you get in return for your bending ways is a relatively comfortable abode, close proximity to friends (even if it is sometimes a bit too close to students and colleagues), a few steps from your institution and thus the ability to leave your house just minutes for before a meeting. This, for the procrastinator and unintentional-multitasker, is a truly priceless feature.
So when one receives a notice from said subletter that highlights a flaw or an issue that arises — that might have arisen had you been living there, as well, but chose this moment to rear its ugly head — you can’t help but feel especially peeved. At whom is this aggravation-wrapped-in-annoyance directed? The messenger? The building maintenance director and crew who received notice from you about potential issues several months ago? Yourself for thinking that subletting would be a worry-free experience? A little from each column seems most likely.
Another response might be the philosophical, in the vein of impermanence — that is, this situation will also pass. An apartment or house or plot of land or country is never permanently a single person’s to own, and we are only caretakers until the next person comes along. But is this point enough to assuage the immediate urgency of someone living situation? Perhaps not.
So with little that I can do while literally on the road, I simply await response to a few SOS’s I’ve planted in the email ether. And I blog. And contemplate advice to give the various parties in charge — because a little experience can make one feel (however rightly or wrongly) like quite the expert. It might be time for a reread of an earlier post about… what was it, patience?
(and following a promised nanowrimo update, the moving chronicles part 2: i forgot i’m the homeowner and there’s no one else to blame in philly… sigh…)