Monday, June 02, 2008

Bagels and Corn Rye

We've put 300 miles on the car in the past few days, driving around looking for a suitable rental. OMG. The housing stock here is shockingly bad. I mean really, god-awful crap. Creepy, scary, dirty, old, funky, dilapidated, weird. We had to drive through a herd of cows to reach one place, and that was definitely the high point of the adventure. The house was probably a hundred years old, and had not been cared for in the past 50. But we really loved the yard, the swooping vultures, hawks and swallows were everywhere. It almost made us, for a brief insane moment, consider renting it. Then we turned around, looked at the house behind us and ran laughing back to the car.

We answered a different ad on craigslist. It had obviously been written by a mad man, but it was a mad man with a three-bedroom house, room for garden, right by the local hiking trail, fireplace with pellet stove. I said to Roger after I spoke to the homeowner, "This guy is definitely challenged. I mean he seems to not have boundaries, not a good emotional filtering system. He says everything that pops in to his head. Something is definitely not right with him. Let's go look at his house anyway." So, we drove over there. We gave ourselves plenty of time to get lost, so arrived early. Walking up to the front of his house a voice came from inside before the door opened, "I knew you'd get here early." It was spooky.

He opened the door. A small, tired, sad, vulnerable man stood there. He opened his mouth, and then never stopped talking. He told us everything-- why he was fired from his teaching job; that his father had recently died; that his mother listens to right-wing radio even though she's a staunch Democrat; that he smokes pot, doesn't grow it, but thinks about it; that he lives in the backyard in a plywood shack; that he would lower the rent, raise the rent, pay for the electricity, not pay for the electricity; that he can't find good, stable tenants, etc. etc. etc. He never stopped talking.

We figured out how to extricate ourselves, shook his hand, looked him in the eyes and told him we would not be back.

So, that's how it's been. We're tired. We're paying $4.45 for a gallon of regular gas. (There's an ad on the radio that says here in Humboldt County we pay the highest prices in the country. Is that true? Is anyone out there paying more?) The skies have been relentlessly gray. We're still dressing in layers when we head out on the trails. But, and this is really the thing about being here, the local bagelry "Los Bagels" is making us a special-order loaf of corn rye bread for us to pick up Monday morning. Bagels and corn rye! What's not to love about being here?

Wish us luck on our search. We definitely need it.

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