The Right Place

Hotel mirror

Apartment hunting today. Mike has to be in work at 9am and we have a place to see at 8, so he’s coming to the first one with me. It’s off of Venice and La Brea, so naturally, I think that means it’s in Venice, which is near Mike’s work, but I realize as we’re driving that we’re headed in the opposite direction. Crap. We’re not going to make it if I have to get Mike to work on time. I text the guy – Chris – to let him know. Chris called me back Monday after I inquired about the place. We were trying to figure out a time for me to come and finally settled on 8am. Oh, so I guess I’ll get to meet the morning version of you.

Silence. Umm, I was kidding. Nevermind. He awkwardly stumbles to finish the conversation as I smack myself in the head. This guy doesn’t know me and I’m making jokes. Drop off Mike and head to the next place in downtown Culver City. Made the appointment Monday evening. I park and walk up the block. It’s off a busy street and I’m not getting a good vibe: it feels dirty and unsafe. Approach the gate and it won’t open so I call the guy. Hi, yes, I’m standing outside the apartment and the gate is locked. “Oh yes, because it’s rented.” Oh, OK, thanks a lot for calling to let me know. I’m glad I didn’t just waste me time coming here. You have a great day.

Get in the car and drive to the next destination. The first two were a bust (Chris’ place is too far from where we want to be) but I was planning on doing this all day anyway. I’m in no way discouraged. This place is in Mid-Wilshire, right on the edge of Koreatown. Not the best area but the street and the building seem nice enough. Loren meets me at the door: an older man with messy gray hair wearing socks with flip flops and reeking of body odor. He’s nice at least. It’s a one-bedroom: not bad, actually, and totally affordable, but there’s not much natural sunlight. Mike could care less about that but it’s a deal breaker for me. I can tell Loren wants me to live here. I’m a clean-cut white girl in Koreatown. I say goodbye, telling him we’ll be in touch, knowing that we won’t.

Head to the place Tropez told me about in Marina Del Rey – a prime spot. Walk into the realtor’s office and sit down with a pretty, young Asian woman. She’s smartly dressed with her hair pulled back to show off dainty silver heart earrings and sporting a big rock on her slender ring finger. The cheapest studio they have available is $1,320. It’s a little out of our price range, but I make an appointment to meet her next week – just in case.

Kitchen area with the mini fridge

Time to go to Venice Beach. This is where I really want to be. This studio is all the way down Venice Blvd; technically downtown Culver City and probably a 30 minute bike ride to Lilly’s. Walk into a fireplace type of store and ask for Howard. I stand waiting until he greets me. “You here to see the apartment?” Yes. “OK, come on back.” He’s a nice older man who reminds me of a Dad. He probably coaches his son’s baseball team. “You can use this entrance back here to get into the building.” Oh, I don’t walk through the store? I ask, laughing. “Well you can. A lot of my tenants do.” We walk up a flight to apartment 2. Hardwood floors, very small kitchen and bathroom but a big window in the living area. I like it. And I like Howard. I tell him so. Bad things: laundry is across the street and there’s no parking – have to park on the street at the meters. That’s not cool, but it’s a good location and it’s cheap. I tell Howard we’ll be in touch. As I leave, I text Mike. I think I just found our apartment. He seems excited. I don’t love it, but it fits; it makes sense.

I drive around the neighborhoods in Marvista, which is between Culver City and Venice. A lot of people have told me that you have to just drive around to find something; some people don’t post rentals online. This is not fun and seems near impossible. I turn down a street and see the most ridiculous houses. Why am I even here? How did I get here? I continue driving around when I realize I forgot about a place. I called the number earlier but no one answered. I’m close, so I might as well check to see if it’s open. It’s on Venice Blvd, right off Abbot Kinney; literally a 5-minute bike ride so I could walk to work if I had to. The building is nice, too. I walk around the building until I find the one for rent. The door is locked and I can’t see in the window. I call the number back and leave a message, letting her know I’ll be around. I really want to see this place.

Finally head back to Culver City to hang near Mike’s work. I’m exhausted, and I’m sick of driving around. It’s around 4pm. Go to the mall nearby and sit in Starbucks with a coffee while I write. The phone rings and I have no desire to answer it because I’ve called so many places today and I’m done. Last second I answer.

The place

A very nice lady is on the line – Maria. She sounds Russian, I think. Could be totally wrong. She’s calling about the place off Abbot Kinney and says I can still come see it tonight. OK, yes, I’m on my way. It’s not far from here, but it’s 5pm and traffic will be bad and I have to be back at 6 for Mike. I make the decision and get in my car and go. Arrive at 5:30. Maria isn’t here, but the door is unlocked so I walk in. Switch on a light. I like the space – it’s very open. Wall-to-wall carpets with the kitchenette a part of the room. A very small bathroom but there’s a sink and mirror outside the bathroom, reminding me of a hotel. There’s a big walk-in closet behind the wall where the kitchen is, and a big window at the front of the place. I love windows. The only bad thing is that there’s a mini-fridge, but I can live with that. Maria walks in and she’s super nice. I take a bunch of pictures to show Mike. Then I grab an application, noticing that a lot of people have signed in today. Promise Maria that I’ll be back with everything tomorrow. When I get in the car I text Mike again. I want it. This is the place.

*Monsters of Folk

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