Thursday, November 18, 2010

Making a Good First Impression

I don't know about you all, but I always strive to make a good first impression -- whether it be with new roommates, a new job, or on a date.  I don't want to bring out the inner crazy until I'm sure people will find my quirks charming and endearing :)  Every time I got new roommates, I proceeded with caution, not letting them in on my visceral hatred of bananas or my weird dislike of dishes in the sink until we were on firmer footing.

Bahrry and Dan apparently didn't think about how important first impressions can be.  I was scheduled to move in on a Sunday, in the mid-afternoon.  After waiting four hours for my absurdly late movers (being Ukrainian, they stopped to take a lunch break after another move ran long), spending most of that time playing Rock Band with poor Dave, who was waiting to move his stuff from the fake room into the one I was vacating, I finally made it to Park Slope around 6:00.  Barry and Dan had planned to be there when I moved in, but because I was so late they had had to leave for a prior engagement.  No matter -- I had the keys and we (by "we" I mean the movers) got things started.

The movers, who now that they were actually there were extremely fast, brought all of my worldly possessions up to my new fourth floor walkup as I did little more than direct traffic.  Things were going on swimmingly when a middle aged woman appeared at the door.  "Who's moving in here?" she asked.
           "I am.  I'm Margaret.  Nice to meet you," I said as I extended my hand.
            Ignoring my hand she replied, "Well I'm the landlord and I didn't know you were coming," turning on her heels and stomping back down the stairs.  Meanwhile, one of my movers is carrying my bed up on his back.

My heart sunk.  What did she mean she didn't know I was coming?  I knew I wasn't on the lease, but I'd done similar things so many times in my three years in the city that it hadn't really occurred to me that that could be a problem.  I texted the boys in a panic.  They apologized and reassured me that they'd fix it and explain the situation to me when they got home.  I was not reassured.  The movers, who I have just paid $300, have just left.  I'm completely moved in whether the landlady likes it or not.

I try to start unpacking as the uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach grows.  Then there's a knock on the door.  It's the landlady's husband.  I open the door and explain that I had no idea that they didn't know I was coming.  I'm a teacher with excellent credit.  I'm a really good tenant, I promise!  I smiled a lot and tried not to let my voice quaver.  He was much more polite than his wife, saying things like, "Don't worry, this will all turn out fine."

When Bahrry and Dan finally got home, they explained the whole situation to me.  Before they moved in in March, the apartment had been vacant for months.  At some point the landlady, while her husband was out of the country, had been persuaded by her broker to lower the rent to try to fill the place.  Bahrry and Dan signed the lease, including a clause that said that someone off the lease could fill the third room, and moved in while the landlord was still out of town.  When he got back and found out what happened, he was pissed and had been trying to figure out a way to raise the rent ever since.  A friend of Bahrry and Dan's who'd been subletting before me was subjected to similar scrutiny.  She was given a free pass because she was just there temporarily.  Apparently Bahrry and Dan had chosen not to tell me about this little issue because they were "sure it was going to be fine."

Lovely.  Not only have my new roommates started off our relationship with a lie of omission, but the landlords who live on the first floor hate me.  Oh, and it's possible that the rent might go up $600/month.  I also have not eaten anything all day and it's really hot.  I hate moving.

The boys go down to talk to the landlords, coming back an hour later with good news.  I'm being permitted to stay because the landlord thinks I'm "a real nice lady."  Glad that my sense of manners ended up being helpful.  Bahrry and Dan say it was worth a little abuse from the landlords to get what they wanted.  Dan tells me later that it really wasn't so bad because the landlords really focused their wrath more on Bahrry, since they hate Bahrry, which, in hindsight, is not that surprising.  Bahrry is a piss-ant, and one of the most contrary and aggravating people I have ever met.  Stayed turned for posts devoted solely to different facets of Bahrry:  Bahrry and Smoking, Bahrry and Cleaning, Bahrry and Noise, Bahrry and the Bathroom, Bahrry and Sex, Bahrry and Bills, Bahrry and The Letter, and Bahrry Be Gone.

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