So I don’t want to jinx my chances of getting my dream apartment by writing about it (I don’t really know why a little blog post would equate to bad luck, but I feel the need to be overly cautious). What is luck anyways; do we just call it luck when an event with an extremely low probability happens? And if it just comes down to is numbers, then how small do the chances have to be to say that we’re lucky? Or does that depend on our point of view, like how they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Case in point: there’s an amazing rent-controlled apartment available in a historic building in Georgetown. The price is so good (by DC standards at least; by my dad’s comparison to his first apartment in the suburbs thirty-five years ago, the rent we will pay does not qualify as “amazing”) that at first I was convinced the craigslist post was a scam. Hardwood floors, big, sunny bedrooms, beautiful, quiet street with a pretty view of Georgetown from the front and back windows, and conveniently a fifteen-minute walk from my office.
I was taking a break from compiling a media report on caramel apples (specifically, our latest press release on how caramel-coated apples harbor listeria) to peruse the housing boards on craigslist, when I came across The Post. Most of what I found in my price range was not that interesting, or else a little too interesting as many pads seemed to be attached to quirky or seemingly high maintenance roommates: “we like to drink wine and discuss philosophy in the evenings”; “I’d even be open to living with a republican”; “no couples, no drama, no pets, roommate must have 9-5 job”; “please write back with a bit about yourself including your favorite breakfast cereal and favorite superhero”. Or deals that actually were too good to be true :“the landlord is currently out of the country on an extended project to Africa”; “My husband and I are not after the money but just want a responsible tenant, please feel free to view the building from the outside as we just moved to Michigan.”
Until I spotted it, my apartment: a quaint-looking two bedroom available in Georgetown. It was written with just enough detail to make the apartment seem enticing without the off-putting autobiography of the poster. I slowly learned more about the poster of the apartment, who I found out was a guy, through an exchange of several emails (and a few google searches). I won’t share that now, to protect the identity of those who end up in my blog, as this post is clearly not disguised as fiction.
“How would you feel about living with a guy though?” my coworker, K, asked me.
“I’m not sure,” I say, “the craigslist post says that he likes things very neat.” After a few cursory Google searches, I established that the poster appeared nonthreatening enough to go meet at the apartment after work.
I wonder if some mathematician ever calculated a definition of luck. I’ll have to google that later. Like, x is the standard probability for something to qualify as good luck or bad luck; the chances of something happening have to be however tiny, exceptional or rare for “luck” to have occurred. The headline of my apartment on the real estate website did read “rare opportunity,” and accordingly I would consider myself pretty lucky to get it.
I killed time in Kramer books after work. I was too preoccupied to look at the novels like I usually would, so I picked up this book on a little island next to the tall shelves called The Art of Communication. By the title, I assumed it was about public relations stuff, but once I started skimming through it, I found that a yoga teacher wrote it about the Buddhist philosophy of communication and connection. The point of the book seemed to be how untruthful and superficial most of our communications had evolved to be; how the speed at which we feel forced to interact is dampening our message and the actual purpose of connecting with another person.
Perhaps that book put me in the right frame of mind as I walked down Q Street and over the bridge across Rock Creek and into Georgetown. The air seemed noticeably cooler on the Georgetown side of the bridge due to all the trees.
My friend Claudia’s advice to me in my search for housing was this: ‘you’ll know when you find a place you want to live; you’ll feel at home.’ That was the intangible thing I felt as S walked me through the two bedrooms and common areas of the humble, second story apartment.
I don’t know what the chances are of getting the place. According to my source, the craigslist poster, potential new roommate, S, over ninety people emailed the real estate agent about the unit. I’m not sure how many of those people would have applied, but I would estimate that easily ten or twenty of them did. Perhaps some of those people don’t meet the financial or credit requirements; I don’t have an exact number or an equation.
When I think about the sheer number of young professionals trolling craigslist and Facebook for housing in DC, the awkward “roommate interviews” where you are basically interviewing someone to be your friend, and the amount of money people are willing to dish out for a smidge more convenience, I would certainly feel pretty lucky to snag this apartment.
Here’s how the story ends: I’m now living in the apartment with S. He called me three days after we applied for it with an announcement: “Good News: We got the apartment.”
“You’re kidding me?” I said. It was a rhetorical question, sort of.
I told this story to a guy I went on a coffee date with the other week, a vague acquaintance and near stranger, and his response to me was “that’s a pretty strong connection.” Undoubtedly, it was.
Joy that you didn’t expect is often the best kind. After convincing myself of how unlikely it would be to get the apartment, I felt like I had just won the lottery. There is so much in life that we try to control but simply can’t. This little streak of good luck reminds me that unpredictability can be fun; luck doesn’t always have to work against you.
“No, I swear to god,” he says.
“I’m so excited. The place is perfect.”
“I know, me too.”
Who knows if it really is perfect? Every apartment, townhouse, and home-to-be has its quirks, but from where we stand it is looking pretty fabulous. It can’t hurt to walk over the threshold looking at the glass as half full.