We've finally succeeded in convincing my mom to move from the suburbs [insert crickets here] into the throbbing, mind-blowingly exciting metropolis of three blocks from us. I know. It'll be great to have ZsaZsa (not my mom's real name) right around a couple of corners after decades of living almost an hour away.
Naturally, I helped her find a new pad - specifically, an apartment. Which is how I learned:
Lesson #1: Looking for an apartment for your mom is very different than looking for one for yourself.
Corollary to Lesson #1: I have lived in many a dunghole in my day.
I foolishly counted up the number of times I've moved since returning to Los Angeles after college. [Please savor the complimentary Muzak as I put my pom-pom socks and Mary Janes back on.]
As you can see on the tote board, my current home is the [hork] twelfth place I've lived since the ol' undergrad years. Each of these domiciles was rigorously vetted and had to meet a crushing set of criteria before I would even consider living in any of them.
Namely, I required that each of my residences be - and this was non-negotiable - AVAILABLE.
I know. I told you I was picky.
Some of the "bonus features" of my old apartments have included:
- The convenience of an independent pharmaceuticals distribution hub right next door (open 24 hours).
- A kitchen carpeted in wall-to-wall shag.
- A demonic toilet.
- Locked out? No problem! These here windows lift right out of the wall!
- "The Eliminator" elevator.
- The restful quiet that can only come from not having to listen to the pesky hum of an air conditioner.
Lesson #2: My mom's new pad needs to be safe and (relatively) freak-free.
Which Is Why I'm Surveilling Her Building.
Oh, sure, the apartment is nice. But we all know that it's really all about the people in the building, yes? Right.
Allow me to share my findings to date with you:
Apt. 307 - Shadowed portly male occupant from elevator by carrying potted shrub against my chest and making little hops. Subject emitted unnatural creaking noise with each step. Is likely listed on a national registry of some sort.
Apt. 110 - Suspected sweatshop that appears to be churning out substantial quantities of macaroni art. Wait, scratch that. They just have a lot of children. Never mind.
Apt. 202 - Arbonne Cosmetics representative. [Note to self: avoid second floor altogether or risk another forcible exfoliation.]
Apt. 314 - Portal to the early 70s. Glimpse through open door revealed variegated shag carpet, smoked-mirror wet bar and metal wall sculpture of pointy sailboat cluster. Possible Tiki epicenter.
Apt. 105 - RED ALERT. The people living in #105 are all [gasp] professional mimes.
Aw, hell. And things were shaping up so nicely. Why couldn't it have been something manageable...like a meth lab?
My friend Leigh Cunningham has just published the first in a series of children's books entitled THE GLASS TABLE. Congrats, Leigh!