(For Part I, please click here. For Part II, here.)
After almost settling for less than butterflies, my montage continued. Basement apartment with no windows. Really cute studio in a mildly questionable neighborhood, well out of my reasonable price range. Bottom level of a house with the pungent aroma of mildew and a housemate representing the combination of cat lady and the South will rise again.
I continued my enervated walk down the street of housing singles. That is, until one day when I was strolling down the metaphorical street of Craigslist and looked up from my sulking. I locked eyes with the most beautiful man rental I had ever seen. It was love at first sight. The rental was a studio apartment in a townhouse near Union Station. I went to go view it with my friend during the lunch hour. I wanted to see it as soon as possible — “Before all the other housing hoes begin to swoop in on my studio like vultures,” I told my friend. Finding a good man rental unit in the city is a competitive market.
And I was happy I had been so quick because I knew from the moment I walked into the unit that we were meant to be together. It was in my favorite area of D.C., a short walk to my P.O. Box. It was quaint and quirky. I’d never wanted anything so bad. I waited with mild hypertension as the current tenant blathered on and on about the pros and cons of the place to those of us who had shown up for the open house. I wanted her to stop speaking so I could go fill out my application already. I didn’t care that the sound of the air conditioner bothered her. I didn’t care that she had little mice at one point. There was nothing she could say to me in that moment that could falter my undying love for the apartment. As my friend and I left, I tried to shoot fireballs through my eyes at the competition. I had to get my application in to the rental agency ASAP. Damn the housing searchers not confined by the nine to five reality! This is an unfair advantage! I thought.
When I got back to my desk, I was antsy. I couldn’t get images of my future life with the Union Station studio out of my mind. I imagined what our late nights would look like together. I imagined us cooking dinner together. It was that middle school kind of love where if the apartment had have had a last name, I totally would have been writing it as my own in cursive across the back of my old homework. There was no way I could just sit at my desk knowing that others were out to steal this future from me.
In a g-chat with my friend, I explained that I was going to leave work to go get all of the necessary paperwork into the office on the other side of town before it closed at 4pm. She didn’t seem to think it was a great idea, but I was prepared to work late hours that night to make up for the time. It would be worth it. This had to be done. My response to her was something along the lines of:
“Sean Jo, if the professor my workplace calls about that job where the hell I am, just tell
him them, sorry, I have to go see about a girl rental unit.”
I found the rental application online and began to fill it out. I soon became aware of the fact that, in addition to the tedious task of filling out contact information for my references and other personal information, the application also had to be notarized and the $50 application fee could only be paid with a money order. I also needed copies of my last three paystubs. I had to get busy. Time was ticking. Adrenaline pounded through my system and my hands shook as I filled out each line of the application. Next, since I lacked printer access at work, I had to procure someone to print my information for me. Then, as soon as the hardcopy application was in my hands, I was out the door in a flustered flash on a quest to find a registered notary.
The FedEx next door was a no go. They pointed me to the neighboring building. That building needed all sorts of federal security clearances to enter. They mentioned a nearby hotel where the woman in the gift shop could do it. I took off in a rapid power walk. It was a hot and humid day in July, but I had no time to mind the sweat pouring down my entire body, nor the frizzed out chaos that was my hair. I followed the person’s directions to this hotel, but I couldn’t find it. I had to keep moving. Onward to L’Enfant Plaza! I thought. They have a post office. Maybe I’ll be able to find a notary and get a money order at the same time. My pace was brisk. I was a woman on a mission.
I had to have been maintaining a solid 10mph power walk when the Great Fall of 2012 nearly came to fruition. I was going under the train bridge so focused on my haste that I foolishly disregarded the shallow puddle that accumulates from water dripping off the bridge. My old silver flats no longer had any traction on them. I was a goner for sure. A delightful Spanish-speaking family was passing nearby me at the time, looking as if they were on a joyful trip to go see the monuments. They were quickly pulled from their conversation upon spotting my pending tragedy. “Careful! Careful!” they yelled, switching over to English for my benefit, as I lost my battle with gravity and began to topple face-first toward the pavement. But as I my body plummeted forth, I thought, Hell no, you. I don’t have time for you to fall down. And somehow, someway, every bit of strength in me worked together; although one foot left the earth and the tip of a pinky and ring finger momentarily grazed the concrete, although I moved into twists and twirls for those three seconds that seemed like a slow-motion eternity, I never fully fell, never stopped moving forward. I threw a quick wave to the family, as I hurried forth. Keep it moving, baby, keep it moving — the repeating mantra in my mind.
As I came barreling into L’Enfant Plaza, I was not only dripping sweat, but now also had an impressive number of blisters on my feet. I grabbed my number at the post office and waited impatiently to be called. First question: Do you have a registered notary on staff? Answer: No. Thought to self: Shit. Second question: Could I please have a $50 money order? Answer: Sure. Thought to self: Please hurrrrrryyyyyy.
I left with money order in hand, but still lacked required notarization. I have to go find the hotel the earlier person spoke of, I thought, and I started to walk to my right to leave the building. But, wait, there’s a hotel upstairs, maybe they have one, and I turned back to my left to walk to the elevator up to L’Enfant Hotel. Right, left, right, left. I kept changing my mind, and then changing my direction, all in flustered, rapid movements. I couldn’t process the opportunity costs of my two options quickly enough. Finally, I chose to risk seeing if the hotel upstairs had a notary. I made a dash for the elevator, praying to any deity I could think of that might be of assistance. I waited in line at the reception desk filled with panic. When, at last, I made it to the front of the line and was informed that the woman who could help me was about to leave, but that I might be able to catch her if I hurry over to the administration office, I could have died with joy. I ran over and caught the woman. She looked like the last thing she wanted to do was stay to notarize something. I thanked her profusely the entire three minutes or so it took her to do her thing.
With completed application in hand, I ran to the metro that would take me to Foggy Bottom. I fidgeted restlessly through each of the six stops. I kept looking at my application, pouring as much good energy and well wishes into it as I could. Once at Foggy Bottom, I ran up the metro escalator, shuffled down the street, found the building, and came crashing into it like a hot mess. My cell phone flew from my hands, breaking into three pieces as it slid across the linoleum floor. I quickly gathered it up, while the woman at the security desk yelled over at me, “Miss, you need to sign in! Do you even know where you’re going?”
“I HAVE TO GET THIS APPLICATION INTO THIS AGENCY,” I said. I will follow any and all of your orders willingly right now, please just hurry with your requests!! I thought. She had me sign in, pointed down the hall to where the agency’s suite was located, and I was off again like lightning. Right before entering the office, I attempted to straighten up my hair a bit and gain my composure.
“Hello, I’m looking for Mr. Jackson,” I said, as I fluttered my eyelashes.
“That would be me,” replied the man.
“Oh, so you are the infamous Mr. Jackson!” I shamelessly flirted. Later, my friend would joke with me—Korrin = Femme Fatale, eat your heart out, Mr. Jackson! Hey, we do what we have to do for love.
After our transaction, I told Mr. Jackson that I’d call back tomorrow for an update. I sauntered out of the building, impressed and flabbergasted by what had just taken place. Did I just finish a marathon? I wondered in a haze. I gave a nod to the security woman as I left. There was no doubt that she thought I was nuts. I had left my office at 3:30. I returned by 4:21. I had truly lived out the verb “to haul ass.”
Now, it was time to wait.
~Stay tuned for Part IV, the final piece of my D.C. housing Rom Com~