So, after several weeks of uncertainty, one housemate moved out on the day the heavens opened and the first substantial rains fell on the area; the first in several years, going on the chatter of the locals. I spent a couple of weeks trying to recruit a new housemate, by myself, as the other co-tenant was in Queensland.
Via a few short phone conversations, we managed to nut out something resembling a list of pre-requisites for prospective applicants. It was probably too comprehensive a list in the end, and ultimately no-one met our list exactly—but they rarely, if ever do—and I ended up going with my instincts on who I felt would be the most likely to give us the least grief and still be fairly close to what we were looking for in a housemate.
As it turned out, Rob, the departing tenant, decided to leave most of his stuff with us and also sold us a few of his whitegoods and—get this—we had to haggle him up to a price we thought was fair to pay. So the furniture issue didn’t really rear its head, although I did end up having to go and buy a new tv, and am STILL in the hunt for some decent, sturdy and stylish storage shelves/cabinets for my music, movies and books. In all likelihood, I will have to swallow my pride, follow the lead of the locals, and buy something cheap, tacky and functional.
The whole experience has ultimately given me pause to look more critically at the whole share housing experience, and I’ve come to realise that at 31, I am too old to be doing this for much longer. I’ve long been aware that the older people get, the more set they become in their ways, a fact that seems to be driven home more and more every time I move. I’m not sure if it’s simply a matter of attrition, whereby the most sane and stable potential housemates out there are picked off early as they marry and settle down for the coming decades of domestic bliss, or find the odd behaviour of strangers too much to deal with, and either rent or buy a place of their own. Those who don’t follow these forks in the road, I guess collect a range of emotional baggage as they trundle through life, and can’t help but bring some of that with them to each place in which they live.
Whatever the reason, I am beginning to notice that as I push into my thirties, the task of finding new places to live, and/or new co-tenants is becoming progressively more difficult. The prospect of being in a share house with students like “in the old days” had its charms back then, however these days the prospect of stepping over smelly, greasy pizza boxes with crusts still in them, and the stink of ash trays and discarded beer cans/glasses/bottles, is not one I want to wake up to anymore. At the same time, the choice of professionally employed, stable, and sane adults with a healthy respect for hygiene and who are within a 10-year age range of my own, is becoming depressingly slim.
Actually on re-reading that last paragraph, it’s just dawned on me that perhaps I’m becoming as neurotic and set in my ways as everyone else, and that even though I am reasonably easy going, I’m just no longer willing to share my patch with complete strangers.