Apartment Hunting

I didn’t know looking for an apartment can be so stressful. First you have to find housemates whom you’re comfortable with, and that’s the easy part. Then you have to try and accommodate everyone’s budget and preferences before you can start to short-list suitable apartments.

Of course, it’s never going to be easy when everyone wants to live in a luxurious condo on a shoestring budget with his own private room; not to mention we have seven guys — Dylan, Frankie, Howe, Nick, Sing, Steve and me — who want to live in the same building, and preferably on the same floor. We could only hope that there’ll be two such apartments available on the market at the same time.

To complicate matters further, some of the guys don’t really get along too well, and we had trouble deciding the arrangement of housemates even before we found a place. Like what I learnt in my operations management course, fewer solutions will be available to a problem when there are more constraints. Indeed.

But the fun was just getting started. We finally found two suitable apartments after much searching, only to realise one of the apartments — and it had to be the one I was going to live in — had already been sold before we could make an offer. To make things worse, that was the only apartment in the area that could fit four people comfortably on our tiny budget.

Living in a house would be our best alternative and Dylan suggested that we should at least check some out to keep our options open, but Steve insisted that we live in a condo. Tension was rising fast and I could see that we were heading nowhere: the possibility of us ending up on the streets after we get kick out of residence in three weeks’ time was getting higher; and it was only a matter of time before Dylan and Steve bring their fight into the open, making it even more unlikely that we could live together in harmony under one roof. Since Nick was back at his home in Michigan, I had to be the peacemaker and try to sort things out.

I convinced Dylan that it was better for all of us if he was to move out with his three other friends — who were also looking for an apartment — than to drag this on, especially with exams just around the corner. With only three people onboard now, we hoped to have an easier time searching for a place.

Once again, suitable apartments were rented out even before we had a chance to take a look at them; while others were either too crappy or expensive. I was already mentally preparing myself for a life as a hobo next year when we received news that an apartment was available for lease. Not just any apartment, but one which is nice and actually fits our budget; what’s more, it’s on the floor as Frankie’s. Sure, it’s a little noisy due to the construction works beside it and we get the hot afternoon sun, but the important thing is that everyone is together — meaning we get to play with Howe’s PS2 everyday. I mean, what other reasons are there to make six guys with contrasting personalities and bad living habits want to live together?

Video games don’t promote violence; they bond aggressive, testosterone-charged young men together and bring world peace.

23 April 2004 · My Life

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