A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to help him measure up his new apartment and, despite the fact that it was Desperate Housewives night (how dare you suggest I have no life!) I went along. Partly because helping friends is second nature to me (if you read this, you’re a Nazi… see below) and partly because this particular friend has a pretty lousy track record in apartments and I was rather interested in what he picked up this time.
For instance, he once rented a room with an insane landlady who didn’t allow him to have a fridge or a computer on his room and who demanded that he’d be home each night before eleven. On that point he decided to call the renting process quits and announced he’d move out the next Saturday. When he and his father arrived at the house, the lady had dumped all his belongings in the rain outside.
Currently he rents a small room in a house in the most southern part of the city (there’s cows walking 20 feet away from his place, I kid you not) that ended up not just being subrented to him but also the lady he rented it from, the man she rented it from and the woman he rented it from. When large water bills started appearing out of nowhere this was a nice warning sign to get the hell out.
From the one end of the city he found a place to live on the other side: a room plus bathroom in a big student building in Amsterdam North. For those not into the Amsterdam Know How: North is known as a pretty bad neighborhood with houses built around the 1960´s (need I say more?). An American friend of mine once went there because he thought it would be `nice to see how the working class lives´, to which I replied that the entire problem was that they weren’t working.
But I digress.
According to my friend getting there took only a 10 minute bus ride from Amsterdam’s main train station and so last Tuesday after dinner at the university we went on our way. After 25 minutes in the bus my friend admitted he did not recognize anything and went up to the driver to ask which stop we needed, which we ended up having missed. I believe I gave him the same look I gave The Squirrel when he admitted a secret love for James Blunt music.
After exiting bus 1 we entered another bus which delivered us somewhere in the direction of where we needed to be. But not quite there. We walked through a deserted mall and passed a snack food place with the name Fries Plaza, which saddened me for so many more reasons than one. We climbed up a hill to get to the street because my friend (and by then I was using the term loosely) believed he saw a bus stop. He did, but not one where the bus we needed stops.
In the end he walked into a gas station while I stayed around a DVD rental place to look at the Hooligans poster they had and wonder what the hell Hollywood has done to Charlie Hunnam’s face (I give them one week to undo it).
The apartment was in fact fine, and bigger than what he has now. The measuring took 5 minutes and his view at night is quite good (he’s on the 13th floor and even though North’s a criminal hell hole, with all the lights at night it’s pretty nice). But while I was sitting in the tram, on my way back to my apartment with my own kitchen and my own bathroom and more space than most of my friends former rooms thrown together for only 2 euro 50 per month in one of the nicest parts of the city. I wondered, why didn’t he just get a deal like I did.
Ah, I kill myself.