I had a dream. It was a simple one: sea breeze, large yard, carpet, clean bathroom, paint, space to walk more than three steps without having to turn around … hold on, wrong dream. Who are we kidding? In this town a valid dream consists of a bed, a shower, a toilet (a working one might be too much to ask), and a kitchen at least the size of the Playskool one my five-year-old cousin has in the corner of the garage.
So this was my dream. I wasn’t asking much, only enough room to microwave breakfast, lunch and dinner, and every once in a while to do some schoolwork (maybe). I even put in the labor necessary for such a grand dream. I picked up the phone. I rode around on my rusted bike with a pad of paper and a pen. I even set up an appointment with the owner of one of the places I had checked out. In fact I even called her back less then 24 hours later to set up a lease-signing and checking account-draining session.
And that’s when the grubby little hands of a certain female private property owner crushed my sweet little dream. Oh, when you said you wanted the house and I said no one else was interested and it was basically yours, we were being serious? My bad. As we like to say in the realty business, I thought you wanted a different house. Or this one is good, I thought you were a different group. Or, I have some really nice little apartments in between here and San Luis Obispo you might like. Don’t worry those aren’t really termites and that room really isn’t a closet. Let me call you back tomorrow … click. Two messages later, an endless ringing signified that a coward had unplugged her phone.
Hey I’m not mad. Houses in beautiful, overcrowded Isla Vista, California aren’t snatched up as fast as the keg nozzle is on a Friday night in the middle of D.P. No really, they’re not. No really, I swear. The breakdown here wasn’t the fact that some whining freshman didn’t get a house he wanted. It’s that the greedy owners have made a living out of manipulating college students. The fact is that the nice voice on the other end of the telephone doesn’t mean a thing it’s saying. Indeed, neither does the nice voice accompanied by a smile you’re given in person. It’s an art form. UCSB should make it a major: How to Unethically Rent Out Houses in Isla Vista. We could all stay here forever, lying to each new class.
But seriously, owners are going to be able to sell any house they put on the market to rent, so do they really have to lie to would-be renters just so they can have a couple of backup shmucks? Can’t a man have a straight answer so he can get on with his quest for his little dream? Apparently not, but at least I can see the beach from my current closet.
Jake Norton is a freshman pre-business economics major.