18 August 2010

The thrill of the hunt

These days, I spend most of my time asking people whether I can live with them. There are two reasons for this:

1) I need an apartment.

2) I need places to stay in various Hungarian cities.

I have about half of a post prepared on apartment-hunting. I'll get around to finishing it presently. That post is about the actual process of finding an apartment. The short version is that there are various websites dedicated to helping people find places to live. As a person hunting for a place to live, I go to these websites, read descriptions of places and the people who live there, and then send an email explaining why I'm interested. This post is not about the process. This post is about the feelings associated with the process.

The feelings are not good, guys. And it's not immediately clear why that should be the case. 

There are some obvious reasons why househunting should make a person feel bad. It's time-consuming and tedious. There is enormous pressure to find the best possible situation. But on consideration, these problems seem psychologically trivial. We human beings do an awful lot of boring stuff in the service of a greater good. Not sleeping on the street qualifies as a greater good.

The real problem is hidden somewhere in the following paragraphs.

In attempting to find a good situation, I am asking a bunch of people to grant me a favour. Every request is a type of audition; that is, I get one chance to impress these people. I don't deserve the favour, really, but then again nobody else asking for the favour is any more deserving. Therefore, why shouldn't I be granted it? (Applies to both kinds of requests)

My choices are extremely limited in these endeavours by my desire to not spend all of my money. Most apartments that I can afford to live in (under my current budget rules) are pretty intensely undesirable. When I find an apartment that I actually want to live in, I can't imagine living anywhere else. I acquire an unhealthy fascination with the apartment. I'm pretty sure this is how stalkers feel. (Applies to only apartment requests, not couch requests)

This last bit is the least rational, but probably the most psychologically damaging. Many adverts just aren't friendly to me personally. Some require me to be at least 25 years old. Some require me to lease the room for at least a year. And some of them aren't friendly, period: "the room should be used for mostly sleeping and working. In exceptional cases a friend could spend the night on the couch." I think, like, I don't know, they would probably like me if they gave me a chance. But I won't get a chance. These are the same problems Olga is running into in Irvine (we have discussed this), and I think they take a heavy psychological toll. 

I may very well have 6 more weeks of this kind of inner turmoil. I think I'm going to need to just chill out.

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