Monday, February 4, 2008

The Puppet Show

A week or so ago, I had the unfortunate opportunity to sign a new lease committing me to burning just that much more cashover the next year while I continue to rent and not buy. Small price to pay to be in Uptown, right? This unoriginal nugget of our town we cherish so much, where the rent is high and the number of SMU co-signed leases even higher.

Every once in awhile, I get a glimpse of why I suck it up and pay the astronomical rent - on those beautiful days like yesterday when walking down the street to whatever bar might currently occupy what is now BlackFriar feels like a luxury and not a chore. Or when I remember that I have no choice but to live in this topographically-challenged city, and that $1500/month would be cheap in Manhattan or LA. I get to enjoy a tight-knit, ever-growing, downright fun area of a city I love for a fraction of what I could anywhere else. That alone just happens to be something to be thankful for.

Unfortunately, as I was signing away my life recently, I realized how commercial this Uptown haven has become. I know that's quite the Captain Obvious statement on its own, and obviously, from Victory Park all the way to Knox/Henderson there is a plethora of manufactured "originality" that benefits daily any one of the hundreds of corporations that have grasped the opportunity to commercially develop in this part of town.

One of those just happens to be an apartment developer we have all gotten to know very well over the past few years, as it has continued to build McMansion apartments all over town, while charging rent rates you couldn't possibly imagine anyone would be dense enough to pay. Yet, there I sat. Dense. Writing a check I would have thrown up at the idea of writing, much less signing, just a few years ago.

As my first week of the new year progressed, I soon realized that my Friday move-in date would cause quite an issue for me logistically, so I made a phone call. I expected that with the insane amount of rent I would be paying this complex over the next twelve months, making a small adjustment for me would be no problem at all.

I was wrong.

Picking up my keys the evening before I was to move in was apparently an issue. "Seriously?" I asked. "You guys can't be flexible with me by one day?"

I was then succinctly read what had to have been a script with some line about corporate policy, and if I wanted to change my move-in date, they would be happy to do that for the additional-day fee.

"Okay...?" I said, in my sarcastically-questioning tone.

"So, if I keep my move-in date on Friday, then will my keys be couriered to me at midnight that evening, since I am paying for that entire day, yet won't have access to my apartment? Or will you simply be prorating my rent for the 9 hours I won't be able to access my keys?"

I quickly realized my sarcastic tendencies had just pissed off the leasing office of the place I would call home for the next year, which was probably not the smartest move I could have made - squibbling over about $30 in total.

But it's the principal, damnit. The principal. I'd have to bet that many a dumbass move has been made on principal throughout history, and I was simply adding my name to the list.

But more eye-opening than that little event in itself was the heartless, service-last mentality that has been infused into this little place we call Uptown. We are all, like it or not, bending over and grabbing our ankles on a daily basis - and not caring one bit. And because there is an eighteen year-old backed by a couple of cash cows waiting in the wings to take my place, negotiation suddenly loses its weight or even appeal.

This city started as an SMU co-ed with a fake ID and a parent's credit card with no regard for price or consequence, and has turned into an aging, tanning bed-wrinkled, late-twenties adult surrounded with bright lights, expensive stores, unlimited $10 drinks and a mailbox full of credit card bills. Dallas, where have you gone?

I know I could make a statement. I know I could move north, or east or west. But as your rent prices so boldly declare, that would not be nearly as much fun.

So, here I am. Getting raped. Which, aside from snakes, is quite possibly my biggest fear. And I'm letting it happen. Asking for it, really.

Those monthly Saturday brunches better be fucking good... or else, or else... I'll keep paying my rent on time and continue to contribute to all that is wrong with this city. Soo... so, there.


katy said...

amen. so true, sadly.

Cash McMogulson's blacksheep bastard child said...

i usually enjoy your posts, despite the slight twinge of guilt-laden envy that peeks through your words. But this one is just too much. The hypocrisy shines through this post like the august sun through the windshield of my mercedes, er, I mean used honda. Come live with real Dallasites and rent a house with character in lakewood heights. The people (for the most part) are older, cooler, smarter, and not in as much debt. And as your nurse your hangover with brunch at matt's el rancho, kitchen 1924, etc., you'll realize that your soul feels just a little bit better east of the uptown bubble. Well, at least until you see that mcmansion under construction across the street.

Jackie O said...

I'd love to meet you at Matt's, whose patio is incredible, and margaritas even moreso, but my new passport doesn't get here until next week... raincheck?

And I must apologize, I thought my guilt-laden envy was boldly glaring versus slightly peeking... I'll do better next time. You know what they say, a weak MO is no MO at all.

All my love,

cash mcmogulson's blacksheep bastard child said...

I hope you had your highlights touched up before that passport photo - I'm not sure they'd let you through customs on I-75 with your roots showing.

And no, no, I think it works better with the guilt-laden envy as merely an undertone to your louder (and funnier) M.O. of critical sarcasm. If it was the envy that always glared, you might as well be from Richardson.