My roommate, Sam, is basically a ghost who I very rarely run into in the apartment. I’ve seen him a handful of times the whole half of a year that I’ve lived here, and it’s usually late at night when he gets home from a long day at work. He’s sitting at the kitchen table eating a burrito and then he crawls into his room, and by the time the next day rolls around, he’s out of the house again. Well, he just got a new job in Oakland, and his girlfriend lives in Oakland, so he has decided he’s officially moving out (to Oakland). That means bye bye burrito ghost and hello new roommate!
I was kind of excited when my roomie Alison asked me to write the Craigslist ad and sift through responses. She’s been busy professionally and had some personal things going on, so she appreciates the help. And I would rather be involved in the process than not, because 1. I have a good radar for creepy people and 2. I do not like creepy people. So I put up an ad for a room and for the first time in my life—ever—I am on the other side of the Craigslist apartment hunt. The power! The POWER! Insert evil laugh!!!
I posted 2 ads, one in the sublet section and one in the rooms section, even though what we’re offering is just a sublet. Whenever I went to see rooms or sublets when I was Craigslist hunting, the people I met were all, “Oh my gaaawd, we had SO many responses, it was just overwhelming!” And I had quite a lot of responses, but I’m not gonna lie, it didn’t shock me or anything. I would say for the room I posted, which is an insanely good deal, we received less than 40. Sure, it’s a lot, but it’s not a crazy amount. If I really wanted to, I could have responded to all of them.
The problem is, I’m busy. Like, really busy. I had a friend in town, I’m working both Saturdays and Sundays two weekends in a row (which is just exhausting), I have advanced film acting on Tuesday nights, I’m taking a dance class now and then, and I have rehearsal Thursdays. I don’t really have the time to meet with 40 people, or even 10 people. I had to have a serious filtering system so that I only met with the creme de la creme.
The system might change slightly based on what we were looking for, but it was roughly this:
I do not want teh cancers. Also, my roommate has migraine issues.
Improper grammar or capitalization? Out
I’m a stickler.
Couples? Sorry, not in our lease. Out
Also, it would be kind of cramped.
Uses “lol” or “haha” excessively? Out
Have some self-respect.
Out of town? Out
This is harsh, because the whole reason I was able to come out to San Francisco to visit a few years back is because some gal trusted me enough ACROSS THE COUNTRY that I was cool and stuff and not a murderer. So I sent her money, she sent me a key. But I just don’t have the time to stress over it. So, out.
Too young? Too old? Out
Another harsh one. I find nothing wrong with you if you are 21 or 49 and looking for a room. It’s just that I like the dynamic we have in the apartment now, with me being the youngest. And whatever, I’m an old soul sort of so I get along with people a few years my senior. But not too senior. I know, picky!
Diss something I like? Out
Someone wrote “I’m really into watching movies (weird?).” Um, no. Not weird. Lots of people watch movies, I watch movies, I like movies, I hope to work in films, what’s weird about that, why is watching movies weird to you, YOU ARE WEIRD. Out!
Okay, so that ruled out a surprising amount of people. Then there were the people who just stood out and the people who didn’t, which is a lot easier to handle.
But what’s really been bugging my conscience is: what do I do with all the leftover emails? The smokers, the couples, the
weird cine-philes, the people who admitted their obsession with “Jersey Shore”? For the first three or so I encountered, I tried writing a polite email back. “Thanks for your interest, but we don’t want your cancer/we’re not allowed to have couples/I have a thing against Snooki/etc.” But that’s sort of exhausting, sort of a waste of time, and honestly, I don’t want all those people to have my email. So I did the freeing thing that all Craigslist room-posters must sadly do.
Delete, delete, delete.
I felt terrible doing it at first. I mean, I always appreciated responses when looking for rooms, even if they were no’s. It’s nice to know my effort didn’t go unnoticed and that someone, anyone, was actually reading my numerous emails. But I also felt kind of mean telling people why we didn’t want them. “Thanks for checking the ad, but your excessive use of ‘lol’ really turned me off. Best of luck!” Or, “You’re 24, and I’m 24, and I like to be the youngest in our dynamic here. Sucks for you, other 24 year-old in San Francisco. Happy hunting!” And yeah, I could lie and say we’d found someone, but I’m a terrible liar, even via email. Also, what if the month ended and we actually hadn’t found someone? Irony!
And some of the responses I didn’t feel terrible deleting—mostly the ones where I could tell they didn’t read my ad carefully or just sort of sent out a mass text to advertise themselves instead of really responding. But the thoughtful ones made me feel bad to delete. And what’s going to happen the next time I have to look for a room? Hopefully that’s far far away, but seriously. I’ll be sending out tons of emails and the majority will just get deleted. Karma!
But then I realized, my deleting is the karma. That is correct, I am the karma. I’ve searched for apartments a number of times. There was the summer in Washington Heights, the year Bay Ridge, then another year in Bay Ridge, then a few months in Kensington, then a year in Queens, then San Francisco. How many times have I been deleted? Countless! So my deleting of all the weirdos and creepy people and Snookis and smokers and couples and old farts and frat boys is simply the karma that all those people had coming to them.
And yes, I realize that isn’t necessarily how karma works, but it puts my mind at ease. So let’s just leave it at that.