I had a dream last night that we went to see a house for rent on a day in early summer. It was sunny, but overcast and brooding; exactly how it gets in Kansas when the weathermen are threatening a big storm.
When we arrived, it was a small ranch-styled building with fading whitewashed walls and peeling window frames. It was in a really run-down trailer park, and I could see that there were gaps in the foundation. We climbed the crumbling front steps and opened the front door.
Inside, the linoleum floor was peeling and the walls had spots of water damage. There were old appliances, unplugged and neglected, standing in a gutted kitchen. The rooms were small and the ceilings low.
We stepped through the back door to find a dirt yard with patches of grass, littered with scrap metal. The yard tapered down to a maze of leaning chain-link fences and a half-dozen-or-so 70’s hot tubs filled with aging truckers and their heavy wives.
They waived and smiled with toothless mouths.
Back inside, we found the stairs to the lower level. It was very dark, and smelled musty and damp. Descending, the house opened up into a large, garden-level apartment filled with disco balls and glass-topped tables. Every single inch of the walls and ceiling was carpeted in thick, burnt-orange shag.
After we left, my wife and I talked on the car ride home. I quickly became aware that it was my job to sell her on the idea of moving in. “You know, with some refurbishing, and if we removed the carpet, they said they were going to paint, and we can get new appliances. You see, we can’t really afford to say no, it’s only $315 a month.”
I woke up covered in sweat to my alarm ringing cheerily. This apartment-hunting thing is ruining my normal sleep cycle; and I can’t get that carpeting out of my mind.