Better housing worth selling bodily fluids

Better housing worth selling bodily fluids

by Kate Paulman

It was possibly the strangest swearing I’ve ever done.

But when a dresser drawer literally dissolved in my hand, I lost it.

“What the hell?” I yelled. “Seriously. What the clustered effing hell?”

I’d pulled the drawer out of the dresser to compare drawer size. It rolled smoothly and then, lo and behold, the front panel broke at both corners and the bottom went askew.

“What is this?” I said. “Termites? Or is it really just this shitty?”

I’m still not sure.

I spent two full days moving into my Simpson-owned apartment. Rather, I spent two full days moving into my tiny, cramped, 70s-era Simpson-owned apartment. One of the burners doesn’t work. The door handle isn’t actually screwed into the door. The electric sockets have no reset switch, and the toilet never flushes on the first try.

It has no central air. There’s no overhead light in the living room, and in the hallway there’s no light fixture, just a bare bulb. There isn’t a shower drain plug, just a silver strainer cover so anyone’s hair – from their head or elsewhere – will simply collect around the drain.

The big bedroom is barely large enough for the college-provided furniture. The smaller bedroom is barely big enough to change your pants in. When I plug my hair dryer into the solo bathroom outlet, the light dims and the dryer barely runs. And, apparently, someone else’s door code works to let her into my apartment.

The good news is there’s a doorbell – so anyone can reach us late at night, no matter how soundly we’re sleeping.


But, best of all, I’m paying $1,582 for all this. Okay, my parents are actually paying $1,582 for this, but it’s the dang principle.

When you add in my three roommates, this apartment is $6,328 for the semester. As a group, we pay $1,580 every month.

Do you know what kind of apartment four people could rent for $1,580 a month in Iowa? About any kind they want, that’s what.

What’s worse, I’m living in the shadow of the magical Station Square apartments, costing a measly $213 per year more than Washington. I’d find $213 more just to have two bathrooms – not to mention the central air, enormous bedrooms and living room, dishwashers and balconies. I’d probably sell one of my kidneys to decrease my bathroom-roommate ratio from 1:4 to 1:2 – I hear they’re going for about $213 nowadays. Or plasma. Maybe I could just sell plasma. In one month, I could earn that $213.

As if my current situation weren’t hard enough, I’m living with the lingering, sweetly sad memory of Hamilton Apartments – spacious, spacious Hamilton. Hamilton, with it’s large bedrooms and closets and balconies for everyone. I could’ve performed Swan Lake in my Hamilton living room.

It’s ridiculous that it costs the same amount to live in Washington as it does to live in Hamilton. Having never lived in Weinman or Detroit, I can’t speak to their conditions. But it stands to reason that there’s a distinct hierarchy in terms of apartment quality on campus. Why else would some apartments go like hotcakes at room selection while some are treated like fat kids in gym class?

Ah, memories …

It doesn’t seem reasonable that all the apartments, save one building, cost the same.

There should be some kind of price break for living in an apartment where it takes two hours to discover how to configure the room so the beds don’t have to be bunked. At 21 years old, I think my roommate and I have earned the privilege of not having to call dibs for the bottom bunk anymore. Maybe I’m a snob, but I don’t feel like either of us should have to scramble up or down the ladder. Plus my mom would worry about me falling out of bed – and rightly so.

In Washington, I feel like I’m trapped in a game of cell-phone Snake when I try to walk from the closet to my bed – forward, left, right, forward – ooooh, that was a close one – and then right.

I’m stunned and upset the way only college seniors can be – in a still-idealistic, this-is-unfair-and-should-be-righted kind of way.

I thought a group of four seniors – all with good grades – would’ve earned an apartment a bit nicer than this one.

I guess that’s just the luck of the draw – but don’t get me started on that.