* Really all of them, shut up.
1. April 30: Tooting, £370 + £100 deposit, sublet for a month or two. Tiny room — and I mean tiny — in a neighborhood I wasn’t entirely sure about. The entire road going up to Tooting tube station smelled like food. Regional food. All mixed up. The house was nice — a bit rundown, but nice. I said I was interested though I had doubts afterwards, but I never heard back from them. The girl who was there to show me around — physiotherapy student, if I recall correctly — did say a friend of a flatmate’s was coming to see the room the next day and it was hers if she wanted it, so I assume that’s what happened. They didn’t seem to hate me or anything.
2. May 2: Shadwell, room in — I assume — family home. This was my first time on the DLR, and I did kind of like it. Shadwell itself looked better than Tooting at first, but as we (Annemari and I) got closer to our destination, it started feeling a bit… unsafe. Then the flat itself was in a big block and it was ridiculously hard to find. Once we did, the room — while nice — was showed to us by a dude who seriously gave me the creeps. I asked if I could email the girl who currently had the room and he was like, “How are you going to know it’s really her?” Pardon me?
3. May 2: Poplar. Fuck me if the place existed because we sure as hell couldn’t find it, and we walked the whole of Poplar High Street down one side and back. (It was a nice area, mostly.) I guess it does?
4. May 3: Wood Green, either a flatshare or rooms rented in a house — I really don’t know, because when I got there, the “person in charge” wasn’t there — even though I had an appointment and for once wasn’t late — and the girl who answered the doorbell insisted that I call that person, even though I told her I didn’t have a phone. It was the dumbest conversation I’ve had to date. She couldn’t show me the room or tell me when the person in charge might be home, and she didn’t seem to understand that I couldn’t call because I didn’t have a phone. Brilliance in the making. I also don’t like that area anymore.
5. May 4: Finchley Road, flatshare managed by landlord. We got there and the place was a bit rundown, but it was nice enough, quaint. The landlord was about to fall asleep in the garden, basically, but he seemed like a nice man — like a young grandfather type. One of the tenants was in, really pretty girl — I loved her room. I saw the rest of the place and felt like I could handle it, especially because the landlord heard about my financial situation and was willing to budge. He also said he had other places around London that he sometimes moved people to when he liked them.
Then the words came out: “I love lunatics.” This was brought about by I have no idea what — the fact that I’d moved to London with barely any money? He told a whole story about how lunatics are very interesting people and there was once a woman he worked with who wrote all these things about him spying on her — not true, of course, she was just crazy.
Um. I know I can’t afford to be picky, but… um.
6. May 4: Ladbroke Grove, £160 per week, room rented out by live-in landlady. Took a while to find and I didn’t pay for the two buses I took because I left my Oyster card behind, and bus drivers took pity on my sad, searching-my-bag-for-my-card-and-maybe-cash self. It really was a sad sight. Anyway, I had a travelcard so they were technically covered. Ethically. Whatever. The room was super nice — big, nice windows, a desk, an awesome chair. The only issue was that it wasn’t available until May 10. So I went off to Leicester and moved in on 14. I would stay longer if I didn’t have a catsitting thing next week and the room weren’t all booked up till June 12. I may still come back then and stay till it’s booked up again on July 8.
Oh yeah, that’s the place I am now with the two cats and the pup. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty good for morale to finally find a place I didn’t hate and where I didn’t feel like I had to impress anyone. Okay, the second thing is good for morale in retrospect. I only started feeling self-conscious and shit last week. But here we are now.[FLAT HUNTING PAUSED FOR ONE WEEK IN LEICESTERSHIRE] [POST PAUSED FOR ATTEMPT TO REMEMBER WHAT MY FIRST ALONE VIEWING WAS AND WHEN]
7. May 16: West Hampstead, £585 per month, flatshare. The area was not as nice as I expected, and the room was so small you couldn’t fit a desk in there if you tried. The couches — leather — had a ton of holes, and it seemed the people living there — at least the English girl; the guy from NZ was back home dealing with visa paperwork — weren’t very concerned with cleanliness or tidiness. The guy who showed me around was nice, at least, and I could have seen myself being able to live there — there was something lived-in about the messiness, not gross and not overwhelming but rather… lively? I felt the same way about the area, and the tube station, and the Thameslink actually. First time on that. Had to go to Streatham after. The landlord was planning on renovating the kitchen, and there would be a rent reduction then. The financial part worked out, but I work from home and I wasn’t sure about everything else. I felt like I was committing to too much as well, because the minimum term was a year even though the guy who was leaving had been there for “only” eight months. I just couldn’t make a decision.
(That one wasn’t a flat viewing, because I’d already agreed to catsit, but it went pretty well. The area wasn’t the nicest, but it was close to Streatham Common, and the house was small and nice, and Francesca and her boyfriend were super friendly. Also, the kitten! The kitten, you guys.)
8. May 18, Mile End/Victoria Park, sublet for five weeks, £580. I wanted this, and I was turned down, and I understand why. I really wouldn’t have fit in. There was the issue of smoking — they did only in the kitchen, but I know they weren’t happy when I said “please don’t” when they asked if they could smoke right in front of me — and they were overwhelmingly social. My anxiety was doing cartwheels when I got back. I was thinking about it in terms of the availability is perfect (it was) and how I could survive for five weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely liked the people I met — they were also unfairly attractive — but it’s probably for the best that they decided to look for another person.
I just wish I hadn’t been so sure I blew off two other viewings for it. Also, now I worry about whether people will deliberately say no to me because I’m a weirdo.
On the upside, I did feel very proud of myself for coming back a different way I went there, and kind of winging it too. Bank is very empty and very beautifully lit at night, if anyone’s wondering.
9. May 19, Uxbridge Road, flatshare. We got our wires crossed, and by wires I mean transport and emails: I didn’t see an email I’d been sent before I got on my very late bus until quite a bit after. The house was right above a shop and the doorbells may or may not have worked. Half of them were torn out. No one was there to show me around, but it seemed like it was mostly guys. I don’t know. I wasn’t feeling good about it anyway, because the ad had a name on it and the messages had another and the email was a third. I didn’t even know if I was sharing a place with people or if it was a two-bedroom apartment someone was renting out or what.
10. May 19, Willesden Junction, sublet in a flatshare from May 26 to July 3 (lease is up), £540 + bills. If this isn’t taken by the time I decide, I would go for it. Honestly, it was a nice house and I liked the neighborhood even at night and after getting vaguely lost (I’d planned my route from the place I’m staying in, by bus, and ended up going by tube). Everyone seemed friendly in a relaxed, quiet way, and the girl who showed me around was so pretty, and the room was very nice, too — no desk, but storage furniture that could easily be used as one. I liked it. I really did. If it had been for longer I’d have taken it immediately.
Lesson learned: the trains in the Circle line have really bouncy seats. So cool.
11. May 20, Acton, £500 a month, rooms rented out in a family home. I really liked this one. I met the landlady at the speed flatmating event and she agreed to show me the room after that ended. I was a bit of a wreck the whole way and I’m so embarrassed of how much I shared about my life and my mental health, mostly because I don’t know if it helped or hindered the possibility of actually living there. She’s showing the room to a couple of other people, and said she’d let me know on Thursday. She has a cat, and the house is gorgeous and so beautifully maintained, and the room was tiny — you couldn’t walk in without folding up the bed — but had a desk, and the bathroom was right across the hall from it. I was basically like, I’ll take it if you’ll have me. So we’ll see about that, I guess.
As for the speed flatmating event, it was at a pub in Hammersmith, and you could barely hear people. I’m not sure how I made it through in one piece without having a breakdown considering I didn’t have any lorazepam today, but here I am, still alive! Despite getting in cars with strangers. (Okay, with one stranger, who was bemused/amused by my paranoia when I said I’d rather go back by tube then get in a car with her and her husband, who was coming to pick her up. Look — look, I gave her my blog URL, so maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I was paranoid about going back with her at all. I’ve been paranoid about just about every flat viewing I’ve done on my own, and some I did with Annemari. I don’t think it’s that unfounded. There’s reasonable self-preservation to it, not just anxiety.)
Maybe my social anxiety has just flatlined. I don’t know. I wasn’t thriving on it, I didn’t enjoy it, certain people I talked to — or who talked to me — made me feel awkward — or extremely uneasy — but I got through it, and I’m okay, it seems.
Tomorrow, I’m taking some of my luggage to Streatham, and on Thursday I’m moving in. I have a lovely shipment coming to me as a review sample pack, and I’m very excited about showing you. I’ll be alone for a week, and I’m very excited about that, too.
I also have a flat viewing in Brixton, and maybe I’ll have something lined up by the end of the weekend. I want to focus on finding work — preferably full-time — and doing work, too. It needs to be priority #1, not #2.
And honestly, I just fucking hate flathunting, so the sooner — and the longer — I can stop worrying about it, the happier I’ll be.