House Hunting

7 August 2001

Hi. I’ve started work, and am looking for a place to stay near to Rich­mond Station. If you have any leads, let me know!

Or maybe not: I’m ac­tu­ally quite en­joy­ing going to house interviews. You get to see how people live–how they set their lounge room up, the posters they stick on their walls, where they stash their shoes–and you also get to ask per­sonal ques­tions of people just as soon as you meet them–what do you do? how old are you? what sort of hours do you keep? do you cook? It’s a glo­ri­ously voyeuris­tic experience.

Someone com­pared it the thrill of watch­ing Big Brother but it also reminds me of Fight Club and Jack and Marla’s (ab)use of support groups for the ter­mi­nally ill. Night after night after night to a dif­fer­ent group they go: the meet­ings of course seep with anguish and grief, death and dying, but in fact neither Jack nor Marla is looking for any­thing so morbid: what draws them in is the emotion raw strangers put out. You don’t cus­tom­ar­ily get strangers crying on your shoul­der at some point between your Ikea-filled home and work. Or between work and your Ikea-filled home. People can sit right next to you on the subway, talk to someone on their mobile phone, and com­pletely ignore you. This is why it’s nec­es­sary to fight, to turn placid, im­pas­sive strangers into men of mutual hate.

Doing house in­ter­views doesn’t come close to cap­tur­ing the emo­tional grit of a support group or a fight, but it does (I would say) fall on the same axis. Perfect strangers are kind, wel­com­ing and interested. They show you round, offer you coffee, talk about their future plans; and you do the same.

It’s all very interesting, and it’s not yet (after two weekends) tiresome. But I do hope I find a suit­able some­where soon.

I’ve added some things to Beebo.Org recently: there’s now a colophon and a search page. There’s also a list of words I’ve looked up on-line.