Tuesday, April 08, 2008


At the start of the year The Flatmate decided to spread his wings and find a place of his own. There comes a point in every man's life when living in someone's back bedroom just doesn't cut it any more, and in The Flatmate's case, this point didn't come until he was in his mid-40s. So I suppose my bank account and I should be grateful it lasted this long.

Planning to move out and moving out are, however, entirely different things. Perth is a boom town, and that means skyrocketing rents and a shortage of rental properties. According to the experts a 2% vacancy rate basically means that every house available for rent is rented - the 2% vacancy just covers the few hours of emptiness between one tenant leaving and a new one arriving - and right now Perth has a vacancy rate of 1.8%. That means that houses are being rented out before they're vacated, which no doubt causes all sorts of friction.

So despite being a quiet and orderly tenant, and despite a willingness to pay hundreds of dollars more per week than he paid me, The Flatmate couldn't find any place to rent. Every time he managed to find a place it would go before he had a chance to apply for it. On the rare occasions that he managed to get an application in, the house would inevitably go to someone else, mostly families with little kids who could spin a good story about the misery of living in their car.

I think he found it very depressing. There's nothing quite so disconcerting as announcing, "Goodbye, good luck and I'm outta here!" only to find that nobody else wants you. None of the estate agents were even remotely interested in him. Certainly none of them ever phoned me to check on his references, a situation which seemed to make him just a trifle suspicious. I'm sure in his most uncharitable moments he suspected that there were conversations like this going on:

Estate Agent: Hello Mr Blandwagon, I'm calling about Mr Flatmate, who has applied for one of our properties. Is he a good tenant?

Me: (faced with losing my cash cow) Er... um... he's the best! He never bogarts the bong, he shares all his midget porn, and whenever he sacrifices a goat to his Dark Lord, he always remembers to keep the black candles away from the smoke alarm!

Estate Agent: *click* *dial tone*

But after months of searching he's finally managed to find someone willing to take large wads of his money in return for a house. On Friday he signed the lease, and on Saturday he enthusiastically moved his bed, his TV and his desk up to the new house.

And 24 hours later he was sleeping in my guest bedroom, having discovered that until he acquires some appliances, furniture, cookware, dinnerware and random junk like toilet brushes and ironing boards, his new home is pretty much uninhabitable. He'll have it all in a week or so, but he’s learnt a golden lesson about modern life: never underestimate just how much stuff one needs to live.


Anonymous Matthew Jarvis said...

Forget ironing boards and toilet brushes! What about:

A computer
The Tubes
A big screen TV
A DVD player
A coupla-dozen episodes of MST3K
Funky speakers
A Sofa!

How can anyone live without a sofa?

3:38 AM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

I agree. Only the most depraved pervert would attempt to live without a sofa.

9:29 AM  
Blogger TimT said...

Experts in stuffology agree, without large amounts of stuff, you're life would be stuffed.

8:08 PM  
Blogger TimT said...

My use of apostrophes is certainly stuffed!

5:11 AM  
Anonymous TroyG said...

What are you charging for the room?
Would you consider the exchange of "Goodbye" for "May your forehead grow like the mighty oak" a positive or negative in a flatmate?

12:48 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

It depends. If the flatmate is called Brak and tries to use his photon ray to blow up my wood-panelled station wagon, then I'd suspect I'd be trading down.

For all his faults, The Flatmate never bred mutants or tried to hang a picture of a burger on the wall, at least not to the best of my knowledge.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous TroyG said...

So it's okay to hang an actual burger on the wall? And maybe the Flatmate did breed mutants, and when you thought he was just a clean freak, the fresh scent of pine was really the olfactory indicator of a dissolving self-cleaning mutant.

10:28 AM  

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