ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Silver Lining In The Recession Cloud: One Man's Story - Part III

Updated on June 13, 2009

I pored over the classified section of every paper in Southern California. I looked on the bulletin boards of supermarkets and laundromats for leads. Everywhere I looked it seemed that all the properties for rent broke down Into two categories: The large apartment blocks which were run by huge management corporations, and the upstairs flats which were owned by some nosy Eastern European lady who lived downstairs with her 18 drooling cats.

Being allergic to cats, as well as nosy people, I applied to the large rental apartment management companies. Their application forms were longer and more detailed than the ones I had filled out to get a three quarter of a million dollar mortgage. And after I had finished writing, I always got the same response:

"Why did you leave the Previous Landlord space blank?" they would ask.

"I wasn't renting before. I owned my house."

"We still require a previous landlord reference, sir."

"I was my own landlord," I would reply. "Can't I give myself a reference?"

"No point in trying to be funny, sir." They would smirk. "Where are you employed?"

"I'm going to start my own business. I'll be self-employed."

They would look at me as if I had leprosy. Then they would ask, "And why did you leave the credit references lines blank?"

"I don't have any debts. I cleared off my credit cards and sent them all back."

"Well, we're sorry sir, but if you have no credit references, no verifiable employment and no rental history, we cannot consider your application."

"Since when do you need credit cards to get a place to live?" I would protest uselessly. They just tore up my applications, thanked me for considering Megalopolis Apartments, and showed me the door.

After what seemed like endless searching, I found an apartment above a garage which a jolly Oriental gentleman was going to let me have without filling out any forms. It was tiny, and at $1,450 a month, it was way overpriced, but with the deadline for moving out of my house only days away, I couldn't exactly wait for a better deal to fall into my hands.

"I'll take it, Mr. Chung," I said, shaking his hand.

"Very good, very good," Chung laughed. He always seemed to be laughing. "You can write me check for the move-in amount. And please do call me Wang."

"I'll be happy to, Wang." I pulled out a check and made it out for $1,450, nearly cleaning out my entire balance I had left in the bank.

"What is this $1,450?" Wang asked when I handed him the check.

"That would be for first month 's rent," I replied."Isn't that what you need?"

"Very sorry," Wang said. All of a sudden he was no longer laughing. "I need the first month and the last two months rent in advance, plus two months security deposit, a deposit of $500 to make sure you pay your utilities, $200 cleaning fee, $250 painting costs, and $50 key deposit."

"That's 8,250 bucks to move into a garage apartment!" I gasped. "Are you out of your mind?"

"Very, very sorry, but no tickey, no washy," Wang replied, making an ethnic joke I would have been sued for, had I said it.

This had been my last hope. There was now no time for finding any kind of permanent accomodation. With only hours to go until my deadline for moving out arrived, I found a motel which rents kitchenettes by the week. I had all my furniture put into storage, and just moved my clothes into the miniscule hole in the wall that passes for a closet.

I now have barely enough money left to last me out the month. The old Matador needs new brakes. I shop at the damaged-packages bin at Safeway to see if I can get a dented can of beans for half-price.

And I've never been happier.

I'm no longer a cog in the machine of industry. I no longer have to run on the endless treadmill of making huge amounts of money just to spend it on meaningless status symbols and overpriced toys. I don't have to twist buyers' arms to get them to order a million plastic Ultimate Fighter amulets. I don't have to worry about closing this deal so that I can pay the mortgage. No more power breakfasts at 6:30 a.m., or red-eye flights into O'Hare's, or blowing a C-note on a bottle of Dom Perignon, or racking up thousands a month on long-distance, or schmoozing hapless clients, or bull****ting the world.

I'm now free. Totally free.

I heard that in return for doing a little work a few hours a week on a freighter cargo ship, they'll drop you off wherever they stop. There's one leaving San Pedro Harbor for India next week. I've always wanted to visit Benares. See the place where Siddhartha Gautama lived and taught. Clear my mind of this insidious Western clutter and understand the real meaning of life.

I think I'll be on that freighter.

Back To Start

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Elizabeth 4 years ago

      Being in Bridal Fashion for the past 23 years, I noticed the bride not tniklag about looking forward to wearing her wedding dress. What happened to dreaming of wearing a wedding dress since she was a little girl? Where is the romance? The spotlight? The pageantry? Ah, perhaps I am old, but seeing my bride come down the isle for the first time looking amazing in her full wedding gown, with a blusher and veil no less, just took my breath away.

    • Hal Licino profile image
      Author

      Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto

      I'd love to have a Pacer. I'd fill it up with water and use it as an aquarium in my living room! :)

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 9 years ago from Chicago

      You are so lucky. I never knew anybody who owned a Gremlin AND a Matador. What, no Pacer!?

    • Hal Licino profile image
      Author

      Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto

      Alexander Mark: Thanks! I believe your example is a wonderful one, especially in a day and age where the conspicuous consumption model of the past few decades is being replace by a rediscovery of the importance of the basic joys of life!

      Dink96: Thank you very much for the kind words. I'll keep them coming as long as nice readers like you keep reading them! :)

      Gypsy Willow: I would love nothing better than to go off to sea for a few years, without any real destination, just to thoroughly enjoy the journey. It sounds like paradise!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 9 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      My brother ran away to sea and it was the making of him so maybe that's the way to go!

    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 9 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      I don't know whether to laugh or cry after I've read these, Hal.  But I relate to what you and many others are going through.  Sure, carmakers are dropping prices, but am I going to buy despite nickel & diming myself to death with my current car?  Nope.  These are tenuous times...

      Keep 'em coming, Hal.  They can't take our wit, spirit and brains!  (Okay, maybe part of the third one--ha-ha!!) ;-)

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 9 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      That was totally hilarious and sad. I absolutely can not believe that's true, but what I do believe is that one can be happier living "poorly." I am working less than half the hours I used to work, (by choice - because of school), and I love it. Because I work less, I do not feel the need to buy stuff all the time, I pay less for fuel, and eat healthier and cheaper. I have more time to sleep more when I want to, and I can get everything done I want to get done. Best of all, I have a LOT more time to write - meaning I am doing what I love, and able to make a real goal out of it. Working like a dog is really bad for your well being unless that work is something you love. But I am thankful I make better than minimum wage and money has come from places I never expected. I don't want to be poor forever, but it has given me the chance to gain a new perspective, one I always believed existed, but sat at the back of my mind like an itch I couldn't scratch until I cut my work hours and days. Great story Hal!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)