When you tell people that you live in a big city, they naturally assume that your living arrangements include living arrangements. Like that you have a place to sleep at night. But here’s the thing: Munich’s housing market is at a seller-to-buyer ratio of like 1 to 15,000. This means that at any given time there will be four open apartments and 60,002 apartment-seekers. And three weeks ago when I moved to Munich, I bumped that apartment-seeking number up to a rotund 60,003.
For my first two weeks in Munich, I stayed in a house that a lady was renting out to international students and the like while she went on vacation. So I got to sleep on the couch in the living room of a house that also sheltered a German girl and guy and a French girl from the horrors of homelessness. This arrangement was only for two weeks, though, so as soon as I got settled into my living room lifestyle, I hit up WG Gesucht, a fancy German website that’s like Match.com for desperate apartment-seekers. I sent out emails to over 30 people who wanted to sublet their apartments, and ended up getting invited to go look at three of them.
The first two I looked at on the Night of the First Snow. It was raining and snowing and carrying on during my entire adventure, so of course I was both frozen solid and soaking wet when I arrived at the first apartment. But thankfully I had an umbrella. I met my two prospective roommates, a German dude and a Swedish dude with a full-blown 80s mustache. The German dude gave me a tour of the apartment while Mustache stayed in the living room and talked to a French girl who was also there to look at the apartment. After I saw my potential room’s view of the Alps, Mustache’s model airplane collection, and the German dude’s curtain-for-a-door bedroom, we rejoined Mustache and Croissant in the living room, where I did my best impersonation of An Interesting Person. I told them that I would play rock-paper-scissors with Croissant to win the room. But Croissant was too afraid of my Ouachita Baptist University Rock-Paper-Scissors Champion title, so instead I threw the rock against Curtain and won, of course. Then Curtain and Mustache told us that about ten other people were coming to look at the apartment, and that they would let us know who they picked to join them in holy roommate-rimony in the next few days.
I left that apartment feeling pretty good about myself because clearly my rock-paper-scissors skillz were still as sharp as knives, and clearly I was going to get that room, Alps view and all. But I decided to hedge my bets by going to the other two apartments just in case.
At the second apartment, the girl who was moving out showed me around. While we looked at the rooms, I noticed that there was a rowdy gathering of about eight people in the living room. “Oh, they’re having a party tonight and they’ve invited me over to meet their friends,” I thought. “That’s nice of them.” I even sat down and talked to everyone for a while, which was fun for the first 59 minutes. After a whole hour of chit-chat had passed, though, I decided it was time for me to make my escape. So I interrupted the banter and started asking questions about the apartment. BUT THEN, to my horror, EVERYONE ELSE STARTED ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE APARTMENT TOO. Because this was no get-together of friends. No. This was a social nightmare on par with The Bachelor. Because apparently neither Brad Womack nor these two gals had time to meet people individually and at least pretend like they are special and not just competing for the grand prize of winning.
Somehow I knew that my rock-paper-scissors skillz were not going to do the trick, so I packed myself up and high-tailed it out of that apartment as fast as I could. But in my rush I forgot my umbrella. I tried to ring the doorbell and knock on the door and call the girls 50 times, but my desperation fell on deaf ears, and to this day I don’t have an umbrella.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of “Searching for a Place to Lay My Head”!