I don’t know where I live. No, I’m not wandering around unfamiliar neighbourhoods stopping people in the street and asking if they know who I am and where my house is. It must be said, however, that I am reaching an age where these things might be expected.
I suppose a more accurate statement would be, I don’t know where home is. And it’s no good trotting out trite aphorisms like, home is where the heart is. The ANC and a succession of insane women have turned my heart into a lump of coal.
After recently being evicted, I spent a couple of weeks drifting around the Cape Peninsula, staying in overpriced Airbnbs in overrated neighbourhoods for a few nights at a time. I’m not massively enthusiastic about renting a converted garage for R14k a month, which is about the cheapest long-term stay you’re going to find on Airbnb in the Deep South.
And I don’t want to lock myself into a contract. A lease is a leash. I need to be able to move at very short notice. And not because anyone’s looking for me. In fact, if I was wanted, I’d probably be tempted to put down a small root. But nobody wants me, which is best for all concerned.
I made the rookie mistake of googling a few properties. Within half a day, the real estate companies were on me like cane rats on a baby dove. The algorithms drove me right into their predatory clutches. I was a helpless human bait ball being torn apart in a feeding frenzy of estate agents.
One unsolicited bite out of my quivering flank came in the form of an offer of an apartment in a sprawling, brutalist complex on Muizenberg’s wild side.
“This delightful two-bedroom apartment is seeking new tenants.” Oh, dear. They’ve started to anthropomorphise the stock. Poor little apartment. Makes you think of an abandoned and yet somehow delighted dog looking for a new home. It’s not the owner desperately looking for tenants to help pay for his third stint in rehab. Oh, no. It’s the lonely apartment that needs company.
It’s also sun-drenched. Drenched? Does it even have a roof? I’m not sure it’s a good idea for anyone to be drenched in sun when we’ve killed half the ozone layer. Also, a mysterious cosmic ray called Amaterasu slammed into the earth and nobody knows where it came from. It’s lead-lined blackout curtains for me, thanks.
The unit is “nestled” on the ground floor. You know what else nestles on the ground? Guineafowl, quite likely the stupidest bird that ever lived. If you’re going to nestle on the ground floor, expect to lose your eggs, babies, TV and possibly your life. Don’t believe me? Show me a guineafowl who still has his TV.
“The property boasts sliding doors that open onto a stunning nature conservation area…” This is code for “urban wasteland that nobody can build on because local gangs have claimed it for themselves”. Also, “boasts”? Sliding doors have been around for a long time. It’s nothing to brag about.
The advert claims that the beach is a leisurely stroll away. I know this area. You’d be lucky to reach the beach without having your kidneys harvested. In these parts, there is no strolling. There is only running and screaming.
The bathroom is “thoughtfully” fitted with a shower, bathtub, toilet and sink. How nice. A less considerate person might not have bothered with such extravagances and simply offered a tiled room with a bucket to wash and poo in.
There are also aluminium burglar bars “to enhance your peace of mind”. Yes, that should stop a couple of guys who spend their weekends blowing up ATMs. The only thing that can truly enhance a South African’s peace of mind is dual Singaporean citizenship.
There is, however, a shared braai area “perfect for socialising and making new friends”. Whoever wrote this advert has clearly never lived in a housing estate in a dodgy part of town. Not long after meeting your new friends, you’ll be stabbing each other in the face with braai forks and trying to shag each other’s wives. It’s the reason caged rats turn on each other, although that might also be the drugs.
“Parking will never be a concern.” I imagine not, since most residents will have had their cars stolen, leaving them to rely on the leisurely stroll to get around.
Both bedrooms feature built-in cupboards “for added storage”. The things cupboards are capable of these days. Added storage, you say? I always thought they were tiny rooms where you put the children when they misbehaved.
The estate is pet-friendly, but not so friendly that you don’t have to submit an application for “pet occupancy” before moving in. Alsatians presumably have to take a lie detector test.
“Dogs must be well-behaved, quiet and non-aggressive.” It’s a good thing these criteria aren’t applied to residents. The place would be empty.
“Your pet’s excellent references will be a must.” The only pets I know that come with references are Siamese cats. The rest come with mental issues and past-life trauma.
I’m told that I need to provide bank statements, proof of income and identification, a certified copy of my genotype, a sperm sample and a video of me singing the national anthem while standing on one leg.
I think I’ll take it.