Moving House (1)

I had a studio flat in Wellingborough to look at today. I had arranged the viewing yesterday over the phone from work, for 1pm.
When I got to the street the flats were on I stood outside in the rain for fifteen minutes, until I was thoroughly drenched, watching up and down the street for signs of an Estate Agent in case I was waiting in the wrong place. I would know an Estate Agent straight away. They would be alone, in a medium priced car, probably young, definitely short-haired and clean shaven, and wearing a fancy suit and tie. The only people who look like Estate Agents are mobile phone salesmen.
I stood, waited, dripped, sneezed, wiped. The rain kept coming, but no Estate Agent appeared. I considered phoning them to ask where they were. But I didn't have their number with me. It would have to wait until I'd done the shopping and gone home.
As I was walking down the road I passed a second block of flats that hadn't been there the last time I spent any time in the town, and this block had the sign of the Estate Agent I was dealing with on a board outside, with the phone number emblazoned on it.
I phoned them. The guy who answered said he'd been out on the street looking for me for the last fifteen minutes, and he'd attempted to contact me at home before that. The building had an unexpected mould problem and they needed to reschedule the viewing so the workmen had time to repair it.
I agreed, made another appointment for next Tuesday. All the while on the phone I tried to sound as middle class as possible because the advertisement for the studio flat had asked for a "professional." Doing the rounds of the Estate Agents looking for somewhere to rent makes you feel as if your whole life were on show.
When you buy somewhere nobody cares what kind of scum you are as long as you have the readies.


Anonymous said…
A "professional"? What does that mean, really?
Bruce Hodder said…
I'm not sure really. It's something to do with your income, I think, or the clothes you wear to work--like, if you turn up for work in a boiler suit, you're not. England is still subtly driven by this kind of thing.

I wear jeans and a t-shirt to work. I wear jeans and a t-shirt EVERYWHERE. But I may be professional because I supervise 4 other people and manage the home I work in when the boss is on holiday. Who knows? Who cares? It must all, of course, be swept away--as long as it's not replaced by some hellish "democratic" state where everyone is equal as long as they are dumb or vulgar enough to be able to squeeze money out of an idiotic inhuman system--but I have to admit, I am rather fascinated by the subtleties and complexities of our social rules and behaviour.
Anonymous said…
I tell you who isn't professional, and it's the bloody estate agents.
Last time I had any dealings with them, they got paid over £2,000 for what amounted to a day's work, and the production of half a dozen A4 computer printed flyers, on which were three or four of the worst photographs I've ever seen.
If earned as much for doing so little I'd consider myself a very lucky man.
Somewhere along the way they'll make good money out of you getting soaked while you wasted your own valuable time.
Simon H
Anonymous said…
My previous job for the phone company in a call centre allowed me to wear jeans and a t shirt to work for 15 years ... but then we were all made redundant and I had to get another job, which was very scary after 15 years in the same spot. Now I work in a book shop, in the office, and I have to wear good clothes and a tie. What crap. Like anyone cares what you're wearing in a bloody book shop.
Bruce Hodder said…
I know what you mean. I've never understood why a suit and tie are supposed to project a good image and t-shirt and jeans don't. Aesthetically, most suit-and-tie combinations are quite ugly, with their bad cuts and unattractive fabrics and garish tie patterns. I saw a band called The Horrors on tv this morning who looked great in Dylanesque black suits with pegged pants, but that's a rarity. Suits go back to the era of Oscar Wilde and Victorian superiority and arrogance and many economic strata in society. I hate them.

When I'm in a bookshop what I want to see is eccentric looking teenagers with dreadlocks, wild make-up bookish spectacles and really middle-class accents--maybe with a cute speech impediment thrown in for added charm. Not suits. But to be fair, bookshops are crap in Northamptonshire. Very provincial selection of poets and writers. My local Waterstone's has no Gary Snyder, no Kerouac, no Hart Crane, no Edward Abbey--nothing. No wonder everyone I know uses Amazon instead.
Bruce Hodder said…
Yeah, Estate Agents are my bete-noire at the moment. I wish I'd had more brains and sorted this shit out when I was younger. But there you go: you unmake your bed, and then you lie in it.

And landlords! Well...I've spoken to legions of people who haven't had their deposits returned when they've left a rented property, because of unspecified repairs deemed necessary after they left. So moving from one rented place to another, nobody feels they can take the return of their deposit for granted, so they have to come up with a second £500/ £600 deposit for the new landlord. If I don't get mine back I'm going to request an itemised list of repairs that were done and their cost.