A Londoner in New York part 3: Craigslist and the Cat Bully

As you may recall from my last blog, my entrance into America was not quite the seamless process I had planned (or rather not planned). After having no sleep for about 36 hours, I figured it was as good a time as any to go off in search of an apartment, and set up a couple of appointments from places I’d seen advertised on Craigslist. Granted, the site was far from ideal given that all of my enquiries up to that point had resulted in emails from envelope selling Philipino scam artists, but in between fending off their demands for $5000 bank transfers and people looking for ‘chilled nudists to share a bed with,’ there were a couple of promising leads.

The first place I went to was on the Upper West Side, and I was pleasantly surprised by the fact it was a decent little space in a neighbourhood that didn’t seem totally murderous. The couple living there seemed – shock horror – normal, and after half an hour of us chatting away, I thought I pretty much had it in the bag. Except, what do you know, I get a text a few hours later saying they’d given the place to someone who paid up front. Now this got me worrying a little, as I was on TOP BLOODY FORM for those 30 minutes I spent in that flat, and if me at my best wasn’t appealing enough, I had no hope in hell of finding anywhere. I mean, I even pretended to find it amusing that the girl was Asian yet had a Greek name (seriously, stop the press) so I was feeling pretty fucking slighted that I’d listened to all that inane shite if I wasn’t even going to get a room out of it.

Anyway, more apartment hunting ensued, and a particularly fun Sunday of traipsing all over Manhattan to no avail did nothing to allay my fears of homelessness. Highlights of the weekend included me travelling half an hour to a place, calling to say I was outside and then being told it had been rented less than five minutes beforehand, and spending so much money in Starbucks to use their wifi that I feared being able to pay rent at all.

So the weekend was pretty shitsville, but there was little time to contemplate the poopiness as my internship started on Monday. Needless to say, I haven’t really done anything in my week there but at least one of the interns is nice so I have someone to cry into my $9 salad with at lunchtimes. More Craigslist trawling ensued on my first day in the office, and that night, I scheduled a viewing after work. AND GUESS WHAT. The place seemed relatively normal, and I was gearing up to sign on the dotted line. But then some smug American bastard working in the Financial District came to look round at the same time, and did that typical American thing of being really emphatic about things (“I just LOVE this couch.” It’s a fucking couch) while I stood quietly in the corner, being, well, British. I’d had enough of apartment hunting and couldn’t be bothered to let this one slip through the net too, so we had a kind of mini-stand-off for about 15 minutes, with both of us refusing to leave and trying to suss out the other’s stance. Eventually I won out, and as soon as he’d walked out the door, I agreed to take the place, cat and all.

Yes, you read that correctly. I now have a cat. Those of you who know me well will probably be thinking – ‘you hate cats! Didn’t you once come to a dress-as-what-you-hate party as a cat?’ To which I would say yes, you are correct (although that outfit was more a result of unimaginative fancy dress than true distaste). But I am not a feline fan – they have mistrusting eyes and get run over a lot, and that is not what I look for in a pet. Anyway, I digress, I now have a cat, and because my roommates are conveniently allergic to it (don’t ask), I now have to feed and water it and KEEP IT ALIVE. Which kind of feels like a big deal.

You’d think old whiskers might be grateful for my efforts, but you would be very wrong. We had a little showdown at around 5am this morning, when I kindly went to open the door for it in case it wanted some air. And what did it do? Cornered me into one part of the living room until I fed it. It is probably quite worrying that I – a person with a degree – am being outwitted by a creature that spends half its time licking its own arsehole, but I’m not going to dwell.

There is no way of skirting round the issue: I am being bullied by a cat. It has spent the last hour scratching at my bedroom door, and I’m scared of incurring its wrath if I actually open up. I did have respect for the cat initially (particularly when I thought it had gone missing and then found it in the allergic guy’s bed), but things have taken a very sorry turn, and I don’t think we are friends any longer. I did have plans to go out today, but Evel Knievel kitty is trying to put the kaibosh on that. Only time will tell who emerges victorious. Until next time…



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