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Dear Landlord Dude:

I saw your ad in the Post and called you yesterday afternoon. The apartment you were offering sounded good enough: 1700 block of Corcoran, $1900, one-bedroom described either as “sunny” or “cozy” or “featuring hardwood floors.”

I thought: I just can’t swing that kind of rent. Not even sharing that kind of rent. No way. Not unless I want stomach aches and no fun for the rest of my life (or at least through the terms of a one-year lease). But screw it. You told me to meet your guy at 5 p.m.

When your guy called my cellphone at 4:30 p.m. to ask where I was, I explained the 5 p.m. meeting time. I was “sunny” on the phone. I told your guy I could change our meet-up time to 4:40 p.m. I showed you—-or your guy—-that I could be whimsical, flexible, and carefree. I showed that if say the A/C didn’t work I could play along, adjust my schedule to fit your schedule. That’s just the kind of person I am: “sunny.”

But anyway. Thanks for wasting my time. Your ad said nothing about the rundown closet, the stove that looked like it had last given heat to a crack pellet, and the hardwood floors being just the right shade of beat up. Nor did your ad promote the view from the small living room: a Supercan.

I wouldn’t normally care. But you kind of ruined my afternoon. We renters take your ads as truth. They swiftly become the start up points for little dreams. Not big dreams of flat-screen televisions and warm glasses of cocoa. But simpler stuff like being able to live reasonable and sort-of content. We think of all the good times we’d have with your hardwood floors and central AC. So when we show up to find our dreams replaced with the outlines of a slum, we can only be disappointed. Deeply disappointed.

I ended up leaving your rental after about 10 seconds inside. I didn’t need to inspect the small closet to realize I ain’t ready for a $1900 un-sunny junior one-bedroom with view of Supercan.

Walking away, I filled 17th Street with whispered curse words about fairness and the impossibility of living here. Talk about crushed dreams. Two years ago, an ambitious resident could find a two-bedroom dump for $1900.

Not any more. Now there are only over-priced one-bedroom dumps.


Jason Cherkis

P.S. 17th Street NW hasn’t changed in at least 10 years. It still sucks. Charging $1900 to live within walking distance of one of the worst Safeways in the city is almost criminal.