Home sweet saga: Apartment hunting in the Bay Area—Part 3(!)

Note: This is definitely not the view from our new apartment.

Note: This is definitely not the view from our new apartment.

It is a rite of passage, a hazing ritual, a bonding experience. Welcome to the Bay Area. Good luck finding somewhere to live.

For months, Tovin and I have been hunting for an apartment and sharing our struggles with friends, acquaintances and total strangers. Almost invariably our jaunty, “Still looking for a place to live,” has been met with sympathetic murmurs if not outright commiseration. Some people share their own tales of woe, like the college friend whose wife saw 21 apartments before finding a place in the Dogpatch. Some pepper us with questions, marveling at the insanity of studio rents from the comfort of a rent-controlled spot they leased 18 years ago. Our housing saga became my go-to icebreaker for meeting new people. After a while I felt like I’d unlocked some sort of secret San Francisco handshake.

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Home sweet saga: Apartment hunting in the Bay Area — Part 1

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I knew we shouldn’t have let it get that far, but I suppose it was inevitable.

When you finally see an apartment that just feels right, how can you keep from picturing yourself there, cooking breakfast in the bright, airy kitchen, having a beer in the small back courtyard with petite koi pond(!), searching for an outfit in the absurdly large closet? When you find the place you start imagining the life you’d lead there. And maybe in the Bay Area—when you’ve been touring “cozy” basement apartments and studios so small you actually laugh upon entry—you fall in love with that life just a little too easily.

That’s what happened this week to Tovin and me: We got lucky, we got close and then we got nothing.

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