11 January 2007

the apartment people

wiki tells me that chicago has over 9 million people if you count all the suburbs and the small communities that have been gobbled up by expansion. that's a lot of people, but i think it's going to work out because in my week here so far i've come to find out that they also have about 2 million apartments available. so everyone has a place to live. in an attempt to make some sense of all those options, i went to the apartment people, which is a company that helps you find apartments for free. i filled out some papers ("i don't care where or how i live, just make it cheap!") and then i met with the guy who would be my companion for the rest of the day, who we'll call dave. dave took me to his trashed out, cigarette-smelling car and we were off. after we started driving he asked if it'd be alright if he smoked while he drove, and explained he'd had a "weird morning". i said that'd be fine, thinking the cigarette smoke would be the only relic of his morning to which i'd be exposed.

but then, as we were looking at the first apartment, he said he wanted my opinion on something as a third party, and that if it was too weird, i should say so. i imagined he was going to ask me what i thought of the landlord's (admittedly unique) odor, so i agreed, but then as we got into the car to look at apartment number two, he laid it on me. apparently, dave has been living with his girlfriend for the past 9 months, and they're planning on getting married in the fall. for whatever reason, dave decided to in some way use his email or her email to obtain her myspace password (!), which he then used to break into her account (!) and read correspondence between her and her ex-fiancee (!). and she is not very kind about dave when she's talking to her ex-fiancee. in fact, she says some pretty mean things about him, including that she wants to leave him. (the stressful morning, it turns out, had been dave doing all of this internet sleuthery.) dave tells me she's been a liar for quite some time, including for example when she hangs out with her ex-boyfriend and says she has to go because she's on the greyhound bus. oh, dave. after telling me all of this, dave tells me his dilemma is if he confronts her about the myspace messages (and you think he's going to say "i'll have to admit i'm a creepy stalker boyfriend", but...nope), he'll just have to believe her, and he obviously (OBVIOUSLY!) won't be able to read her myspace messages anymore (!!!). so does he confront her about it, or does he just pretend he doesn't know and leave things the way they are?

i was trying to formulate a logical, simple response, but most of my brain was occupied with praying that either my face was showing absolutely no clues as to what i was thinking or that he didn't take his eyes off the road for one tiny second to look at me. i finally managed to say "yeah, that's a toughie. um...have you considered just breaking up with her?" without adding anything about the creepy boyfriend problem or the possibility that maybe he should wait until he's 40 before trying to be involved in a romantic relationship again. he didn't think breaking up with her was a good idea, even when i suggested that it was likely she would soon leave him regardless ("no, when we talk she tells me we're great," he countered). we left the situation unresolved, so i guess i'll never know what will happen to dave.

and that's why i'm taking "try to be more open with other people about your life and your emotions" right off the new year's resolution list.


Kansas City Star said...


I'd recommend you change your M.O.: Become less approachable. Try scowling a lot, and give short/grumpy answers to those you meet. Become much more negative, and approach most situations as if you were very angry.

Works great!

aaron said...

great story. write a song about it.

Anonymous said...

You should have totally made up your own super stalker story about a fictitious ex-fiance of yours; and how you suspected infidelity so you masterminded the creation of Gmail, for the sole purpose of monitoring her communications. Your plot, however, back-fired when she was not only loyal but madly in love with you. That is, until she found out you were spying on her. She then ran off and married the guy who helped you and her find an apartment together.

That would at least taken his mind off of his dilemma. If that story didn't do the trick you could have upped the ante with plans to kidnap her or something.

Just some thoughts for your next weird stalker guy run-in.