Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • Last September I flew across the country with two suitcases and landed in Seattle. I shipped three boxes of stuff from Toronto to an address that I found off of Craigslist, hoping for the best. So, I've been in the U-district for one year. I currently have four housemates but in total I've had about nine, representing seven different countries: Netherlands, France, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, United States, Korea, Hong Kong.

    There's nothing wrong with my place except that it's next to a bar which can be very loud. And there's a lot of trash in the alley. And the kitchen is always dirty (five people!) I've become un-enamored with the U-district and I thought that I needed a change. So I've been looking for rentals in Eastlake, Capitol Hill, Fremont, and Wallingford since April. I told my landlord that I wanted to move out at the end of July.

    Unfortunately, in April landlords were renting for May. In May they were renting for June. In June they were renting for July. And so now here I am. It's July and I have two weeks to find a place to live.

    I saw a beautiful building in Capitol Hill, near to Roy Street coffee where they hold MothUp events (*Storytellers in Seattle, you should attend!*). It was a large white building with pillars and wisteria climbing up the balcony. The landlord was to show me a studio apartment on the ground floor. It was decent sized with a little patio in the back and the rent was not bad. Plus it was a great location. I filled out an application and the landlord told me I was the first applicant and that I was sure to get the place.

    The next day, the guy called and said that the next person had put down a deposit on the studio so he gave the place to them. I didn't know that bribes were being accepted!!
    Alright, so I keep looking and I see a place in Fremont and a few others in Capitol Hill. But I'm always the second or third person to see these apartments and the first person always put in an application. And it's not like these are stellar apartments; I mean the location is good, near downtown, near the University, near Capitol Hill night life. But the apartments are small and cramped.

    So today I went to another place in Capitol Hill. I arrived at 3pm for an open house that would run from 3 to 5. I figured I had a shot at seeing the place first and getting a chance to apply. But, there were three people waiting at the door. There was an asian guy with glasses and shoulder length hair, a stressed-out girl with a ponytail, and a girl sporting a Skrillex haircut. A frazzled landlady opened the door at 3 and said she couldn't accompany us to the unit because seventy (!) people were scheduled to arrive between 3 and 5pm. The three prospective renters and I piled into the tiny elevator to see a studio on the third floor. The elevator did that little bouncy thing which happens when there are too many people.

    The other three pushed past me and marched into the studio, and then they turned around and walked right out single file. I guessed they didn't think much of the place. It was small and looked a little rundown but there was good lighting. I went to inspect the little kitchenette, washroom, and closet. I returned to the office, unsure whether I wanted the place, only to see the other prospective renters wild-eyed rushing to finish filling in application forms. So, I walked out.

    I had seen another place with vacancies in the area, so I called and got an appointment. After showing me several little studios which looked pretty similarly run down and were pretty expensive, I told the landlord that I would "think about it" (=code for thanks but no thanks). He suddenly remembered that there was another place he had for rent on the ground floor. It was cheaper and larger, though with carpeting instead of sexy hardwood floors. I thought, "Hey this isn't so bad." The landlord says, "Here's the application form; you just need to give me the application fee and the holding fee and it's yours." So I told him that I'd take the form and give it back to him when I'd decided. He says, "No, no, you have to decide now if you want it. I can guarantee you that there are fifty new Amazon employees ready to rent this out tomorrow."

    That's when I realized why this was so difficult. Amazon is hiring 1,000 new employee. Microsoft is hiring 1,500. I had no chance in hell of competing against these new tech workers. I'm sure they had algorithms scanning hundreds of Craigslist ads before I'd even finished reading the first sentence.
    I texted my landlord. "Can I please extend my lease an extra month?" He said sure. That's why I am still living in the U-district. At least until everyone from Amazon and Microsoft has found a place to live...
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.