Falsehood is one thing. Poorly written falsehood is another.
To get to the falsehoods, though, first you have to read the rubbish. Headlines for houses are the blankest art conceivable.
Period Features. Architect Designed. Cook’s Kitchen. These nonsense phrases are routinely used to convey the bleeding obvious and, naturally, they injure this pedant. But they are nothing as compared to the hyperbolic horse-shit crapped from the reeking demon-ass-minds of lowlife “professional” writers. A breed, by the way, that is paid far more regularly and handsomely than, say, I don’t know A FORTY-ONE YEAR OLD WRITER WHO HAS SWEATED BULLETS OF NERVOUS BLOOD FOR HER OP-ED THESE PAST TWENTY YEARS.
No. I’m not bitter about my lot. But, I suspect these soiled scribes are as there is no other way to explain the malice with which their stubby little fingers produce deluded descriptors like, “immaculate” when what they actually mean is, “someone recently wiped most of the rat shit from the oven. But, don’t worry. There’s a lovely little pile of it under the sink.”
Lies. Lies. Lies. One can decipher these untruths; after viewing 15-or-so properties and matching them against blurb, a pattern begins to emerge. The porkies, in other words, are consistent and can be undone.
Let me offer some basic translation.
I have found that “cosy” generally means “box with allergenic carpet and nosy arsehole neighbours”. “Older style” means “Only a junkie could fail to notice the poo smears on the flock wallpaper”. “Charm” or “quaint” are fairly interchangeable and translate as “former meth lab that will surely ebb your will to live.”
It’s all lies, out there and these annoy me deeply. But, more critically, it is the cost that upsets me.
I have been fairly lucky this past decade and have lived in, and loved, a rented house that cost around a third of my income. I tended its garden and painted its eaves until my landlord’s mind formed the words “subdivision”.
It wasn’t cheap, but it was manageable. We always found the rent on time and were fairly unruffled by the vanishing dream of home ownership. So long as we could always scrimp enough for a decent little place like this one with its fibro shed and gaping hole in the living room wall, we were okay.
Now, I don’t know. Now, any place that is neither structurally flawed nor reeks of quiet suicide will claim more than fifty per cent of our earnings and I just can’t get my head, nor spreadsheet, around it.
Now, I do not feel “entitled”. I do not suppose that I have “earned” a right to sanitary accommodations. But I do feel a burgeoning sense of anger, on behalf of everyone, of the cost of a simple effing home.
I acknowledge that these observations almost border on sin; offered as they are in a time of great homelessness. But, I suppose, this is, in part, my point. I’ve come to learn, much more keenly than I’d ever hoped, that housing is a real and growing problem.
So. Rotary-Hoe. I’m off to step over corpses, dream of unmarked porcelain and end up learning to live with the dull thud of regret. And, after I’ve done all of that, I may very well become one of the Housing Minister’s most ardent correspondents.