Why Not Own?

Sometimes I think about owning a house. I think this is because I am turning thirty in six weeks, just one day after my beautiful birthday twin Monique. That’s what people in their thirties do, right, they own houses and talk about mortgages and scheduled gutter cleanings…after which, as Bertie Wooster would say, they have an orgy and bury the bodies in the morning. Well, I’m turning thirty soon, right? That makes me eligible!

It was in this spirit that I did a little internet research and came up with the oddly-named Why Not Own. I appreciated the carefree stance on home ownership, as if it were a type of waterskiing or something. Own a house? Why not? You doing anything on Saturday after you go to Trader Joes’? Why not own? Exactly. I trolled through some of their listings and was overtaken immediately with a vision of myself getting my keys out of my jacket to smartly turn the lock in my new place. A cute condo in Ballard, maybe? With granite countertips, energy-efficient appliances, hardwood floors, and built-in bookshelves, perhaps. Perhaps a top-of-the-line spice rack. “You’re Invited!” read the invitations in a jaunty script, “To A Holiday Open-House At Chiara’s!” “Oh, let’s just eat in tonight,” I whisper, gesturing to my immaculate stovetop. “Of COURSE you can stuff envelopes at my place,” I assure the stressed-out volunteer coordinator. “It’s just around the corner.” I had a very compelling vision of myself comparing paint chips and getting to know the owner of the local bakery down the street. Why not own, indeed?

I was so overcome by this alluring vision of myself as magnagamous, competent, and stylish that I actually gave my phone number to that website indicating that I’d like to be contacted to discuss what buying a home would entail. Why not, right? Soon the phone rang and I found myself talking to an individual who identified himself only as Bradley, and, judging from his voice and the way he talked, was a local snowboarding championship away from Why-Not-Owning pretty sweet collection of baseball caps, worn backwards at all times. Yet somehow Bradley managed to make me feel stupid, me who hardly ever uses still-wasted-from-the-party-last-night voice on the phone.

Chiara [picking up phone] This is Chiara at Place Of Employment, may I help you?

Bradley: Yeah, hello? This is Bradley? At Why Not Own Dot Com?

Inside Bradley’s Head Dude, do NOT say “Dude” right now.

Chiara: Oh, right. Yes. Hi.

Bradley: Okay, dude…

Inside Bradley’s Head: Dude! DO NOT SAY DUDE RIGHT NOW!

Bradley: [coughing] I mean, uh, you were interested? In looking at a condo property?
Chiara: Yeeeeeessssss. Sort of. I mean, I was just looking around. I mean, I don’t really know if…well, it’s complicated. See, I turn thirty in a couple of months and…

Bradley: So, uh, what’s your price range?

Chiara: Um. Cheap. I don’t know.

Bradley: [sensing this one isn’t going to be too tough and that he’s totally going to be able to leave work early] Okay, and have you talked to a lender?

Chiara: “Lender.” Uh, no. See, I’m just trying to get an idea

Bradley: Have you talked to a bank?

Chiara: Wait, there’s supposed to be a bank involved?

Bradley: So what you’re saying? Is that you don’t have a plan to buy a home? Like, right now?

Chiara: Dude. I guess not.

And just like that, the fantasy of Why Not Owning decimated into Why Not Get A Clue About Something, Anything, Chiara, I Mean Really, Who Are You To Think That You Can Do Anything But Rent Anyway? That little plan is on hold right now and I guess my turning-thirty fantasies will have to center around tattoos, reckless, take-no-prisoners karaoke, and hot girl-on-girl action, just like everyone else’s.

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