Single-Minded: The Thrill of the Hunt

How searching for an apartment is like trying to find a new guy.


Looking for a new dude is a lot like looking for a new apartment. You don’t know if stainless steel is any better, but you’re holding out for it anyway.

And even though the search can get exhausting, schlepping from one glorified closet disguised as a “cozy one-bedroom” on to the next one seems altogether necessary. Because you’ve got to know what’s out there in order to make an informed adult decision about where you’ll be spending the rest of your life as defined by the end of your short-term lease.

For three years, I lived in a northwest Washington neighborhood called Shaw, which is U Street Corridor-adjacent. So not quite as cool but close enough with a side of broken beer bottles and hipster hangover. Ninth Street (neé Little Ethiopia) was the unofficial headquarters of my disillusioned adulthood, thanks to the rats, the bums and the heartbreakers thereabouts. Yeah, rats.

Despite the fact that my newly remodeled basement apartment had hardwood floors, travertine tile, a stacked washer/dryer, granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances and a non-working fireplace, it was still, by location and definition—a basement. Rats like basements. You know what else rats like? Shower-curtain rods.

One time I was sitting on the toilet (painting my toenails) when I got a tingly feeling. The one you get when someone is staring at you from behind. Evidence that there exists some type of kinetic energy between all living things that we’re just too primitive to tap into and use to stir coffee with our minds? By toe two that feeling caught hold of me, compelling me to look up just in time to witness the most talented rodent in the Northeast tightrope walk across my West Elm shower rod.