We have no door. No bedroom door. In a share house of five having no door, you can imagine, causes some problems. We’re on the lower floor, so the stairs at the front door lead down into our roo- well rooms have doors don’t they? I guess the stairs more sort of lead to our ‘space’, to our ‘bit’.
The house laundry is also in our ‘bit’. We pay $525 a week. You read that correctly. Five Hundred and Twenty Five dollars a week in a house of five for a room with no door that also doubles as a laundry.
So we were having sex recently when a housemate came in to do his own load of whites. In the terror of that moment my boyfriend screamed “F*CKING KNOCK!” Which leads us back to the initial problem - for there is no door on which to knock. But we’re so close to the shops! And we’re moving.
That’s what people mean when they say there is a housing crisis.
Sydney is a good city. Don’t get me wrong. But is it $525-for-a-room-with-no-door-that-also-doubles-as-a-laundry good? The weather is nice - but it’s not Tahiti. There’s lots to do - but it’s no Manhattan. So why does it cost so much to live here? Is it paralysis?
I think we just kept saying yes. We keep playing their game. They pay too much for real estate and have to up the rents, and we keep paying it. They call surprise viewings and we drop everything to turn up, desperately hoping to beat everyone else. They suggest bidding and we offer bribes, “I’ll pay the first 2 months up front, and I’ll pay an extra $20 a week…” The victims have to play along lest ye be living in a bedsit in Artarmon (Artarmon isn’t on the postcards).
It’s broken and it will ruin the city.
Melbourne is a couple of hours away and half the rent. That’s buy one, get one free in Melbourne. People will leave, specifically the people who are behind the ‘lots-to-do.’ Comedians, musicians, students with new ideas - they are already leaving. If I wanted to, I could spend every second in Sydney at night at a friend's farewell party. DJ’s going to the states, comedians moving interstate.
Over the road from my window an auction is wrapping up and nobody seems happy. I’m sure the vendors are happy but they’d be inside popping (actual) Champagne. Everyone gathers around wearing sunglasses - it looks like a wake.
A young couple with a pram who were bidding walk away from the possibilities. She looks like a producer of sorts, maybe radio or tv, she’s got a clipboard. He could be a history teacher or a stay at home Dad - hard to tell. Maybe he reviews things. They definitely live and work here. They go to things. They invest time and energy into the community. They want the entirely reasonable dream of living close to the bars and cafes they frequent, to the office, to the school. More time together, less time on a bus. But they were outbid. And they walk away from it again - probably to drown sorrows on Prosecco.
The suit who won is still on the phone to the buyer. How many has he bought today? The couple are walking towards him. In my mind they spit on him. Or at least say something witty. I’m willing them to do it. It’d give this column a happy ending. But they just carry on, dejected.
I wonder if they can get rental forms from the suit right now? Or if they’ll just go to Melbourne?