My Apartment Hunt: Nightmare on Craigslist

Share on Nextdoor

My personal favorite was the "green-friendly couple seeks roommate who feels the same." I thought I was green-friendly until I investigated further. No air conditioning, no meat or dairy in the home, and driving was frowned upon.

My pursuit was becoming more grim by the day; instead of roommates, I began to look into a smaller place of my own. Enter the modern embodiment of Leon Trotsky — wild-haired and even wilder-eyed possible future landlord. A self-proclaimed Marxist, who marched in "the revolution" and adored communism, gave me a sit-down talk on my media associations.

Creative Loafing, well he didn't adore it, and he had even less to say about my volunteer position at WMNF. Yet his apartment for rent had a 10-foot, antique bear-claw bathtub, and life is about give and take, right?

An apartment on my own, even if the rent was only $400, which many of them were, still required a deposit of that much and the fees....oh the fees. Progress Energy requires a $200 deposit and a $28 connection fee, and for a 350-square-foot apartment electric usually runs about $50. Right there is another $300 added to move-in costs, plus the cost of water being turned on and god forbid the luxury for cable. Surprisingly, the salary of a part-time waitress and full-time student doesn't exactly mean I have upwards of two grand lying around.

So with my options becoming bleaker and my faith in the human race growing weary, I graciously retired to my old bedroom back home in Largo and bided my time in finding another place.

But after a taste of honey, this was easier said than done.

Stay tuned for my encounter with St. Petersburg's Southside, and the discovery of Fidel Castro's gravestone in a backyard near Lake Maggoire.

[Editor's Note: Arielle Stevenson (left) is on the hunt for the perfect apartment, or at least something she can afford without having to live with someone weird. Follow her hunt on The Daily Loaf.]

I am not one to bash Craigslist. Sure, it may have vastly ruined the print industry's main source of income — classifieds — but it is a working model of what the Internet is supposed to be, free community communication.

Craigslist has enabled Internet romantics to post missed connections, brief moments like:

"You are from Poland, 31 yo. I can't get you out of my thoughts. Please don't take this wrong...but you have one of the nicest shaped ass I've ever seen. Looking at you drove me crazy!! If all I ever get to do is look, it's worth the stare LOL. Looking forward to see you again!"

Ahh... Democracy at work.

While endearing, this little online engine that could has also created a vehicle for numerous crazies - who are normal by day - to go a little buck wild online. Your bank teller, electrician, doctor, realtor, lawyer and young male college student who momma still thinks is a good boy, that we know hormones have already gotten the better of.

I found lots of these guys in my Craigslist search for a roommate. Let's take the token "30 something guy, single and sane" posting, which would seem fine enough except for the photograph, obviously copied and pasted, of a 4-month-old puppy, who was apparently lonely for a woman, though I doubt the puppy was the lonely one.

Surprisingly, I do not find it endearing that a man, who was definitely not a 30-something, would try to lure young women with furry woodland creatures and cheap rent.

The guys who had listed a very small room on the other side of 4th St. were especially convincing. Two hundred dollars a month, if you also do housework, like cleaning and laundry.

I thought this could work. The problem was that the room was actually a closet, and when they saw my reaction to the "room for rent," they offered sleeping with one of them as a solution.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.