Saturday, December 10, 2011

to rent a room in copenhagen

once, i heard someone say, renting a room is like making love to a beautiful woman. i never heard the rest because we were on a train, it was loud, i was having a sandwich and eavesdropping at the same time. nonetheless, his words stuck in my head like salami and cheese in my yesterday's sandwich and every time i rented a room i asked myself: is this what making love to a beautiful woman is like? i've asked myself this about ten times since, although i rented a room four times. i dont recall the context of the other six times. 

now, four moving ins and four moving outs (within two years) later, perhaps better at eavesdropping but not wiser, i believe that man on the train was on to something. renting a room (in copenhagen) is a lot like love. first of all, it's stressful. there are a lot of people looking for rooms, but very few offers that are decent or above decent. you have to be lucky, patient and persevering and it wouldn't hurt if you were a bit good looking, too. secondly, there are rules and conventions made up for the benefit of the parts, but they don't always work. sometimes you get kicked out unassumingly, other times you leave and disrupt the order of things. thirdly, there's something about sharing a bathroom that is bound to demystify and reveal truths you were absolutely unaware of at the first meeting.

but no matter how many "hearts" you broke nor how many times yours has been broken, you carry on. i use silly encouragements like "5th time's a charm" or "five will make you feel alive", cheap websites and a solid, unshakeable belief in human goodness. 

and at times, i think back at the man on the train and try to imagine what he could have said. i picture him with a top hat and moustache saying "renting a room is like making love to a beautiful woman: it's potentially great, if it doesn't cost too much, and then laughing robotically like a prude victorian. or i imagine him with a bowtie, thick glass frames, an old leather bag and pants above the ankles, saying, with a copenhagen accent, "renting a room is like making love to a beautiful woman: impossible, but you can get fucked pretty good".