I dunno if this is true of all real estate agents everywhere at all times, but the ones I've dealt with, at least, seem to have a kind of selective hearing. Whatever you say, they pick out the stuff that's relevant to what they've already decided to do. So, when I say, for example, "First off, we're looking for a duplex, not a single family house, and it needs to have at least one and a half baths," they seem to hear, "xxxxx xxx we're looking for x xxxxxx xxx x single family house, and it needs to have xx xxxxx one xxx x xxxx bathx." "We don't have any kids, so we don't need to be near all the best schools" turns into "xx xxxx xxxx xxx kids xx xx xxxx need to be near all the best schools." And don't even ask me what "Please don't show us any more ranch houses in suburban Arlington" turns into. It's kind of untypeable. It may not even be audible to human ears.
It gets worse when we're talking about money. Mention that your absolute maximum is $175,000 and they'll somehow find a way to make that $250,000. ("Don't worry, it will sell for $225.") And the mortgage broker? My friends, if you have the misfortune to have good credit, the mortgage broker will finance you well above and beyond anything you can even remotely begin to afford. I mean, I wouldn't lend me that much money and I'm a nice person. I can't imagine a total stranger lending it to me, even if they knew more about my finances. Which they don't, apparently.
When we bought the little 3-bedroom palace in Far East Dallas, we did it only after we fired three real estate agents. We didn't have time to fool around. We had less than two days to fly to Dallas, find a house and buy it, so when the real estate agents started jerking us around, I fired them. To be fair, each time a new one came on board I told him or her what the last one(s) had done to piss me off ("Please don't do this, this or this.") When they did it anyway, or found some other new and exciting way to make this whole process completely counterproductive, I fired them.
Until we found Sondra, and she was a candidate for sainthood. She put up with me, for one thing. She drove us all over town in the pouring rain, for another. She found us the perfect house, got the deal done, arranged for us to close on the house in Phoenix, Arizona while we were driving between point A and point B, and even got the gas turned on for us when it turned out we'd forgotten that little detail. Our only regret was that we couldn't give her the commission for selling our place in San Diego, because she certainly earned it. So naturally she was the real estate agent we wanted when we were selling our place in Dallas. But something's happened to her and she's No Longer With The Agency. We're meeting our new agent on Sunday. Meanwhile, our selling agent is scaring up things we can't afford, and--oh, it hasn't been a lot of fun, okay? At this point I'm like, let's just sell blood, turn tricks on Harry Hines Boulevard, whatever, get the ridiculous sum of money and fix the stupid pipes, already. Except then Tracy and Tammy wouldn't have anywhere to go. Sigh. I guess we'll just have to plod along.
Speaking of plodding along, it's time I came out of the closet. No, not about THAT. About the other thing. The scandal that's been building since August. Okay, I confess; it's all true. After almost eighteen years of marriage, I'm seeing this guy.
Who's a therapist.
What, you expected me to suddenly morph into a suburban swinger? You can take the fat white Lutheran chick out of North Dakota, but you can't--yeah.
Anyway, he's a nice guy, but he's still a guy, so not a spark of romantic interest can possibly be kindled. Although I do catch myself trying to mother him in a put-your-sweater-on, it's-cold-out sort of way. No idea why. It's the same way I treat my boys, I mean my lawyers. (They're all my boys. Even if they're girls.) Those who have children, mother. Those who don't have children mother their cats and their therapists. Sigmund Freud would have a field day with that one. But, sometimes a cat is just a cat.
About six months ago, I was in a state. Like Texas, only even more fucked up. I still don't know what exactly caused it--something about writing and a mid-forties crisis and I'm not sure what all else--but my unique craniobiology guarantees I'll go through the occasional low period. I don't know if that's what it was. I do know that between my psychiatrist bugging me and Joan worrying about me, I finally got on the Internet and looked up psychologists until I found one that looked like a good match. We met. He was. (Which is odd; usually Girls Are Supposed To See Girl Therapists, but I've never done a very good job of that--I relate better to dudes, I guess). And I started feeling better pretty fast, without the aid of chemical interference (or, I should say, any more chemical interference than I've already got--man, this condition sucks sometimes.)
So now it's six-ish months later and I feel better and I'm not sure what to do. With this guy. I mean, I'm positive I still need to be there every Wednesday at six. There's no question about it, really. I sort of look forward all week to going there. And when I get there, I actually relax for about an hour. As Joan puts it, to quit now would be like saying, "Oh, yeah. I'm fine, so I don't need meds anymore." (And then she'd throw me out of the house, which, considering that we haven't found a new one yet, would kind of suck.) I just don't know where to go from here, what to say, without dredging up a lot of gunk from my sordid past that I don't really wanna even touch much less talk about. (I subscribe to the three-sentence method of discussing past traumas: "Yes, that happened. It was nasty. Let's move on.")
I dunno. Is it possible to do therapy wrong? Because if it is, I'd find a way. I'm very good at finding lots of ways of doing something that will not work. Maybe that explains my bad luck with real estate agents. Or maybe some things in life are merely certain. Death, taxes, real estate agents who don't listen to you.
Well, it could be worse.
It could be Arlington.