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A Perpetual Renter’s Perspective

There’s currently a crack in the floor of my apartment, and every time I step on it, the floor gives a little bit more. I don’t think it’s actually a problem, but I have an immense fear of breaking through the floor post-poop, or even worse: pre-poop.

However, I also have a humorous wish that one day, when I’m butt-ass naked, I step on it and the floor breaks through and I go cascading through the coffee table of the apartment below, my big ass smashing through the ceiling like a fresh butterfly emerging from its cocoon immediately decimated by a toddler’s hands. The toddler shrieks, as it finds insect blood covering its skin. The toddler clean-licks itself, and goes on its way, eating its dirty fucking lollipop, and rubbing its grubby little hands. As I land, my ass becomes red like a baboon’s, with the only redeeming factor being the cool air of the ceiling fan, which I missed by inches. Can you picture it? I really hope so.

What I describe above is an anecdote, an anxiety, and a fantasy. A simple crack in my apartment’s floor, which probably could be fixed by landlord with no issues, is avoided until the last possible moment in order to avoid that contact with my landlord. I’m not a big fan of landlords. I find them, at the worst, exploitive, and at the most, incompetent. I’m sure that there are nice ones. Call me at 289 355 3809, if you’re one of those.

At my last apartment, there was a pentagram on the floor of the basement. The previous tenants were apparently hippy Wiccans, but since I own the Satanic Bible, I felt the presence of Satan himself. To be honest though, my roommates we were pretty evil, so it could have just been them. The past tenants also left dolls in each point of their hand-drawn pentagram. Luckily, the pentagram was on the other side of the room, far removed from the staircase, and the washer/dryer. However, I often couldn’t shake the feeling that something was watching me. Maybe it was the fox skull that was perched in the slim window opening. I never touched the fucking thing, but I always felt that it was beckoning to me.

The first house that I lived in in Peterborough was probably the most boring. Although not stated in my lease, a cleaning lady came by weekly to tidy the place. This would have been an amazing addition to the house, if not for the fact that any time any mess was made, she’d tell the landlord that we were effectively filthy pigs. The landlord would send passive aggressive emails to us, scolding us and stating that, “The cleaning lady was a privilege, not a right.” I didn’t ask for this, and I’d prefer if there wasn’t a random person bursting into the house at any moments to scrutinize the cleanliness of two barely-more-than-teenage boys’ living habits. I also really didn’t appreciate when she’d comment on my weight directly after I got out of the shower, as I scuttled with a half-wrapped towel, ass exposed, just trying to get dressed so I could go buy a pizza from the 2-4-1 behind my house.

Inside Tyler Majer’s apartment, November 2017. Photo by Tyler Majer.

The house that I live in this year is fine. It’s got some (a lot) of structural issues, but a great location. I live above McThirsty’s, so when I’m not out and about, I thoroughly enjoy watching the drunken rowdiness on Charlotte street in the wee hours. I’ve often seen Jerry Springer-esque fights occur right outside of Wild Rock as people leave bars at closing time, grasping for some remnant of exhilaration to curb their fading psyche, and trying to make up for their diminishing return of their frivolous investment in temporary pleasure.

Living above a bar is scary, because I know that when my existential, anxiety-ridden crises hit, I am always able to taste the sweet nectar of spoiled wheat. But I get by.

Living and renting in Peterborough is really all about just that: getting by. Most apartments you can rent for an affordable price will be, for lack of a better word, shit in some way. You will go through issues with your landlord, and be hit with unexpected cessation of utilities services. But at the same time, you will be afforded a lot of freedom not found elsewhere. You won’t have to worry about ruining your carpeting with spilled wine, because most apartments don’t have carpets. You won’t have to be careful of scuffing your hardwood floors, because… YOUR APARTMENT FLOORS WILL ALREADY BE SCUFFED. Or, such as in my case, there will be a crack in the floor, and you will cascade naked into the next dimension: that of your neighbour’s once beautiful, but now shattered, glass coffee table.

Enjoy the shit while you can, because soon you will be pressured into buying a house – or even worse, forced to rent an apartment in the real shit that is Toronto – for a price so exorbitant that even when you realize the squalor in which you reside, you will hold onto any remnants of nicety left just as that toddler from earlier holds onto his empty ice cream cone as the ice cream itself falls flatly into a pile of dog shit on the sidewalk.

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