Sweet Jesus, you actually did it! Your mortgage lender has just decided that you, a seemingly responsible adult, are worthy of being lent a shit ton of money. Shout triumphantly from your gutter. You’re going to buy a fucking building!
Wow, this is a lot of money. Did you just sign up for thirty years of indentured servitude?
It’s fine, you’ll just casually look at a couple of homes, and if none speak to you, so be it.
Mmmmmm, maybe you’ll look at a few more houses.
Ugh, gross. Why do these all look like meth houses? What’s on that carpet—is that blood?
Refresh Zillow every three minutes. Ignore texts from your friends. Optimize your meal intake by blending all your food for the day and slowly sipping it from a single, 80-ounce thermos.
Attend all the open houses. Shove pedestrians out of your way. Slash the tires on any car made after 1998. Everyone is competition, and civility is weakness. Eventually, your unwavering dedication to the hunt will pay off—you’ve found the craftsman home of your dreams, you’ve put in an offer, you’ve prepared for the impending feeling of euphoria, and—
A developer outbid you with an all-cash offer. Fuck. You lose bids on four more houses. Quadruple fuck. You crumble into a pile of asbestos and despair.
WAIT, what if your parents created a secret trust fund for you!? Were their blue-collar jobs simply covers for their lucrative careers as stealth operatives? Are you secretly a BILLIONAIRE who can buy ANY HOUSE YOU WANT? You must know the truth. Find a phone and frantically call your mother. Don't believe her—SHE’S A SPY. Drive to her house and empty the contents of all filing cabinets onto the carpet, sifting through each and every leaf of paper until you stumble upon several matured savings bonds. Excitedly google their worth.
BURN YOUR SAVINGS BONDS. Thirty dollars can’t buy you crown molding, GODDAMMIT. THIS MAKES NO SENSE. You did everything right—you sacrificed your passions for a sensible career, you tipped your baristas, you refrained from subscribing to that gourmet cheese delivery service even though it’s TOTALLY NOT YOUR FAULT your sophisticated palate craves the earthy complexity of a clothbound cheddar—so what the hell, universe? What are you looking at, MOM? YOU WANT TO FIGHT?
WHY CAN’T SOMEONE JUST GIVE YOU A ROOM OR TWO AND MAYBE A GARAGE OR A BAY WINDOW OR ONE OF THOSE ADORABLE BREAKFAST NOOKS WITH A BIRD FEEDER HANGING RIGHT OUTSIDE SO YOU CAN BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT GETS TO INSTAGRAM THEMSELVES DRINKING OAT MILK LATTES WHILE WATCHING SOME SPARROWS OR SHIT PECK AT, I DON’T KNOW, PEANUTS OR WHATEVER WHILE YOU’RE CUDDLED IN YOUR NOOK WITH YOUR BOYFRIEND AND YOUR PORTUGUESE WATER DOG AND OH MY GOD YOU’RE GOING TO BE HOMELESS AND ALONE FOREVER AND YOU’LL NEVER AFFORD A PORTUGUESE WATER DOG MUCH LESS A FUCKING BUILDING BECAUSE IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO PULL YOURSELF UP BY YOUR STUPID THIRTY DOLLAR SAVINGS BOND OF A BOOTSTRAP AND WHY DIDN’T YOU EVER TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN ABOUT BIRDS?
Lie face down on your mother’s lawn as she dumps water on your smoldering savings bonds, extinguishing the fire like she extinguished all your dreams. Sob quietly into the dandelions.
Return to your gutter. Follow the rainwater down into the labyrinthine sewers that stretch beneath the city. Befriend a colony of rats and embrace the liberating simplicity of their life’s philosophy. Forget your name. Forget your history. Retain your love of cheese.
Become the rats’ underground landlord, and demand payment for the pipes they inhabit. Amass a pile of washed-up bottles, empty beer cans, lost jewelry, congealed newspaper paste, and whatever other precious materials your subjects bring you. Use these materials to BUILD THE SUBTERRANEAN PALACE OF YOUR DREAMS. Never pay a mortgage. Pee where you want. RULE YOUR KINGDOM IN PERPETUITY.
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