Ok, we admit it: our first response to Adam Baer's wacky LA renting adventures piece in the New York Times was total cynicism--the paper has a habit of tossing out tonedeaf "isn't LA ca-razy??" meat to its East Coast readers. But Baer has been in LA long enough (since 2004) to qualify as an Angeleno in our book and you know what? Renting in Los Angeles (as we know from last week's Renters Week) is actually quite often a carnival of the bizarre. In a fun way! Here are our favorite bits from Baer's story:
7. True, the apartment’s top level was no larger than a generously sized jail cell. But you could stumble down to lower levels via a rickety spiral staircase, and the roomy deck could surely support two vegan jockeys and an all-steel hibachi.
6. In the decentralized sprawl of Los Angeles, I quickly learned that rental apartments employed managers instead of supers. These managers are usually single, quirky, underemployed, middle-aged males: nosy, pedantic types who frequently bear a resemblance, physically and/or psychologically, to Norman Bates.
5. I always remember first the insecure son of one of Los Angeles’s most famous modern architects: a man who inspected my professional C.V. and interrogated me for two hours while he ate his breakfast before showing me a “shoddy” (architectural term) apartment of his design near his father’s landmark homes.
4. But when the five-foot man who owned the castle — a wiry circus performer and the son of vaudevillian acrobats — perched the squawking [parrot] on Lina’s shoulder, I wasn’t worried.
3. But could I do it, place myself on the site of a potential custody struggle between a maybe porn star and her some kind of human-trafficker ex? Even for the invaluable screenplay fodder?
2. More recently, a sensible-seeming manager showed us a roomy loft with a view of the Hollywood sign, explaining how he liked to “state all things clearly.” We were about to sign the lease when he told us the woman who had previously lived in the space had moved to “the next dimension.” “What can you do?” he asked. “It’s Xenu’s universe.”
1. Shortly thereafter we left, driving toward the crazy glass house and almost hitting Tom Hanks in a Volvo.
· Leasing Los Angeles [NYT]