Pet Friendly Apartment
If you think finding a pet friendly apartment in your town is tough, try finding one for a month in New York city.
Daughter Lydia and I trolled websites, and made dozens of enquiries. We scored nothing but rejection. After a few weeks I hired an agent to look around for us. Based in Big Apple, he was sure to find something. He did. A shabby joint resembling a cockroach farm. It was depressing even from my study in Melbourne, Australia. He gave up on us after that.
Part of me was relieved. Fostering a cat with Feline HIV was my US publisher Michaela’s idea, not mine. Even though Feline HIV isn’t transferrable to humans, some of my more anxious friends implied I would be putting my life in danger. Or risking carrying it back to Australia to infect our Siamese-possibly-Tonkinese Jonah. Or, heaven forbid, them.
Their reactions reminded me of the neurotic nonsense that went on during the human Aids epidemic of the 80s. For the first time I began to sense cats with HIV might actually need a voice.
I was on the point of giving up when Lydia emailed me a photo of a small but pretty looking studio titled “Pet Friendly Apartment”. Newly renovated, not far from the UN building, it seemed too good to be true. When I googled Street View I was presented with a 360 degree image of a florist shop. It seemed strange, but I figured there are worse things to live in, or over, than a forest of flowers.
Michaela said it was in a good area, which presumably meant we wouldn’t get mugged every time we ventured on to the sidewalk.
There had to be a hitch. Maybe there was no elevator and it was on the 92nd floor. It would take the entire month to heave my suitcase up the stairs. I emailed an enquiry.
One of the frustrating things about communicating with anyone in New York is the time difference means a response takes a minimum of eight hours to arrive.
A reply bounced back next day saying it was on the 4th floor, meaning the 5th floor by Australasian standards. Five sets of stairs and a suitcase could be a manageable aerobic workout – not to mention motivation to pack light.
A good way to assess an apartment is to read the reviews. This had none, presumably because it had been recently renovated and not (please God) because they’re all so dire they’d been deleted.
The bed looked potentially hard, but I could handle that. I grappled around for other potential disasters. It was time to be direct.
“Is the apartment under a nightclub?” I typed in the Inquiry box.
A semi-amused reply arrived next morning saying it was neither under nor over a nightclub, and in fact was very quiet.
A section of the Pet Friendly apartment page asked me to tell them more about myself. I punched in Author, thinking that might reassure them. Then, suddenly recalling the hordes of drunkards and drug addicts who have contributed to world literature, I added “with sober habits”.
If that made me sound like a recovering alcoholic, so be it.
There are times in life when there’s no option but boldness. I told them I planned to be fostering a cat with Feline HIV, sent a deposit – and waited for the world to turn.
I hurried my phone next morning. The screen flashed a reply.
Our pet friendly apartment is booked, ready and waiting.