Monday, August 21, 2006

Not like buying a pair of Manolo Blahniks

I bought a house on Saturday.

Well, technically, Saturday afternoon I put an offer in to a house that I saw that morning.

And now I feel, well, unhappy. There's no crying, or screaming of joy, or happiness. Just worry and unease.

Ever since The Flatmate told me he is going back to Oz, I decided the only way for me to stay living in London, by myself, was to buy a place. I've been saving up for this from the first month of my working life here, and I have enough to get a small 1 bed flat in the south east of London that I've called home for the past 4 years. Somewhere that I could put my bed, my lovely couch, maybe get a cat. Put up paintings and pictures, get new tiles in the bathrooms. Have cool halogean lights in the hallway, and enough kitchen space to put 2 fry pans and 2 pots on the stove at the same time! Somewhere I would feel safe and at home. However, weeks of looking at houses has led me to realise that the dream house I want is not coming on the market. And the part of me that tends to shit all over my dreams, and worries about every tiny detail and keeps me up at night, is making me think this house will never turn up.

So yesterday, I took my first foray into my undiscovered country called compromise, and looked at a 1 bed, 1st floor, ex council flat in Borough. Great location (it's a 10 min walk from London Bridge, right smack in zone 1). And after I saw it I was excited. No, I was dead excited. So excited that I thought, fuck it, if I get it rented, it'll practically pay for itself. PLUS I quite like it and the area and I could live there too.

This euphoria lasted all afternoon, even after I called the estate agent and said I wanted to put an offer in. I went around in a daze all day. I put an offer in for a house. This is a step into adulthood that I didn't think I could do. Something I'd thought about for years, but never imagined I'd ever say the words "I'd like to put an offer on this house please." I was stunned, and slightly giddy. That was until I dragged my friends to have a look, and one of them went, well, nuts, at the prospect of me living there. You've never seen someone get so angry, just because I wanted to buy an ex-council flat. They called me all sorts of things, and as my shoulders dragged further and further to the ground, until my knuckles dragged along the gutters, I'd never felt like sinking into a hole so much in years.

So now, all I have is intense unease. When the estate agent came back to me to say the vendor had approved it, there were no roars of joy. No "congratulations!", no "yay! I've bought a house! I won't be homeless!". No champagne. No cava. Not even a glass of spakling Babysham. And whilst I know it would be a great place, I have no back bone and what with my constant need for approval, I feel like I'm making the biggest mistake of my life. Is this a sign that I shouldn't buy this and wait, hope, pray and beg that what I want is coming? Or should I face facts that, whilst other people can find their dream houses, for me finding the perfect house is as much a myth as me finding the perfect pair of high heeled shoes that don't make me fall over, cut my feet to ribbons, and end up being ruined when the blood from the blisters soaks through the leather? Or is this just me? Surely people find their perfect houses all the time. Well, maybe not perfect, but a house which, when bought, actually makes them feel happy to be taking on the biggest debt of their lives.

Ahh, it's the little things I want. It all sounds so rubbish doesn't it, especially if you weigh it up against real life problems like world poverty or starvation or war. But that's me I guess. Constantly sweating the small stuff.

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