Thursday, August 30, 2012

When quirky stops being charming

I like quirks. We saw plenty of beautiful, beige flats when we were flat hunting. But the eccentric qualities of Fox Corner, like that unusual kiwi tree, the bottles embedded in the brickwork of our living room, and the knackered tongue-and-groove walls in the guest room, seduced me rather. I thought it was all quite charming, if a little rough round the edges.

Five months in, the charm is wearing off, and fast.

My British friends might say I've been spoiled by life in the US. The rabbit hutch was pretty high spec, for starters. And if the loo mysteriously became blocked, we just asked one of those nice doormen to fix it while we were out. Likewise if a lightbulb went, or when the blind cord snapped. It was fixed within a couple of hours, and without  us getting our hands dirty.

Malibu was decidedly lower spec. The electricity sometimes cut out if, for example, someone used a hairdryer while the telly was on. But it was easy to step outside to the fuse box - rusted from constant exposure to sea spray and salty air - and flip the switch to get the power back on. And while you were out there you heard the crash of waves and thought 'I bloody love Malibu', so that was nice. We had to use a dehumidifier constantly in that flat too, because of the constant sea mist - but again, you put up with these things as a consequence of living right on the beach. No grumbling.

Anyway, those are really just niggles. To be fair, if something actually broke, the landlord fixed it within a day. In California it is standard practice to re-carpet and repaint between every tenancy, too. So you always move into a shiny, new feeling flat.