Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Update: too much to do, too little time.

Let's see:
On Saturday, I rode my bicycle. I went to an unspecified point in SW Madrid (I'm not sure exactly where I was, but when I asked how far Fuenlabrada was, someone said it was only about ten miles--I sent my friends who live there a text message, but they were about to go running, so I didn't ride all the way down there.) I rode through the Retiro park, and then went to look at a place to live.

The place, of course, was horribly unsuitable: to enter the room, you have to move the couch. And then the room doesn't have any windows. I don't know about you all, but in my world that counts as a closet, and while I have no qualms about living in a small room, I cannot possibly live in a room without a window. This room, however, was not only substandard in its lack of ventilation, but in its lack of access. Seriously, if there were ever a fire in that place, firemen would never in a million years think to look for anyone's charred remains there.

On Sunday, I rode over to the UCI World Championship Road Race, and took a bunch of pictures: one of me with a bunch of Italians who had painted their faces red-white-green, one of a bunch of Norwegians dressed as vikings, one of some of the guys from the Slovakian national team in front of their team vehicle, one of Tom Boonen when he passed about three feet away from me, and one of myself at the finish line. Then I rode past the Bull Ring at Las Ventas to look at another place to live, and while the flat itself was nice, the girl who interviewed me seemed a little ... skinny. Oh, and veiny. Oh, and there was a spoon in the ashtray. So, um, there's no way that I'm living there.

On Monday, I went and saw a room in the building (actually, in a building on the spot where the building was) where Cervantes used to live. This one had no window either, and while the flat itself was pleasant, the windowlessness of it is a major deterrent. The flat was gorgeous, though, and it's in a nice neighborhood, and again, Cervantes used to live there. But I texted the landlord that while I appreciated the opportunity, that I would not be taking the room. (It's the window thing.) I saw a couple of other rooms, too, I forget where and whatnot, but none of them suited, for some reason or another. I also went to the Fulbright office where Patricia consoled me and tried to help me find a place to live. I don't really want to leave where I already am, though. For me to leave, I would want to be as or more conveniently located (by which I mean I basically want to roll out of bed to the Plaza Mayor, or Sol, or the Prado), I don't want to be more than 50 meters farther from a metro than I already am (there's a metro a block and a half away), and I don't want to pay more than I already am (I pay 350) or have less space (I have two rooms; while neither is huge, neither is tiny.) Oh, and I want to live somewhere where people don't smoke in the house.

So I went to see a lawyer at the ayuntamiento's consumer affairs office yesterday who told me that I can just stay put, since I have a lease, and that there's nothing that the lady can do to make me leave. This relieves me, on the one hand. On the other, it makes me a little nervous, being as the vieja jodida who's throwing me out lives in the apartment itself. I figure that in the best case scenario, what happens is that whoever she's signed a new lease with ends up being allowed to live in the house as well, and the landlady has to move back to whatever pueblito infeliz she's from.

Oh, and today I mailed a copy of my lease to a friend by certified mail, being as the lawyer I spoke to yesterday was worried that since the lease wasn't actually signed on every page, that the landlady would change it to include a clause about bicycles being explicitly not allowed.

I'm at the National Library (BN) right now, and I really should get back to work. The thing is, the wireless connection in the building was "upgraded" a few days ago, and now the connection in my room is crappy. Grumble.


Blogger Zora said...

Ack--outrage! I can't believe these old ladies. My old landlady was like that too, freaked about me carrying my bike inside. "You ride in the gutter," she said. "Where the dogs do their business." So maybe you can offer to disinfect the tires or something?

11:20 AM  
Blogger AV said...

Well, I did go see a lawyer, and today when the landlady was like, so, you're all set to leave, right, you have a new place, I told her that it was illegal for her to kick me out. And she freaked out, and told me that I deceived her by not telling her that I had a bicycle, and that the United States might be one way, but Spain is a place where you don't put bicycles inside. Did I mention that the owner of the apartment where Cervantes had lived _didn't care_ if there was a bike inside--in the hallway, in the bedroom, he didn't care. Anyhow, the landlady is now not kicking me out, saying that she never would have thrown me and my stuff out, etc. etc. Anyhow, if I find a place that suits, I guess I'll move, but if not, I'm staying put. She tried to convince me that it was a private contract that had no legal standing since it wasn't notarized, which apparently costs an arm and a leg here, and that different lawyers will tell you different things, but I think she's bluffing, because bicycles are, of course, inanimate personal property that cannot be legislated. I posted my gripe/question on the spain bicycle activist web site, and peopel were really nice and didn't seem to know the legality of it, but had a good old time complaining about anticyclist freaks. Speaking of the gutter, where dogs do their business, I can see not allowing bikes in the house _if you don't allow shoes in the house_, but given that bicycle wheels have such a small surface area that touches the ground at any given moment, shoes are actually much dirtier than bicycle wheels. Anyhow, the landlady went on and on about how it's normal to ask to bring anything into the house, and how the girl who's int he other room had asked permission to bring her stereo, and her television. What a freak (both the landlady and the girl, if she did indeed ask.) Grumble.

6:29 PM  

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