Saturday, February 20, 2010

Why I Live at the Disco Kroger

 "I have always been grateful though this is the next to smallest P.O. in the state of Mississippi."
--Eudora Welty, "Why I Live at the P.O."

I can think of many reasons real estate agents would hate me, but the number one reason is my unflinching, non-budging requirement to live at the Disco Kroger. I think they find it a little .... limiting... in terms of Inventory. Before I bought my last house, I actually circled the Disco Kroger on a map, and then highlighted (in pink, of course) the two-block radius around it. I was a little more specific than that -- I wanted a one and a half story, 3 BR, with hardwood floors, a front porch, a back deck, and high ceilings.

I thought that was pretty clear (I wrote it out on an Index card and everything, like an Animal; no one had email back then, or it might've been when I was still referring to it as a "fad" that would "never catch on"), but agents would call me every day and begin their conversations with, "I have exactly what you want... except for, well, it's a ranch, and it's in the suburbs, and it doesn't have a porch or a deck, and it's carpeted.... but other than that, it is exactly what you said you wanted."

When I would explain, slowly, how this was nothing like what I wanted -- for example, say, I wanted to buy downtown -- they would explain back to me, equally slowly, all the varied routes that would take me downtown, from this particular listing. "Whyyyyy, you just hop on the circle, and take such and so, and you'll be there in two shakes!" they would insist brightly. Well, yeahhhhh. I knew it was possible to get downtown from the suburbs; I even knew how to get there; that really wasn't the issue.

It was exhausting, and when I would relay all this frustration to my Mom (who worked in real estate -- as I think is required by law for every mom who gets divorced in my hometown), she would line up in total cahoots with them. "Oh honey," she'd say, "you just never know. Whyyyyy, if I had a nickel for every time somebody bought a cabin when they told me they wanted a Victorian...." The trail-off obviously implied she'd  give up real estate if she had all those nickels. "But, Mommmmmm," I would protest, "I. Do. Know."

I finally stopped taking their calls, and gave up the search entirely. I don't think they fully understood the depth of my commitment to the Law of Inertia. I was thoroughly happy to remain at rest unless acted on with equal or greater force.

Just when I thought I was going to have to enter a real estate witness relocation program, my pal Helen told me her next-door neighbor was thinking about getting rid of her house in favor of a condo, and asked if I'd like to see it. We walked across her backyard and into the neighbor's back door, and we had all the contracts signed a couple days later.  We ciphered out the whole thing on legal pads and an abacus I think. It was a one and a half story 3 BR with hardwood floors, high ceilings, and a front porch -- 1.5 blocks from the Disco Kroger. I did have to add the deck.When I sold it many years later, I moved a few streets over, to the other side of the Disco Kroger. I would tell everyone how I loved my new neighborhood, which was invariably met with an incredulous, "you moved two blocks."

So, I'm looking again, but only very casually -- same as last time. It depends on what's available (give or take a couple blocks).

The Disco Kroger is admittedly not much (you'll note that these Ben & Jerrys weren't even marked down), but I have faith... faith that someday it might grow up and be one of the new Fresh Krogers. That's what happened to Atlanta's Disco Kroger, which might or might not have been the same store as Atlanta's Murder Kroger. I am always getting the two mixed up.

And when it grows up to be the snooty-falooty store I know it can someday be, I'll be living right on top of it.


  1. Great post! Great voice! And I like the new header. It's so you!

  2. If you live right on top of it, I must insist that you be the one to keep it's head outta the clouds if it ever gets that much needed facelift. It just won't work for me if Disco Kroger loses its humble nature.