They say that if you put a frog in a pot of water, and slowly bring the water to a boil, the frog will not jump out, but will stay in the water and boil to death.

Aside from wondering what sick sadist thought this was a good idea for a science experiment, I have to appreciate this as a metaphor for renting an apartment in NYC.

I got my renewal notice for my current apartment about a week ago. As i had expected/feared, they are raising my rent another $125 (not quite a 10%-per-year increase, but close enough). So the process that my realtor two years ago referred to as “The Hunger Games” will begin again.

Ah yes, the realtor. I paid my last realtor 12% of a year’s rent to find me my current place. Well, my dear, backstabbing former employer actually paid, but that’s besides the point.

I think I got a better apartment with a realtor than I would have on my own (if my attempts at finding something are any indication). And as I look at apartments, it seems like the better the price, the more likely there is a broker’s fee involved.

BUT if I had to pay a broker’s fee, even if it was just one month’s rent, it would cost me as much as it would cost me to stay here for another year.

I’m going to keep looking…I need to keep my options open…but I am suddenly realizing that the water isn’t burning my skin too badly…

(to be continued…)

Miss USA

Another symptom of my reverse culture shock is that I still have trouble remembering not to be nice. I would say that this is also a remnant of my years in retail; I automatically have an “I can help you!” face that causes people to ask me, “Do you work here?” in stores, even when I have my coat on.

So I smile and make eye contact often…and, given the ugliness that we are surrounded by these days, I guess I’m okay with that.

Today, I held the door for a gentleman behind me, and he smiled and said, “Thank you, Miss!” in a very exaggerated fashion. I quickly glanced at him and was debating whether he was about to ask me for money, then kept walking. He called out, “Miss?” and I thought, “here it comes…”

(In the interest of full disclosure, I was walking towards Starbucks. The other thoughts that flashed through that mind in that moment were, “He’s going to ask me for money and I’m going to say ‘no’ even though I’m about to walk into Starbucks and pay $3 for tea* and Jesus is not going to be pleased with my choices.”)

But no.

“Miss, are you Miss USA?”

My smile got even bigger as I laughed to myself at the thought of this. “No, I am not!” IĀ assured him.

“Because you look like Miss USA.”

I hope that I said “thank you”. I certainly couldn’t stop grinning.

Just another day in Brooklyn!

(*Yes, I am buying $3 tea, aka “Trenta Shaken Black Tea with extra ice, please!”, even though I am barely making my rent. Don’t judge me. No, wait. Judge me. It’s ridiculous. I blame Dunkin’ Donuts for having tea that I am certain is not really brewed.)