When the time came for me to be a grown-up and buy a condo, I insisted on buying one that had just been built. With no previous occupants, I figured the place was less likely to be haunted, although it did still run the risk of having been built on an ancient Indian burial ground. These are the chances one takes when purchasing a home.
It was the right time to buy a condo, though, because of the current state of the nation’s economy. It’s taken a downturn lately, and if I recall my high school economics class correctly, a downturn means that two of the atoms are sharing electrons. So someone named Alan Greenspan, who I guess is like the Wizard of Oz or something, magically decided one day to lower the interest rates. This was good news for people wanting to buy homes, as it meant the total amount they would wind up paying on their 30-year mortgages would only be in the millions instead of the billions.
I already knew where I wanted to live. It’s a brand-new condo complex in Orem where some friends of mine, Chris&Lisa, already live with their two kids, whose names I have forgotten again. From Chris&Lisa I knew what the area was like, what the neighbors were like, where the nearest Wendy’s was, and whether it was haunted (no). So when it came time to buy the place, all I had to do was walk into the model unit and declare: “I’d like to buy one condo, please.” This availed me nothing, so I came back again later, when the model unit was open and someone was there to hear me.
The person there was a chic gal named Lakshmi. (This is a Hindu name; Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of buying a condo.) Lakshmi quickly became my best friend, insofar as I talked to her more times per day than I talk to people I actually know. She would stop by my office frequently to give me another pile of papers to sign. Among them was one indicating that even after I’d bought the place, it was still part of the condo complex, so I couldn’t go knocking out walls or painting the exterior of the building. (Actually, what Lakshmi said was, “Don’t go painting your unit purple,” which seemed like pretty good advice anyway.)
Once I had signed enough documents, I was allowed to sign some more documents, and then I was allowed to move in. Since I’ve lived in apartments all my adult life, though, I’ve accumulated no furniture. Lisa was delighted at the prospect of helping me “decorate” my condo, and she asked what kind of decor I wanted. I told her I was thinking of an Early Deseret Industries motif. That’s when Lisa’s head exploded. Her philosophy was that for my first home, I should buy some fairly nice things that will last me a while. My philosophy was that all I needed was a bed and a desk and something to put the TV on, like a floor. That’s when Lisa’s head exploded for the second time.
So I wiped down Lisa’s neck and headed to RC Willey, lured by the attractive notion of “90 days same as cash,” because some part of my brain thought that in 90 days, I’ll have a lot of cash. My intention was to buy the cheapest furniture I could find; unfortunately, I made the mistake of bringing along my research assistant/consultant Josh, who thwarted me at every turn. Why buy a full-size bed when I can buy a queen-size? he reasoned. Even though I sleep alone and don’t move around much, apparently I need 700 square feet of sleeping area. Maybe the ghosts need a place to sleep.
Chris&Lisa's kids are named Miles and Owen. They were previously referenced in the TRAX column from Christmas 2000.
Deseret Industries is a chain of Mormon Church-owned thrift stores, akin to the Salvation Army. They are plentiful in Utah, and there's one in Provo that has been redesigned to resemble a department store.
The Alan Greenspan paragraph really belonged with the first condo column, which focused more on the financial side of things. However, that column was already long enough, so I put it here. (I wrote both columns at the same time, by the way, and delayed this one a week.)
Lakshmi's perfectly innocent admonition not to paint my unit purple became a legendary bit of lore among my friends and me. As a result, the condo itself was known as Eric's Unit. It was not painted purple, however, neither on the inside nor the outside.