‘The Accidental Economist’ with Jack Kern: Divorce American Style
- Nov 30, 2011
In the beginning it was great, like true love—so exciting and cozy. I couldn’t wait to get home, to be there, the newness of it all, the way it made me feel, all tingly inside, like a hug after a long journey. Then it started to get to me—the noise, which was a cacophony of chatter, chirps and humming. Oh how I hated the humming, even thinking once that a quick whack with a frying plan would stop it permanently, but the consequences of that were too much to consider. I really don’t know how I got sucked into this relationship, what with all of the choices I had and those sweet talking helpers along the way, all promising paradise if
I just took this one big step. I’d never been much of a commitment guy and this step was something I’d considered but never really felt was necessary. I’d gotten along fine with the endless stream of others and all had been for laughs and never made any demands, but this one…this one was different. I just had to have it and knew it would be the end of me. So after much thought and some soul searching I sought out my friends at the local pub and asked the age-old question, how did it go this wrong, this fast? “It was her fault,” they implied with a knowing glance, the sidelong kind that tells you they think you’re a moron for not seeing it sooner. I suppose it was the age, all young and fresh and so hip, the coolest ever that really convinced me, but I soon learned that age does not equate with charm or comfort. It was time, and after a year of hoping against the odds that this was the one, the keeper, the last special I’d ever want I finally realized it was over.
And with that decision came the long arduous walk to the leasing center where I gave notice I wasn’t renewing my apartment lease. The magic of fresh appliances and smooth shimmering counter-tops gave way to mocking glances of a refrigerator that delighted in only making noises for me, an oven that loved raw food and wouldn’t fail when the technician looked at it, the washing machine, smugly leaving little signatures of compressor oil, which all mysteriously disappeared when I went to ask for repairs. I knew this was goodbye.
I went back to my apartment and right after opening the door, I tripped on the carpet that hadn’t been stretched in months and thought I heard a gentle giggle as I fell down. Somehow they all knew, and soon it would be over, my next journey in search of the perfect apartment without which I’d once again feel a victim of lax maintenance and unreturned calls. But it was time.
Jack Kern is the research editor of Multihousing News and Commercial Property Executive. A frequent veteran of walking units, he was once dubbed the refrigerator whisperer for quieting down a cantankerous old whirlpool. When he isn’t hearing voices from the appliances in his former unit, he can be reached, straightjacket and all, at firstname.lastname@example.org.