And the gods kept laughing…
About the time I really relaxed into Maui mode and thought if I just had some friends (Lahaina was a lonely place unless you hung out at bars, one of it’s mottos is: “Lahaina– a drinking town with a fishing problem”)… the owner of the condo I was renting from informed me that she was selling.
Would I like to buy it? she asked. YES, I’d love to buy it– but I still had a house back in California to deal with. Purchase price wasn’t even the big issue, things were cheap then. It was the bleepin’ Homeowner’s Fees. For a one-bedroom condo: $1,200 month. I almost swallowed my chewing gum.
So I started searching for a place to live. I looked in the paper–this should be a piece of cake, right? Right. Maui was in the middle of a housing crisis in 1999 and there were no rentals. Craigslist didn’t exist yet, so the newspaper was the only resource.
The reason there was a housing crisis, ironically, was that things WERE so cheap. People from the mainland (listen closely here, because it’s the reason Hawaiians have no time for mainlanders) were coming to the island and buying things up faster than Lindsey Lohan lands in jail. So all the condos were disapperaing from the rental market, because the owners were buying them and them leaving them sit empty. They had been taken out of the rental pool and turned into vacation homes, effectively leaving the locals no place to rent.
I didn’t know this at the time, of course. I just couldn’t understand why every time I called on a unit it was already gone. ALWAYS. But I had about a month to look, so I wasn’t panicking. Yet.
The panic was to come later.
An acquaintance recommended a room-mate situation, and starting to get savvy to the way things worked on Maui, I saw that word of mouth would probably be my only hope. Getting desperate, I said yes. The guy offering the room was a well-known Lahaina realtor, about 65 years old, and the place had a view, was gorgeous, and cheap. (This should have been my clue.) I thought, why not? It’s an adventure, right?
The adventure turned to oh, *&%*! when I stumbled out of my room that first morning and found him standing facing the kitchen sink, STARK NAKED. I tried to flee, but not fast enough, because he turned around in all his glory.
I hadn’t even had my first cup of coffee for the morning, and I was faced with a room-mate who was not only a pervert but a nudist. I had already signed a lease.
The smile on his face said it all.
My cute house back on the mainland where I had a business, and friends, and family was sounding better all the time. Maybe I was supposed to just cash in my chips and go home…
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