Thursday, 10 January 2008

Death of an Estate Agent Foretold

This morning I heard the estate agent leading house-hunters up to the flat above. Reminded me that I still haven't killed the bastard. Now, this is going to sound like making excuses, but what with the novels and the translating and the teaching and the Christmas drink, I literally haven't had a minute for those pesky everyday jobs like slaughtering realtors.

It's not an ideological thing, though I guess if I reflected on it for any length of time I probably would develop homicidal impulses towards every member of that parasitic, slick-haired, cheating, lying profession. No, it's more a personal grudge.

Let's leave aside the 4% the seller and I both had to pay him – THIEVING SCUM! – and let's forget the crimes he commits against language in the name of sales (if there is any justice, he will spend eternity alone with a very short dictionary in a "compact" shit-hole "full of potential", much like the one he showed me across the square).

Let's get onto the neighbourhood he promised me I was buying into. I can still remember his exact reply when I asked about the building visible from the study: "They would be the Case Popolari." He hesitated, looked embarrassed. "Not wealthy people, but honest!"

And I believed him! But from the first moment I moved in, it was obvious he'd sold me down the river. Day after day I looked in vain for pitiful rags hanging from the washing lines, or starving children hurling food-rival siblings from the balconies. When the lights came on (lights, not candles!) in all those kitchens there was not a scurrying rat or a pile of mould to be seen. And things have been getting worse: last night someone held a cocktail party – on their roof-terrace, if you don't mind! – and this morning I spotted a uniformed servant polishing a satellite dish.

Workhorse, my dwarf butler, tells me not to take it too hard: the whole quarter's undergoing gentrification, he says, and even the estate agent couldn't have foreseen the speed at which it's happening. Doesn't seem right to me, though. You spend years toiling and saving for that dream of your own place with a panoramic view of poor people, and you end up having to stare out at bastards who are richer than you are. Immoral, I call it. Someone's going to have to pay.

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