Next week, I’m making my standard pilgrimage back to San Francisco. Only this time, I’m scrambling for accommodation, having apparently overstayed my welcome at the usual crash pad (long story, but it doesn’t include any episodes of vomiting or trafficking exotic animals this time). As a result, I’ve been thrown to the ravenous clutches of airbnb.com, which has been a fairly scandalizing experience:
• First off, the prices people are asking for their dorky studios seem like the crazed ravings of madmen to me. Now: I have been gone awhile, so it’s quite possible that I’m being a naive country field mouse about this. Nevertheless, some of these posts do make me yearn for a jeep full of vigilante Taliban to cruise around the Mission and punish demonstrations of heedless greediness that offend Allah’s sight. The above listing for the $300 sofa, for example, includes this gem:
The couch is a two-piece, so one tall and one short person can sleep. Blankets provided.
Well, then. What about if I try to stack three short people on— does that cost extra?
(Could this— and other posts like it— be a hoax? If so, the author is a comic genius)
• My main grievance is not the price but the fact that people can’t be bothered to update the goddamn calendars that are supposed to indicate when the sublet is and isn’t available.
This means that you’re constantly making bookings that you have to wait a day to find out have been refused. The whole vibe of snooty time-wasting makes the experience feel like a virtual counterpart to the 10 minutes spent waiting at the Beauty Bar for some too-cool-for-school mofo bartender to deign to serve you. And basically makes me start to wish I’d picked someplace to go for my vacation. Let’s just move on…
• If I’ve learned anything useful from this experience, it’s that the word ‘Amazing’ apparently means Absolutely and totally nondescript with nothing whatsoever to recommend it when it’s followed by the word ‘Apartment’ in the English language. As in ‘Amazing Studio at 16th and Mission!’.
In fairness, I have to say that the most insanely histrionic claim I’ve come across during this search was not on airbnb.com but rather in a listing for the San Francisco Guest House:
I mean… OK, so…. exaggerations are par for the course. But would it surprise you if the person who wrote this simply burst into flames on the spot?
So, anyway: see you soon, SF. Me and my short companion await our stay on your magic, separable couch.