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Thursday, 10 September 2015

Devouring the Young. Send in the Refugees.

                                               ' ALL I WANT IS A ROOM SOMEWHERE"
                                                                                                                                                                So I'm just not getting excited about the next viewing" the beautiful one says, resolute. Good.  She is on the up from being down in the dumps then. Depressed, reproachful really.  Disappointed in the universe for making it so damn bloody hard to find a flat, student accommodation, a house to share with her mates which is not so far from the campus that you have to spend a lot of money from a paired to the bone budget on buses, taxis even, if you're late.  Disappointed in me too I guess,  for not getting it for her. At nineteen you segue between able young woman and frustrated adolescent.., you're a child again when the chips are down.

                                                WHEN YOU'RE IN A HOLE KEEP DIGGING.... 
                                                                                                                                                                At first,  I try to stay out of it.  Still the helicopter wheels, and let her at it.  I seethe on the sideline as she reports back on rents going up by the day now,  poor offerings for students, sloppy seconds.  The trickery in demanding deposits without a lease, the basic obscenity in charging you €700 for a room in a house, or €350 to share a bed in a room in a house with a stranger. "Digs" I say frantically,  "you could get digs! Digs are back!" "Digs???."  I explain. "Yeah" she says, "I know.  They want you out on the weekend, and it costs just as much as a room in a house that isn't digs.  Not cheaper.  And  no independence.
                                                  JUST GIVE ME ALL YOUR MONEY.........

So I get involved. My propeller moves gently, just coasting at first. I make phone calls for her. "So when can she come look?" I ask. "Open viewing" I'm told.   "It's first come first served " they say.  "Students?"  distastefully, oh we'd want references."   "Oh, so, how would that work?" I say, "references from who?"   "From the bank.  The last landlord. (Duh!)."  "Oh. but they're....(students)... well, right, I'm sure we can do eh that". So she goes to the open viewing, hands over the references carefully got together,  and phones you in a panic to say he wants the deposit, today  "or we'll lose it. And we really really want it."  "So,  you're getting the lease then, the key, today?."  We have discussed these matters, you see.  "Um no. The weekend he says, the landlord will come over then he says, he's not um the landlord, he's his agent he says. But we can have it, if we pay now. He promised."  "So, did you actually ask him darling girl, about the lease?" "Um yes. But he got really really rude, said he had like at least ten more people ready to move in. And it's really really nice, the flat.  Oh Mum, should I pay him!!!!"  (Really, really) No.

I actually phoned that one myself, listened to his sleezy shifty spiel, before threatening him with the police (hah), the law,  and the wrath of God. My wheels are spinning now and I slam down the phone. I mean this guy has an attractive flat at his disposal to lure them in. He advertises on Rent.ie. Easy peasy. He can defraud the young with impunity. Pigeons for plucking.

                                                   HOW TO GET RICH QUICK AND EASY PEASY 

The beautiful one did not want Digs. She hoped for independence, a very basic space to rent with her mates. After a few more creeps demanding money up front with no lease,  she took herself off to look at Digs anyway. No joy. Basically the people making cash out of the spare room are reluctant, coy. Unwilling to give the details she seeks, like the full name of the landlord,  a sight of the nine month lease in writing that was referred to vaguely on the phone. "They don't like it when I ask " she says. "Am I not  I supposed to ask?". Yes.  You are. But I guess when you're upping your price by the day as you listen to media dispatches about desperate students, and keeping it all carefully below the radar of  the Revenue Commissioners, you don't want to answer. You've figured you can make  a killing here.  With a compliant, grateful young person begging to rent.

Last year, she stayed in student accommodation on campus. But thats just for First Years, you see. Why would the college provide for them thereafter?  Let them eat cake. Let them be a source of profit for rapacious landlords, householders, the shifty calculating  grownups that await. Or destroy themselves traveling to college every day over long distances.. Zombie students on the wheel between home and the campus. What harm sure..

The thing about it all is that its so commonplace. Not just a dishonest minority stealing deposits, but ordinary people too, determine to make a buck, screw a student. And there  is no impediment to this free for all, no will to provide campus accommodation that is adequate, to regulate this market. It's the Irish for you. An Irish answer to an Irish question. Screw them over, and let them eat cake.

                                                               O  ICELAND

Later on I saw the newsbite in my facebook feed about the Icelanders, shaming their government, offering to take refugees into their own homes. Good for the Icelanders. We wouldn't be doing it here. There's no money in it. Well maybe, if Europe pay us, we might see. I wonder would the Icelanders take students.   And what's the university like up there,  to where where I swear I am moving.  If they would let me in. We are offering now to take in more dispossessed people, in desperate flight from their own ground. I think the EU should  be careful here. Consider our Direct Provision. Look at how we accommodate our tender young. Think what we might do to them when we get them here.

                                                    WE CAN EAT THEIR LEGS CANT WE....                                     

The beautiful one thinks she may have found something at last. Something basic, without silly things like smoke alarms, a functioning oven, a gas alarm for the gas boiler located in the bedroom.  But it's theirs, they can have it. No games. I can live with the unease, can't I?  Orcs. That's what I think of now when I think about the Landlording Irish .  Orcs.  And particularly that scene in Lord of the Rings where one of the Orcs plaintively asks the head Orc if they can't eat the Hobbits.  And when he bellows no! they have to bring them back alive,  the first Orc more plaintively still asks if they can't eat their legs...anyway....to a great chorus of approval from the army of Orcs. "Cos they don't need their legs do they?"  Quite.

                                                   AH SURE IT'S NOTHING....... MUCH......  
                                                                                                                                                               On Wednesday, I get a call from the school about the Boss's Junior Certificate results. Yeah, twelve straight A1s, among only six students in the Country. he says. So can he release her name to the press, can we come down for photographers??? Silence from my end. "It's a great achievement" he says, excitedly. "Congratulations". "Ah sure, she got the same in the mock exams" I say. "Well yes. But it's a great achievement anyway. Even so". And there you have it, more twisty Irish neurosis. Can't take a compliment. Not even a vicarious compliment. I slap myself mentally. Hard. "It's...it's fabulous" I roar, and go off to tell the fabulous one.

The boss takes all compliments, exclamations and congratulations in her stride. A little storm of newspaper calls, and snappers. She is serene and gracious.  Maybe we're breeding the barbed, self conscious humility out of us.  Maybe her and her sister's children will be allowed to pay a manageable price to live on college campuses one day, and we'll breed out the greedy, panic stricken grabbiness in us too.