The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, March 29, 2004  

Pretending I’m Someone I’m Not

On a recent pleasant evening I went outside to sit on the front steps to smoke, to think, to see a world beyond my desk.

While pondering the meaning of the universe, and how to find a real job fast, a 30-something couple stopped and the following conversation ensued:

He: “Good evening. Do you live here?”

I: “Yes.”

He: “I assume your house isn’t for sale at the moment.”

I: “No, it’s not. I just moved in.”

He: “We’re looking for a house in the neighborhood. When was the house built?”

I: “1815.”

He: “What’s the square footage here?”

I: “About 48-hundred, not counting the basement or the garden.”

He: “What do the taxes run?”

I: “I have no idea. Someone takes care of all that.”

He: “How much do you think you would ask if you were to put it on the market?”

I: “Oh, gee, I don’t know . . .”

He: “Just ballpark it for me.”

I: “I really don’t know, maybe two-point-nine.”

He: “Okay, well, thanks. It’s a beautiful home. Do you mind if I ask what you do for a living?”

I: “I’m a writer.”

He: “You must be a damn good one.”

Look, when, like me, you’re unemployed, broke, and nearly homeless, you take your victories where you can. And I can proudly say I uttered not a single lie in this, for me, very amusing conversation. And, as you likely have inferred, the new digs are great. Things are looking up.

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