I make an effort to be easy to get along with so that Tano will be excited to live with me. I let him tell me I should have boiled the noodles and I should have locked the door.

My neighbor's boyfriend just moved into her house and her cat hates her boyfriend so the cat comes to my house, which has a cat door, and Tano likes cats, so I seduce the cat until it pretty much lives with me, so Tano will want to live with me too. The neighbor leaves me a note saying she sees her cat go into my house all the time, and could I please close up my cat door. But by then I really like the cat, so I decide to get my own cat from an animal shelter because then I can say that I have to leave my cat door open for my cat, and then her cat will come visit.

I ask Tano if he wants to come with me to the shelter. He says, "Does this mean you don't want to live together?" At first I don't know what he's talking about, but then he tells me that his apartment doesn't allow cats, and he won't live in my house because if you live on the ground floor in L.A., someone will steal your stuff.

I say, "My house is great and it has a cat door and a garden, and your apartment sucks and it has no ventilation."

He says I should look at some apartments and report back to him.

When I find a good apartment, I describe it to him. I tell him when we can go visit it together and he says he's not visiting. He just wants to know what's out there.

I say, "Then don't tell me to go look for apartments. Just because I don't have a fucking stupid full-time job like you doesn't mean I can spend my days helping you do your life."

He says, OK, he'll go look at the one I found.

I scout it beforehand because I want to make sure it's good because I want to make sure he knows that I'm good at finding apartments. The guy who lives there shows it because he's in real estate and his landlord's out of town. "I'm John," he says, and I shake his hand. Real estate isn't the greatest, but he sure is cute. I try to be charming because apartment-hunting is like the Dating Game. He asks me what I do, and I say Web sites, and I can think of a lot of lies to tell him about how great I am, but you can't look like you're trying too hard in these situations.

John eats his dinner in his clean white kitchen while I look around the apartment. Tano would never let people go through his apartment alone. Tano would assume everyone was looking at his apartment to figure out how to steal his stuff. Tano would lock up the videos he made of his life at an angle as if any criminal would be interested in Tano's art. And Tano's kitchen is filthy. John's bedroom is big but so is his TV room. Probably he's not interesting enough for me to date.

He tells me about the kooks who have traipsed through his apartment. I smile knowingly to differentiate myself. I tell him I'll bring Tano here tomorrow, and John says, "Great."

I hope it's great. I have done a lot to make a good impression. I don't know if Tano's capable of that.

John likes us best and Tano talks about his job making video games and says it's not really what he does, he's really a video artist. John says he's not really a real-estate person, he's really a director. Tano asks for an rental application. Tano hands over his fax number, which he only hands over in dire circumstances because maybe someone will use his fax number to get hold of his social security number and then kill him.

I am planning where my books will go when we move in. I am planning how to transplant my garden onto the balcony. I will have to put my roses and hydrangeas in huge clay pots and then schlep them through the city in a rental truck. I will have to dig up the herbs that I just fertilized.

Then Tano tells me he just took the application to make the guy shut up. Tano never had any intention of moving into that place.

I decide I'd better give up the cat and move into Tano's apartment before he tells me he had no intentions with me, either, and I run out of money for rent and get evicted.

Madlyn's Life Story Before it's Too Late | Home