A telephone call from our new real estate agent a few days ago. How it should have gone:
“Hi Beth, this is Peter. I’m just calling to query you on the caravan in the front yard.”
“Uh, the owner is a little concerned. It has an extension cord running out of it. We just need to know if there is anyone living in it? Also, it would be good if it could be eventually moved around the back, for cosmetic reasons.”
“Actually Peter, I’m glad you called. I was wanting to talk to you about a similar thing. But just to clear up your query, there is no one living in it. It is 14 feet long? M stays in it if Small Z is having a bad night. My mother stayed in it last week. But do I have a longterm sublet going on from which I am profiting wildly? Unfortunately I do not.
”What I wanted to bring to your attention was that I feel that the house itself is bringing down the tone of my caravan*. My 1962, egg-shaped, vintage, restored, fibreglass caravan. I was hoping that the owner might consider repainting the exterior of his very important investment property that was, until recently, his personal home LaMarque White (Dulux) with a blue metal flake finish around the window frames? This would work much better for me than the dark green house and the cracked aubergine and white front door.”
…Of course, what happened was that I spluttered incoherently, told him where the owner could stick his concern about the cosmetics of his property and forcefully informed him that no one was living in the caravan and it was no business of anyone but myself where on the property the caravan was located. Gah.
M and I immediately felt somewhat violated that someone (friends of the owner – who has relocated to Queensland) had been driving by, perving at our set up. It was this icky, spied on feeling. We felt instantly like we were in someone elses house, not our own. Of course, we have recovered our equaminity, but it wasn’t a great start to things.
*Suggested by L, who is good with acerbic responses.