I went online to the newspaper of the area I am hoping to move into and found a 3 bedroom one bathroom mobile home "In a Shady Spot" for $550. So I called.
After speaking for a few minutes, the woman who manages the "mobile home community" told me she would let me pay the security deposit in three monthly payments if Gator didn't try to bite her, and gave me directions to the place.
I threw the dog in the tub, shined him up, and and we jumped in the car.
I drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and when I finally got there I wanted to turn around and floor it.
The trailer is at least 35 years old-probably more, sits perched on a mountainside overlooking several more precariously perched trailers from the late sixties, and has been clumsily 'remodeled' by the White Trash Decorator of the Year.
The kid who would like to mow the 'grass' (a few desperate clumps struggling in heavy clay soil) is straight out of Deliverance Part II and the manager explained that he is a victim of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
The neighbours across the street are illegals if ever I saw-a father, mother, and several small children, with maize-NOT CORN-growing in straggling tall clumps right up to the house; the neighbours to either side stayed in their houses but their yards looked ok.
The girl living in the 'unit' behind the trailer I looked at is a student, so that might be ok and she apparently feels safe enough to leave her ten sped sitting on the porch, but I didn't have time to see if it was chained because the 'community' dog pack decided to check Gator out, and I had to hustle him into the car...The dogs arrived, and one of them has a skin infection.
Right, then the 'community' manager and I get in our respective vehicles and I follow her to the office-a drive through, up, and over some more torturous winding mountain lanes that have me wondering what it's like here in the winter...
We pull into the main complex, and I realize that I may be renting a trailer in the 'DEE-LUXE' area of the 'community' as the main complex is straight out of trailer park hell.
All the voices in my head are screaming-RUN!
We go into the office and as I stand at the desk I look through the window; I can see two skinheads lolling on the stoop of a trailer that makes the one I looked at seem rather nice. I didn't have time to see if they had gang tats because the manager handed me the application forms, and nervously told me how glad such a quality person as myself was interested; she told me horror story on horror story of people who'd looked at the place-I was the first person she would consider renting to, and all she wanted was proof of employment-she isn't even going to run a credit check or call down to Dothan to see if I left the apartment at the storage facility I worked and lived at before moving to Georgia in tatters.
The longer I am with her, the more nervous her laughter becomes. I begin to feel sick at the thought that our desperation matches up perfectly; I ask her if the trailer has been broken into, is the area safe? She looks me right in the eye and tells me yes; surprisingly, I believe her as everyone I've seen looks tough enough to shoot a would be assailant right off the face of the earth-and quietly willing to do so. I begin to think that if I end up having to move here, I won't buy a microwave first thing, I'll buy a shotgun.