I committed to renting a flat last week. For at least three years. Without even seeing it. No, really.
I'm working six days a week at present, and so I'm rarely in the city during working hours. We'd seen somewhere that sounded extremely promising, and Caroline had the chance of the first viewing. The problem was, the agent explained, that eighty other people had also expressed an interest. Now, even allowing for hyperbole, this didn't sound beyond the realms of possibility : any number of flats proved to be taken by the time I rang up to enquire. So it would almost certainly have gone by the time I was able to see it as well.
There was really only one thing to do. I told Caroline that - if she liked it - to just go for it. If she liked it, I reasoned, I was almost certainly going to like it as well. And besides, think back to 2001 and my decision to spend eighteen months in a crumbling gothic pile with dry rot. Whose opinion would you trust?
So after lessons one Friday morning I checked my phone and found a message saying that, yes, she'd made an offer and actually put money down as the first step of the deposit. Later that day, the agent came back to us saying that the landlord had provisionally agreed. There was still a week until everything could be finalised but, last Friday, she went along to sign the final agreement.
And so it was that I found myself signed up to living in a flat without actually seeing it. We got the keys a bit earlier than planned, and I was able to go around there after work. Behind the church of the Scalzi, near the railway station, in a block originally built for railway workers.
It isn't perfect, but we'd realised that nowhere was going to tick every box and this ticked more than anywhere else we'd seen. Truth be told, the only real problem is the kitchen. In fact, it's not even the kitchen itself (which is bigger than the one we have now), but just the cooker hood and the fridge which the previous occupant had decided to paint an unpleasant shade of yellowy-brown. Why would anybody paint a fridge yellowy-brown? For that matter, why would anybody paint a fridge at all? I have no idea, but I can probably sort it out. I think I'm capable of painting a fridge. At the very least, I'm capable of ignoring it until I don't notice it any more.
So there we are. Two bedrooms, a bathroom with a proper stand-up shower at last, a decent-sized living room. A balcony that looks over a nicely-maintained communal garden. A shared altana that looks towards terra firma and the mountains on one side, and right over to the campanile of San Marco on the other. Ten minutes walk to Piazzale Roma, which should save us an hour of commuting every day; and just a short walk to the station in case of a bus strike. I think we've been lucky.
I committed to renting a flat last week. For at least three years. Without even seeing it. Because my wife is brilliant.