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The Digs Hunting Diaries: Part 3

Posted by: tally

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The next part of this story introduces a new character: The Estate Agent.

When I was small I had a friend whose mom was an estate agent. She used to wear fancy clothes and drive a fancy car and win prizes for selling houses and always seemed so happy and willing to please.

She did not live in Grahamstown.

The Grahamstown estate agents have to cope with a hell of a lot more than most do. Granted most times of the year our little town is pretty quiet... but then comes Digs Time... and the agents go haywire on a level that only teachers during matric exams and liquor stores the day before the easter weekend can understand. They have developed various coping mechanisms: everything from denial ("we do not handle digs"), to compensation ("here join our facebook group"), to avoidance ("our digs list comes out next month") to passive aggression ("yes, we have digs, no you can't see them.")

Today I shall tell you about Agent 1.

Now you must understand that all the agencies in Grahamstown have what is known as the digs list. This is not one, but in fact two different things depending on where you put the emphasis. There's the digs *list* - a list of digs that are available, and there's the *digs* list - a book where you put down who you are and what you're looking for. I discovered the latter at the end of first term and put my name down merrily in three different brightly coloured books... and heard nothing from any of the agencies.

Still not exactly worried (it's only July!) after my previous digs adventure, I decided to start browsing the forums. Rhodes has a great online culture... actually a couple of online cultures. The one is a chat room, and the other is the forums. I got pretty tired of the forums in first year because it's just one of those places where you absolutely know that whatever you say will be shot down within five minutes. Nevertheless, the forums are often a great source of information. On this particular day they directed me at The 2009 Oppidan Digs List. Oppidan is another one of those words I didn't hear before getting here... but basically "Oppidan" is the term for those who live in digs at Rhodes. They form a society, and have a representative on the Student Council and everything. One of the things they also do is help you become one of them by providing a list of all the places they know of that are looking for tenants for the next year (come over to the dark side, we have kitchens...).

There before me, in bright orange and gold, was a list of all the digs available for 2009. Hurriedly I got out my Map and began matching one man digs with the names of the streets within my Circle of Proximity. Like Indiana Jones hunting down some rare ruby, I hunted down the digs of my dreams... or at least I attempted to. I made a list of names and phone numbers and began calling to set up showings.

There were two names that kept coming up. The one never answered his phone. The other did answer, but answered in a gruff "what the hell are you thinking" voice. She worked for Agency 1. And she could show me two of those places in two day's time.

Overjoyed and with my mind at ease, I waited anxiously for the day to arrive. I walked down to the agency. I was five minutes early. And from behind the desk she arose. "I'm sorry" she said "I have to cancel our appointment for today. My car's in the garage. It was meant to be back by now, but is not. Can we reschedule?"

I nodded meekly. The next time she could fit me in was in four days time. I didn't think clearly about my timetable and agreed. I woke up suddenly on that day, remembering I had a lecture I could not possibly skip at that time, and phoned her to reschedule. She told me that a) I had to wait another day and b) the one place I wanted to look at was gone.

The other place, I later discovered, was in a very dodgy area of town. Good thing it was already gone by the time my appointment came round then.

So lessons learned from Agency 1:

1) Working through agencies is not always a good idea

Part Four
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