This ad recently appeared in Craigslist’s “Real Estate Wanted” listings for Vancouver, where real estate seems nearly as difficult to come by as it is here in New York City.
Date: 2011-06-26, 8:16PM PDT
This offer is not for everyone. Those of you who have saved every penny for most of your life to afford a down payment and currently work around the clock to make mortgage payments, I commend you on your efforts, but this post is not for you.
Do you own more than one property? Do you have so many rental homes with no mortgage payments, yet you still feel unfulfilled? Tired of your illegal tenants whining that there are rats in the walls? Have you always wanted your own dinosaur? Now is your chance my friend.
In exchange for one of your properties, I will be your personal dinosaur for one year.
The ad goes on,
I will be at your beck and call, 24 hours a day, wearing a dinosaur costume. The type of dinosaur is negotiable. I can babysit your children (references upon request), scare the mailman, wash dishes, entertain and impress your guests, and much more. (No sex stuff though, sorry.) I will make realistic dinosaur sounds, eat what the particular dinosaur eats and maybe even sit on a fake dinosaur egg, if you are so inclined. I am well educated, fluent in English and French (as well as dinosaur), can play several musical instruments and have no criminal record or outstanding warrants.
All this and more. This is the only way you will ever have your pet dinosaur, and the only way I will ever be able to acquire a house in Vancouver.
Serious offers only please.
We were intrigued. Our New York City apartment is far too small for its own dinosaur, but we feel the dinosaur’s pain about acquiring a house, or a very small room called “an apartment.” So we got in touch. We heard back, from an email account titled “firstname.lastname@example.org.” We spoke to the dinosaur. The dinosaur was not a single dinosaur, but a couple named Justin and Rheanna who are, respectively, a 31-year-old musician, who’s often on tour with his band, Three Inches of Blood, and a 27-year-old self-employed graphic designer. They thought it would be easier to have both of them involved “if a dinosaur needs to be at someone’s beck and call 24 hours a day.”
While they haven’t had any takers, yet, they’ve been “propositioned, insulted and gotten a lot of virtual high fives.” And they’ve started a blog compiling responses to the ads, which range from angry to highly amused.
What made you guys post this?
Rheanna: I’m an artist; Justin’s a musician. I love this city so much and it’s so depressing that I have friends in other towns in Canada and in America who pay less for their mortgage than we pay for our rent each month. We wrote the ad in about 10 minutes. It’s picked up in the last couple weeks. There have been a lot of people saying “Props to you,” but some people have gotten upset, saying “This is what’s wrong with Canada.” And it’s never occurred to people this might be from a girl, so people are propositioning Justin.
Where you surprised by the reactions?
I’ve been surprised. We just did it as a joke for ourselves. There are some in-jokes in there, like, my place before this one was an illegal suite with rats in the walls that the landlady wouldn’t get rid of. She said the rats were my fault!
I imagine rent in Vancouver is not dissimilar to that in New York. What’s your current place like?
We are lucky! We lucked into something that’s only $650 a month, but we call it the cave. We’re in the basement. There’s no direct light, we just have a toaster oven, and we had to bribe the owner to let us have a cat. We’re pretty lucky, I guess. I can kind of see the sunlight about 20 feet away.
It’s funny that we call that “lucky”!
It’s not as bad here as it is out there [in New York], but after the Olympics, there was such a jump — prices of everything went up — so many people are disillusioned.
Justin: When we did that ad, it was one of those things. We were discussing how it’s just impossible to own a place of your own in Vancouver. We thought it would be so funny if someone would actually come to us and say, Yes, we’ll give you real estate in exchange for you being our dinosaur for a year.
Would you actually do it?
We’d definitely consider it! It’s like someone giving you a winning lottery ticket. Having your own place in Vancouver — you’re kind of set for life. The idea is, What can someone never have in their entire life? A dinosaur.
Is that how you feel about real estate, too?
It’s kind of like real estate. I don’t know, it’s been so funny. We’ve been constantly laughing about the replies that we’ve been getting. Someone called us “a dirty scumbag”? It’s like…come on.
What’s your favorite dinosaur?
Rheanna: For me it’s the Triceratops. Justin’s pointing at himself and saying T-Rex. If this ever did happen, we’d alternate being the dinosaur.
We did get someone responding back saying, “I am very interested, please contact me asap.” We wrote back, but haven’t heard back again. Would we do this? I mean, I think so. We’ve both had way worse jobs! I used to work at a dog day-care place. Being a dinosaur would be kind of nice.
It really goes to show what city living does to people. Someone else who wrote us said, “I think this is a great idea. I can’t afford a house, either. I have a really sweet Honda. If you want to live in my Honda, you totally can!”