Rental Diaries, vol. 10

Neighborhood loyalties

Mary Gray
April 9, 2018 - 12:12

From the period of November 2016 to April 2017 I was positively desperate and, as a result, insufferable. You will read that and perhaps link it to a certain orange-tinged election, but the primary culprit was the housing market in Florence.

My search was all I could talk about (hence the creation of this column). In the initial month, I made quite a production of broadcasting my hope to end up on my very same street (in hindsight—ha!) Switching neighborhoods after three years of befriending shopkeepers, baristas and finally choosing between the road’s two butchers? No thanks, I fussed, to anyone who’d listen.

But the shopkeeper bit was kind of a sham. Sure, I favored certain corners and familiar faces, but my only real loyalty was to my vino sfuso supplier.

In presentations to potential housemates, it was a prime selling point—or I framed it that way, anyway. Wine on tap just two doors down? Who wouldn’t sign up? Over time, all our visitors—Dutch and German parents of roommates, colleagues, dates—were routinely impressed (worried?) by the cork collection we’d amassed from near-daily walks to the watering hole.

The shop owner himself knew of my search and even some of my parameters. One of them, though he had no idea, was actually “within walking distance of this shop”, which later evolved to “within walking distance of a similar business” and finally “within walking distance of Florence at all.”

I did end up with one of said “similar businesses” on my new block, and the first shop permanently shut down in the very period I moved away. Coincidence or not, I can’t quite shake the guilt, but I only really talk about it when drinking. In vino, veritas.





Read all Rental Diaries columns by Mary Gray here



more articles