While everyone else has been meandering about town searching for Geodudes, Zubats, Jigglypuffs and the like, I have been on a series of my own personal quests. I present to you now a special quest-based edition of A Building, A Feeling, and A Latrine. Because when you get right down to it, that’s what life is all about. Setting goals for yourself! Going on great journeys! Taking pictures of apartment buildings and writing jokes about them!
The Quest to Find The Flintstone Floorplans
The other day, I was driving West on Church Street and saw, not one, not two, but three separate buildings that all looked identical.
(OK, not quite identical, this last one has an ornamental doodad on its facade that is definitely 100% not a swastika)
This alone might not have piqued my interest, but I recalled seeing other instances of the same sandstone cubes elsewhere in town, and I think once years ago I even did an apartment tour in one. Thus, I began my essentially pointless crusade to find all of these dumb things.
What to call my chosen quarry though? With their microscopic windows and rock solid (har har) construction, I at first thought these buildings looked like micro prisons, hidden throughout Champaign-Urbana. Upon further reflection though, I realized that they bear a striking resemblance to the domicile of a certain modern stone age family.
I declared that they be known as The Flintstone Floorplan, and set out to find and document every one.
I rode my trusty bicycle from Mattis out past Philo in Urbana and found eight separate Flintstone Floorplan buildings in a single evening. I took pictures of each and even made a map.
(Notice Ramshaw really standing out with the inclusion of a tasteful blue awning)
(Observe how Green St. Realty added new, wider bathroom windows to this one, probably at great expense, but just admire the uniformity)
Why did I do all this? Am I a weirdo? Has this column made me far too interested in the overwhelmingly mundane apartment buildings in this town? Do I have a physical copy of that Google Map posted on my bedroom wall with push pins on each point and twine threaded between them in the hopes of discerning some sort of pattern? The answer to all these questions is yes.
However, my quest left me with many more unanswered questions. Were all of these buildings built by the same company at the same time and then gradually sold off to the various property managers that now own them? Did the original architect have a grand vision of a sandstone future? Are there Flintstone Floorplans in far Savoy where I fear to tread? Are there others perhaps in other states? Other countries? Can I get one that still comes with a pterodactyl radio and a mammoth vacuum cleaner?
Honestly though, wouldn’t it be sweet if there was a public database that showed the locations for every building design? Just think, you could move from San Diego all the way to Portland Maine and still have the exact same apartment.
VERDICT: These buildings don’t look that great, but if you see one around town that I didn’t identify IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT YOU NOTIFY ME IMMEDIATELY.
The Quest to Not Be Homeless (Apartment Hunting in C-U)
Recently, I was in the market for a new apartment. I started my search the usual way: by visiting friends' apartments and asking very roundabout questions about how much they pay in rent.
I had, what I felt was, a very reasonable set of criteria.
My new place needed to:
1: Not be wildly fuckspensive.
2: Not have COIN OPERATED LAUNDRY.
It is 2016 now and there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for me to ever touch a quarter for the rest of my days unless I’m trying to collect all fifty state quarters in order to give my life more meaning (SIDE NOTE: Can you imagine if the U.S. Mint came out with a set of Pokemon Quarters?). I can even pay for parking now with an app, why do so many property managers still expect me to pay a dollar in COLD, DISGUSTING PHYSICAL CURRENCY to do my wash? Heck, I’d pay three dollars to wash and three more to dry provided I could use some sort of card based system like they have in student housing on campus. Say what you will about University housing, but their laundry game is strong. When I lived in a grad student apartment building, all the washers and dryers were networked so you could go to a website from anywhere and see which machines were running and exactly how much time they had left on them. IT. WAS. AMAZING.
3: Be available for move-in before July 22nd.
Those of you who have looked for apartments in C-U understand the struggle. All the rental schedules here revolve around the school schedule. Leases don’t start until early/mid August, but only go until mid/late July. You have to go out of your way to avoid being homeless for two to four weeks in the summer. Most students don’t care about this since they’re off having naked beach parties or whatever. For busy, hip, attractive, young professionals such as myself however, it’s a real pain.
VERDICT: After an extensive search, I’m happy to report I’ve now moved into a new place that fits all my criteria. It’s far from perfect (the bathroom sink was built for Hobbits), but it is cheap, and it sure beats living in a stranger’s garage until August 15th.
The Quest to Build The Perfect Bathroom (is still in the planning stages)
As I’ve mentioned in other columns, it is a life goal of mine to one day construct the perfect bathroom. Not necessarily the most luxurious, just, you know, perfect. As I am a busy, hip, attractive, young professional at the moment, I do not have the money yet to undertake such an endeavor, but I am always on the lookout for killer features to add to my perfect bathroom.
During my recent housing search, I ended up taking tours of a couple of the apartments that exist in the upper floors of The Art Theater building. Didn’t know there were apartments up there? Well I didn’t either, so I just had to check them out despite them thoroughly failing all three of my criteria.
The apartments were decent and had a lot of character (both the good and bad kinds of character), but what really struck me was the bathroom in the top apartment. It wasn’t very big or fancy, but there was an enormous skylight up there giving an unprecedented view of a flawless blue sky to anyone taking a shit. It was wonderous. I almost signed a lease right there, but then the manager showed me the coin-op washing machine.
I did take a picture of this bathroom (not because I’m a creep, I just took pictures of every apartment I toured so I could remember them), but I won’t be posting that picture here since some stranger lived in that room at the time and maybe they don’t want the state of their bathroom revealed. So you’ll just have to wait until I construct my perfect commode and post pictures of the skylight that will definitely feature prominently there.
VERDICT: I wonder if having a skylight in your bathroom is at all like being a bird and taking dumps in flight.
That's all for this month! I'm very serious that you should tell me in the comments if you know of another Flintstone Floorplan in town.