Our landlord is so great that every rent check I feel as if we should add a 20% gratuity. So you can imagine how hard it was to give him our 30-day notice this week. But ending relationships has never been my strong point.
It was especially hard because I tend to exaggerate all relationships in my life. For example, my barber in high school was a nice, attractive woman who only knew how to give me a bowl cut. Even when I asked her to express herself through my hair, I would walk out looking like a ten year old in 1988. But as a 17-year old in the mid-90s this type of hair-do could not stand. I fretted over what she would do if she caught me with another beautician, or realized I was getting my haircut somewhere else. Eventually I got up the nerve to leave her for a more skilled male barber. He was an excellent barber, but also bigot. To get back at him, I had his wife cut my hair in front of him. Despite this adultrous act, we haven’t officially broken it off. Because of my weakness with breaking up, I occasionally rekindle our barbership.
But I digress. This time I had to end a relationship with a person I would just as soon not. You see my wife and I have the landlord you dream about. It is almost like renting from your grandfather without the obligatory 4:30 pm dinners. Instead he charges us dirt cheap rent for the area for a farmhouse with one of the most incredible views in the Swannannoa Valley AND cuts our grass every other week. Did I mention that he also grabs our newspaper and waters our plants when we are out of town, no questions asked? He does. Once when a high school girl crashed her car into our porch while I was home writing my graduate thesis, he took care of all the details and apologized for the disturbance.
In a way our landlord has made me understand why people follow dictators or Jim Jones-like religious zealots. Hell, if those people took care of me the way my landlord does, I wouldn’t mind living under oppressive laws, or weird circumstances, as long as my lawn got cut.
But my wife and I have other plans. In about a month we are heading to South Korea to teach English to elementary school kids. We love it here in our cozy farmhouse in a small town where we know almost everyone, but we realize there is a big world out there that we need to see. We also understand that not everyone is as cozy as we are everyday. Though South Korea certainly isn’t the American definition of a “third world country,” we want to leave our comfort zone to see how people live on the other side of the world.
So when it came time to finally do the deed, I made small talk with our landlord until my wife returned with the rent check. “We have news for you,” she said bluntly, “we are moving to Korea.” Just like that. I nodded, shrugged my shoulders and shuffled my feet, clearly embarrassed by my rejection of this man.
Until next time,