October 28th, 2009
I spent a few years doing high-end real estate in Manhattan. I thought (very wrongly) that it would be a career that would allow me financial security and flexibility while I pursued my artistic endeavors. Well this particular vocation is most "kicken'" on nights and weekends which is generally when most performers are invited to the stage. I admit that I didn’t give the job my “A” game because I found it awfully soul sucking and discriminating (Co-op boards can reject you for being too black, too white and for not finding your dog attractive.) Plus, I had a hard time earnestly convincing my customers to pay 3 million dollars for 1500 square feet in a “luxury” building that would win “Most undisclosed fire hazards.” There are too many players in the process in the buying and selling of New York residences. You have the buyers, the sellers, the real estate agents, the mortgage brokers, the lawyers, the management companies, the inspectors and random people on the subways who are probably some part of the long process of becoming a homeowner. Blame everyone to the right..and the real estate agent will always be at the end of the line. Brokers will undoubtedly be the person responsible for a faulty air conditioner, an unfavorable mortgage rate and 9/11. I knew it was time to exit the field when I was receiving a $20,000 check at a closing...and I still wanted to vomit. In addition, I grew tired of the investment banker douches that would waste my time when they made it evident that they just wanted a piece of my real estate.
Yet, it would be unfair to omit the occurrences when I dealt with lovely and delightful people. Sadly, those experiences were few and far between. But in the spirit of trying to turn chicken shit into chicken salad, I will share what I miss, found comical and could stomach in my past profession.
-Closing a huge deal while I was walking around naked in my apartment worked for me.
-There was a promiscuous broker and my coworkers gave me high-fives after coining the phrase, “She’s having an Open House..in her pants.”
-The company I worked for had over 1500 brokers in Manhattan and Brooklyn. We had a bulletin board email group that allowed us to communicate unrelated real estate topics(restaurant recommendations, theater tickets etc..) One time an angry agent sent out an email to everyone in every office that read, “To whoever ate my sandwich..I really hope you enjoyed it and fuck you!.”
-One particular incident even inspired me to write a sketch that was performed “live” at Carolines on Broadway. I showed an apartment to a (whipped)man and his blind wife. The woman was alarmingly vocal(borderline rude) regarding the aesthetics of the space. Did it really matter to her that the dining room walls were beige instead of “mother of pearl”?
-My favorite memory was working with the Biatches. The couple’s real name ( I saw driver’s licenses) was Bill and Cara Biatch. Like 10 year olds who just heard our mother accidentally drop a F-bomb, all of us involved in the deal process could never stop finding the humor in the unfortunate Biatch name. There were 3months of telephone calls that went something like this:
Lawyer or Mortgage Broker or Inspector: Jacqueline, I’m calling about the Biatch deal (pause…giggle..):
Jax - I know. The best name ever.(more giggling)
Lawyer or Mortgage Broker or Inspector: Gets me every time
Jax - Seriously, you can't write this shit.
Or maybe you can. I'm a Biatch.