A House of My Own

When I was a kid, I used to think that peer pressure worked something like this:

Mean kid: DO DRUGS!

Me: No!!

Mean kid: (Shoves drugs down my throat.)

Then I grew older and realized peer pressure was actually way more insidious than DARE had had me believe. There was no kid bullying me to do drugs or smoke or drink. Just the feeling that if I didn’t do any of those things, I was a fish-out-of-water weirdo. After all, everyone ELSE was doing it.

And then I got even older and realized that peer pressure wasn’t just for sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.

It was for EVERYTHING.

Including big things. Like getting married. Or having a baby. Or buying a house.

And while as a little kid in DARE 2000, I thought that I’d never EVER succumb to peer pressure, as a fully grown adult I have to say, it’s really freakin hard not to!

It starts out easy enough. A friend of mine puts an offer on a cute place and gets it. I’m happy for her and not at all jealous.

Then I visit said place. And it’s super cute and she and her husband are talking about their garden (I want a garden!) and what color they’re going to paint the living room (we’re not allowed to paint our apartment!) and I imagine the memories they’re going to make in that house … the parties they will throw, the kids they will have. And I start to feel just a wee bit jealous. Ok, a fair bit jealous.

Then I’m chatting with another friend and they ask if we’re looking. And I, because, you know, I want to be looking, say “You know, we look occasionally,” in as nonchalant a way as I can. Even though by looking occasionally I mean that I check Zillow obsessively and that I one managed to drag Dave to one open house in our neighborhood.

“Well we have a real estate agent you could use,” my friend says and instantly I want to hire said real estate agent. 

“Yeah, totally,” I say. “I love real estate agents. They’re awesome. Once, when I went to Mexico, this real estate agent gave me these amazing hallucinations. It was rad. Then I ate a whole box of Oreos.”

Yes, I’m weak. And while I did okay saying no to drugs (mostly because very few people ever offered them to me) I have an impossible time saying no to a house. 

(Did I mention my mom is peer pressuring me into buying a house? Is it called peer pressure when your mom is doing it? Or is that just pressure?)

The reality is that there are a lot of perfectly good reasons why we’re not buying a house. We don’t know where we’ll be for the next ten years. We don’t have kids yet. We love our apartment. We’re perfectly happy with a two-bedroom place for now. Buying is expensive (San Francisco is one of the only places where renting is still cheaper). We hate moving. And as a former non-consumerist, I don’t believe in buying things just cuz everyone else is. I don’t. I don’t.

And yet, I can’t help feeling like I’m the only one having orange juice while all the cool kids are having screwdrivers.

It’s totally irrational, but I kinda really kinda wanna house.

6 responses to “A House of My Own

  1. Hey Ruchi, there are plenty of other cool kids not buying houses. You can choose your peer pressure. 🙂 Michael and I sometimes think about buying a house… and then consider all the ramifications… and go, “nah.”

  2. Um… not that we’re “cool” or anything.

  3. it turns out that it’s cheaper to buy in Oakland that it is to rent (in Oakland, obviously also cheaper than renting in San Francisco.) Just sayin…

  4. Bah, you’re not the only one. Although in my case, it’s not so much peer pressure as BUT GAH, IT’S SO CUTE, WE WANT NOW! And then we realize that, actually, we don’t want now, we like the option of being flexible and picking up at the drop of a hat and moving somewhere else. Will we actually *do* that? Probably not, but it’s nice to be able to. Plus, the paperwork alone stresses me out.

  5. Bah, you’re not the only one. Although in our case it’s not so much peer pressure as it is looking at places and being like IT’S SO CUTE, WHY DON’T WE GET IT NOW?? And then we realize, well, we kind of like where we are and we like the flexibility of being able to pick up at a moment’s notice and move somewhere else. Will we actually *do* that? Probably not, but it’s nice to know that we can. Yes, I do long for the garden, the renovations, the sense of permanence. And then I think of the paperwork and think that we’re just fine where we are. For now.

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