Rental Guide-Bond: Should you leave Oakland?

By Lexie Bond

Picking up and moving every year is about as fun as realizing you need to go up a jean size…. Picking up and moving every year is about as fun as realizing you need to go up a jean size. This summer I was lucky enough to move during a heat advisory. Bonds are notorious for their active sweat glands, in case you didn’t know.

But I suppose you didn’t really need to know that, unless you want to opt out of the treadmill beside me at the gym from now on.

Despite moving being a pain in my one-jean-size-larger and sweaty rear, I was a bit more excited this year at the prospect of moving to a new neighborhood — Squirrel Hill.

Now why would someone that goes to school in Oakland want to live in Squirrel Hill? If you must know, I’m quite fond of squirrels. Well, squirrels and Razzy Fresh frozen yogurt, which didn’t exist in Oakland at the time of my move.

Squirrel Hill had some great perks at first. My apartment was a great size, had big closets and hardwood floors. The parking outside my building was free — no permit required. My rent was about the same as my old place in South Oakland, but I was getting so much more for my money.

To add, I even thought at one point that if I lived in Squirrel Hill long enough, I might become Jewish..

So distracted by the abundance of squirrels outside my front door and the abundance of frozen yogurt in my belly, I didn’t notice the drawbacks of the neighborhood until pretty recently.

I used to enjoy my 15 minute walk to campus last year from my old place in South Oakland. I’d get to rock out to Hanson on my iPod and squeeze in a little workout every time I walked to and from class.

But now it would take me an hour to walk to campus and would involve crawling up some very large hills. Who would have thought Squirrel Hill would have so many hills? Apparently not the person who assumed squirrels would be more abundant.

Because campus isn’t a reasonable walking distance from my apartment, I’m forced to take the Port Authority buses. I’ve also noticed that I get sick pretty much every other day now. Coincidence? I think not. If you’re looking to avoid the flu, avoid the people who cough and sneeze throughout their entire ride on public transporation.

But my negative experience with the Port Authority doesn’t end with my new and necessary addiction to orange juice and NyQuil cocktails. No. Riding the bus has also given me a really big ego. I’ve learned that I’m highly attractive by public transportation standards, by the number of old men that either 1) tell me I have a nice face 2) tell me I can sit on their knee when no other seats are available 3) “accidently” repeatedly rub their man parts on my shoulder while I’m sitting and 4) bite me. Yes. I’ve been bitten by another human being on the Port Authority. And no. I don’t want to talk about it.

Of course my gripes about riding the bus would not be unique to Squirrel Hill, but not having to ride the bus is a great reason in itself for Pitt Students to stay in the Oakland area.

In addition, another benefit to staying in Oakland is having other students as your neighbors. My neighbors include two infants in the apartment directly above me that run around and cry all day — that is when they’re not banging on the xylophone they got for Christmas. Their parents also like to vacuum constantly and cough up disturbing amounts of phlegm at 7 a.m.

Another disadvantage to living in a non-student neighborhood is the slim chance that you’ll make new friends in your immigrant-filled apartment building. And if you think your old friends will be willing to travel to visit you, you better make something good for dinner. Forget about having parties unless all your guests can stay the night when they’re too drunk to drive home.

Although there surely are nicer and less expensive rentals in Squirrel Hill, there are definitely disadvantages to leaving the Oakland area. My advice to you, reader, as I hold your face in my hands and shake it, is to stay here. Stay as long as you can! After all, you don’t need an extra couple of miles between you and your perfect attendance award. Do they give perfect attendance awards in college? Well, they should.

If you’d like advice on how to avoid cannibals on the bus, e-mail [email protected].