The Yenta family has been looking for a suitable house within the Savannah area for six months now, and in spite of all the nonsense I hear about “buyer’s market” and “appreciation value,” I still can’t find a place that feels like home.
Our extremely patient realtor sends us emails twice a day, calls my cell when she sees anything like a 3 bedroom, 2 bath within 10 miles of our kid’s school, and pretends not to hear when El Yenta Man and I start sniping at each other about whether putting our daughter’s bedroom in the garage is a fair trade-off for a gourmet kitchen. She’s shown us probably 60 houses so far, and she’s always smiling when she takes off the lockbox on the latest vinyl-sided monstrosity/mouse-sized brick bungalow/mold-infested ranch style. Her optimism far surpasses mine.
(I could write a whole other post about how guilty I feel for being so goshdarn picky. But it’s my first house. I’m not trying to be difficult, and my demands aren’t that outrageous all the bedrooms on the same floor? A kitchen that doesn’t need all the plumbing and electrical ripped out and replaced prior to moving in? No daily drive-by shootings? All I can say is I know what I looking for, and I haven’t seen it yet. I’ll know it when I walk in the door.)
The ladies at the weekly senior lunch (aka The Yentas) are growing impatient. Ethel, who moved to Savannah from Brooklyn last year to be near her grandchildren, puts her hand on my arm the minute I arrive on Thursdays. “Nu? Any news?” When I shake my head she pats me and says “Ach, it’s a good thing your in-laws are so generous. I’d have put you out on the street by now.”
Beezy, the spriteliest 82 year-old in Hadassah history (she flattered my father-in-law into $150 towards the latest fundaraiser) is convinced that my realtor is to blame for our chronic houselessness. “Girls, don’t you think she should change agents? Someone from the community could find you a house like that.” She snaps her bejeweled fingers. By “community” she means “of our kind.” As in “Ditch that goyish Yankee already and employ someone Jewish who’s from here, schmuck.”
I try to explain to the Yentas that all realtors have access to the same listings, unless there’s a secret Jewish real estate cabal to which I am not privy. I say El Yenta Man has been working with this woman since before we made the cross country shlep and that if we change agents, she won’t earn a penny for all the time she’s spent with us. The Yentas all wave their hands and make “bosh!” and “pish” noises at me.
Maybe there is an underground Jewish real estate mafia hawking fabulous homes with rose bushes and front porches and endless closets and built-in bookshelves, but I cannot in good conscience dump someone who has tried so hard to help me find a home. At this point when when we finally do find a place, the math breaks down such that with her commision divided by the hours she’s put in, she’ll be lucky if she breaks minimum wage, anyway.
Even though I’m too much of a pansy fuzzyheart to do it, I guess I can forgive the Yentas for thinking it’s fine to screw over my realtor in favor of “my own kind.” But what the deal with Jewish a**hat who f*cks over his observant Jewish realtor?
When I heard that Jerry Seinfeld duped his Orthodox realtor out of her commission by purchasing his $3.95 million Manhattan townhouse on the Sabbath, I have to say I experienced something like moral superiority, bordering on howling righteousness. Sure, a judge has ordered Jerry and his wife, Jessica, to pay something like $100,000 (far below the standard 5%, by the way) to poor Tamara Cohen, who made it clear to the Seinfelds that she was unavailable from sundown on Friday ’til three stars out on Saturday. So maybe the Seinfelds could care less about Shabbat, but showing such disprespect to one of one’s own is shanda. Cohen’s loyalty to the Sabbath was merely an inconvenience to them; they couldn’t wait another minute to spend their millions and do the right thing?
Obviously my sympathies lie with Tamara, who likely spent Sunday morning to Friday afternoon for months showing the Seinfelds every piece of real estate form Staten Island to Park Avenue, trying to keep a positive attitude while gelt-digger-turned-socialite Jessica rejected brownstone after penthouse because she hated the crown molding. (Okay, so maybe that was me, but I refuse to see any similarity between us beyond our first names. Besides, I know I’m an idiot, whereas I suspect Jessica Seinfeld thrives on asserting her role as a bitch.)
Maybe Jerry and Michael Richards should get together and pitch a new show: “So it’s your basic ad-lib about this entitled jerk who has no social conscience but makes pithy observations that are supposed to apply to everyone, right? And he has this friend who’s prone to yelling racist things, but he’s not really racist, he just has some form of Tourette’s…”
*Photo care of USAToday. Are Jerry and Jessica giggling over their power to dis’ the little people and the religion of their ancestors?