LOOKING TO BUY A FLAT FROM GOOD PEOPLE
For some time now, together with classic correspondence from a Rossmann drugstore, Pizza Hut, and offers of an ultra-fast internet connection, I receive flyers announcing the will of buying a flat in the nearby area. It all started innocently when I found a small piece of paper in my mailbox, with words I will buy a flat Maciej xxx xxx xxx printed on it, with the use of Arial Italic typeface. (For privacy reasons I decided to replace the actual telephone numbers of Maciej and other advertisers with the letter x. Even if that privacy is already a lost cause – I find the flyers not only in my mailbox but also in the elevator, scattered next to the rubbish bins and glued to the soles of children playing outside – it deserves some remnants of respect.) The phenomenon escalated with time, and flyers themselves became more and more sophisticated. It has come to the critical point when after two weeks of being away from home I found 31 flyers in the mailbox.
There are various design types in this area. The first category consists of flyers designed with the use of standard computer fonts such as Times, Arial, or the bit more extravagant Courier. Often accompanied by a logo or small icon. This standard solution is simple, yet effective. Most of the time it is used by real estate companies (cash payment, we accept flats in debt or in need of renovation), or like in the case of Maciej – private diggers, amateurs of graphic design.
Second category: flyers using fonts imitating handwriting (so-called handwritten fonts). The aim of it, I suppose, is to soften the hearts of the readers, since it looks familiar. However, even an ordinary man with no knowledge of fonts can expose the hypocrisy of this stinky move in a blink of an eye. Especially since the name is missing, the flyer is anonymous; there is only a phone number. The paper is all shiny with a square pattern insolently printed just on one side of it, unsuccessfully pretending to be a page torn out of a children’s notebook. Nice try.
Seduced by the subject of handwritten fonts, I conduct my online research. “Experts” say: they evoke emotion, give a personal touch, they are eye-catching and charismatic. I continue that little investigation in the nooks of my flat, searching for examples. Eggs regional product, yogurt original recipe, unchanged for years, cheese home-grown, from the family farm, peanut butter ecological, even dental floss plastic-free packaging, antibacterial cleaning detergent 98% of natural ingredients, tampons go free, and pro-life poster outside the window I depend on you, I trust you. All that folksy, natural, healthy, rubicund, traditional.
Relieved, I open a beer with no “handwritten” letter on a label.
How very surprised I am, seeing the first flyer with actual handwriting on it – slightly crooked, bulgy, I am guessing a woman wrote it. All photocopied black and white on a standard 90g paper. While I hold this beauty in my hand, a saying of a friend of mine comes to mind: a photo with a dog posted on social media significantly increases one’s likability (probably that’s why there are so many guys with dogs on Tinder). Handwriting used on a real estate flyer works on a similar principle: it makes it trustworthy. Clumsy execution is a sign of authenticity, sincere intentions of the creator. Such undertaking requires heart, time, and imagination, and these are the qualities appreciated in the dehumanized times of omnipresent technology.
Some advertisers go even further, consciously (or not) resorting to spelling mistakes, or a rather doubtful syntax. A married couple announces in a poetic way: we have an interest, my wife and myself, in purchasing a flat in this area. This phenomenon is very well known not only among the flat-searchers: a man called Seba slipped a piece of paper behind the windscreen wiper of my parents’ sport version of the Honda Civic: I BUY THAT CAR, SEBA xxx xxx xxx. While a local beauty salon offers manicure, sunbeds and messages, so a verbal, written, or recorded communication sent to or left for a recipient who cannot be contacted directly.
So here I am, standing in a corridor, wiping away tears of joy. Crooked handwriting dances in front of my eyes. Cezary N. and Natalia want to buy a flat without intermediaries, from good people, at a reasonable price, could be a fixer-upper – they will manage! There is even a drawing showing the happy couple with a heart-shaped speech bubble and a tiny house inside. Cezary N seems to be a respectable man, maybe an engineer (or a criminal, but I quickly reject this thought). Natalia does not have a surname but that doesn’t bother me at all. No one here uses surnames anyway. We immediately call each other by our first names. With each flyer, I meet new, potential neighbours, the good people. Their calligraphy, writing style, and drawings intensively poke my imagination.
Eve – slim straight handwriting, grateful for fair offers, and Maciej The Amateur of Graphic Design, fell in love. It was like in the movies, love at first sight: they met in the elevator, he politely held the door for her, she blushed a bit. Now, busy cherishing their fresh love, they do not puff cigarette smoke straight into my bedroom, at exactly the time when I ventilate it before going to sleep. The happy couple Cezary N and Natalie for sure don’t listen to trance music on sunny Sunday mornings. They choose Miles Davis, relaxing in their freshly renovated flat (they managed!). Dad Marcin – traveler and Mom Iza – artist do not have any financial problems, I can’t hear them arguing about money through the thin wall. After all, these are well-paid jobs. You can afford a lovely, peaceful life with two kids and a cat called Kazik, a friendly, fluffy beast. Their chubby, rubicund, golden-haired offspring greet me politely, while collecting garbage in front of the block - it's a treasure hunt. Seba finally bought that car, but an electric one, and all his free time he spends reading novels of Nabokov, polishing his language skills. The Poet, who had the interest, with his wife and himself, in purchasing a flat in this area turned out to be a woman, and the employees of the beauty salon became modern Hermeses, delivering messages on body-positivity and took good care of wealth, luck, fertility, sleep, thieves, travelers and hopefully, us, residents.
All that is just too good to be true. In a cold sweat, I call xxx xxx xxx: The number you have dialled is not in service.
All quotes are authentic