house hunting gone wrongDateline: Dealing with an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

Due to the celebration of Constitution day on Monday, Mexico kicked off this workweek on Tuesday, groundhog day, which turns out to be completely fitting for the next installment of my quixotic efforts to find an apartment.

Last we left our expat-wannabe, was Friday night when “la mensa de las ventas,” (idiot agent) had sent him an e-mail at 8:13 PM on Friday night, claiming she could not open the encrypted file he had sent a good six hours earlier. As this was the last of many straws on an already-beleaguered camel, only good manners kept our hero from screaming epithets out loud in multiple languages in a packed restaurant, though he was severely tempted.

But after a calming three-day weekend, Tuesday morning dawned, full of promise. Unlike the prior days, the sun came out, shone and warmed the city up to a comfortable mid-70’s temperature. Birds were singing and flowers were blooming. What could go wrong?

I texted María, the agent, in the morning and reminded her that I was eager to finish up with the apartment deal. She texted me back in fairly short order that she was in a meeting with her bosses until 3:00, but that she would call me then, and wished me a good day. With the prompt response and cordial ending, my hope was renewed. Surely we’d get this deal done today.

Since I didn’t want to give her any shred of an excuse to blame me for delays, I decided to go to Banamex to make the $1,000MXN (peso, about $55 USD) deposit requested late on Friday. After standing in line for about 25 minutes (first time for me in a bank branch in about 25 years), I finally approached a teller. I told her what I needed to do, and then whipped out my cell phone showing the e-mail from the agent with all of the relevant account information. I was not going to make any transcription errors. Nope. I handed the phone to the teller.

She read the numbers a couple of times and keyed them in, but looked frustrated. Finally, I offered to read them off to her while she typed. Still nothing. So she called her supervisor. He tried the numbers several times, but to no avail. I asked if they could look up the account by name. Nope. Then he turned to me and said it was an invalid account number. I said, “You know, I’m really not surprised. Sorry to waste your time.” I then turned on my heel, and laughed all the way out of the bank. Of course! This comedy could not have proceeded in any other way, could it?

So I sent María an e-mail explaining the situation. Then more hilarity ensued. I promptly got a reply back from her: “It’s impossible that the bank information is incorrect because that’s the account that all the other tenants deposit their rent in. By the way, the owners want a six-month minimum lease, too.” What?!?! We’d already spent two weeks talking about the fact that I wanted a 5 month lease, though six is not a deal-breaker. However, my already-thin patience wasn’t having a great day either.

I shot back a reply:

“What can I say? I didn’t copy down the account numbers you sent me. I brought my cell phone to the bank and showed them the e-mail YOU sent me on the screen of the phone. The teller tried to bring up the account, but couldn’t. Then she called her supervisor, who tried and failed too. The supervisor then told me it was an invalid account number. Perhaps you just mis-typed. It happens to us all. In any case, please call me so we can settle all the details including the term of the lease.

Many thanks,


This e-mail went out at approximately 3:39 PM. Still no promised 3:00PM phone call from the agent. I called both her office and her cell. No answer on either. I sent a text message to her phone. Radio silence. At this point, I seriously considered going out to buy a can of spray paint in order to write on the front of the building how I really felt. But common sense prevailed and instead, I decided ‘the heck with this idiot,’ and began to look for a new place.

And the goddess, who seemingly had tired of this little game as much as I, decided to throw me a bone in the form of a furnished one-bedroom apartment in Roma Sur, right around the corner from a penthouse that I’d been lusting after for a while. And this penthouse had inspired me to already have done a ton of due diligence on the neighborhood, so I knew it’d be a good place to live. I phoned the number, and within a few minutes, I had a meeting to see the place not a half-hour later.

Looks like my luck may be changing. But I’m not going to write anything else about this place until I have a signed lease, lest I jinx it.