Over and over again in my life I have heard people say, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Each time I’ve heard it, I never really thought much of it. There’s no such thing as a free lunch? What the big deal? I always thought that it sounded a bit cynical each time I heard someone say this, because of course something can be free sometimes..I mean, can’t it???
To answer my own question…
No, it can’t. <–I have crossed over to the other side of the cynics, if you hadn’t already made that connection.
The experience I had with this recently doesn’t have so much to do with something being literally free, as it has to do with thinking that you’re getting a good deal on something with no strings attached.
So, the story went something like this. Matt and I have started to prepare for life after Grenada, which is rapidly approaching in less than two months. We will be back in New York in December so Matt can take his big exam, the Step 1, in March. This is a huge huge huge test, as it determines where he’ll be placed for his clinical rotations, and it is also detrimental to his medical school career entirely. This test is basically a cumulative test of everything he has learned thus far. Yikes? Yeah, yikes. That is why Matt, along with all of his peers, go to great lengths to prepare for this test.
One friend of Matt’s is going to stay in a Monk ward to have proper solitude to study for this exam.
While others opt to go away to a retreat for six to seven weeks, where you basically eat, sleep, and breathe preparation for this test.
There happens to be a retreat in New York City and in Texas. Since we will already be in New York, we thought it made more sense for Matt to do the course in the city. The only catch was that we would have to stay in the city, because the commute from Long Island (where we live) into the city every day would be much too far for Matt to travel, as it would inevitably waste valuable studying time.
So, we’ll get a place in the city for two months, and Matt can go to his retreat, while I can take live classes at school if I want to, or go back to work for a few days, or maybe do a few auditions…
Not so fast, sister.
First of all, we thought renting out an apartment in the city for two months would be easy as pie. Nope. Apartments in the area where we would need to stay, in order for Matt to be close to the exam preparation site, are insanely expensive. Like, they’re so expensive that I can’t even begin to talk about it.
Then, I found a beacon of light.
It came at the very moment I needed it the most. I found somewhere for us to stay on Craigslist. It was a gorgeous apartment within 10 minutes from where Matt would need to be, extremely affordable, and in a really safe area. I wrote to the woman who had the listing, and she responded immediately. Yes, the apartment was available for when we needed it. Yes, that was the right price, and she was even going to give us an even better deal for staying for such a long period of time. All we had to do was send her a check for a deposit and she would reserve the place for us.
As I read this on my computer, I almost died. It was totally in our budget, and it was perfect! I told Matt the good news and he was also excited. For a minute.
But then he said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch. This has to be a scam.”
I was like, “No way! She even ended her email with God bless. It can’t possibly be a scam…I mean, can it?!”
Matt got on his computer, while I sat on the bed anxiously waiting for the verdict. Ten minutes went by and he said, “I typed in her name in Google and one thousand hits came up that she is a scam artist.”
Apparently this woman puts up fake pictures of apartments all over Craigslist, and all over the country. It’s always the same apartment picture on every listing, and she gets innocent unassuming people to send her deposits to reserve the place. Then, when people show up at the apartment, they quickly realize that someone else lives there. I even read one story about a girl who sent her a check for $2,000, so her parents could stay at the apartment for a 35th wedding anniversary vacation. Her parents arrived in New York, went right to the apartment from the airport, and soon realized it was all a scam. Then, they had to scramble to find somewhere else to stay at the last-minute. They ended up having to pay for the only hotel that had available rooms, which ended up costing them $5,000. Some anniversary trip.
I guess the lesson to be learned in this, that there really is no such thing as a free lunch, and if something seems too good to be true, that’s because it usually is.
So…it looks like we’ll be going to Texas for six weeks.
Oh well, at least I’ll escape another New York winter…
Photos courtesy of seasite.niu.edu and blog.checkadvantage.com