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The Zillow Diaries

University Diaries offers a variant of this; for years she has quoted from/commented on exceptional online real estate ad copy for super-grandiose houses in Bethesda, her home town. Now Defector, the successor to the much-missed Deadspin (thank you, Jay Smith, for telling me about this!) offers the hilarious Zillowing Out column, in which a struggling young DC writer shares her palace-envy. Her recent commentary on a six million dollar offering in the nation’s capital is adorably faux-simpleton throughout:

[T]he star of [the] outdoor area is this weird middle section which LIFTS UP FROM UNDERGROUND so that you can HIDE YOUR CAR FROM THE WORLD … [Then] you can have an al fresco dinner [on top of its hiding place]. Wow being rich seems great… On the second floor we have a room I would like to spend all my time in, as it has another fireplace and also seems to be a perfect marriage between a literature professor’s fancy study and a bar. There is a pool table but it is neutral, not green. I have never seen this. If you are rich, tell me, is this normal?…

Speaking of bars: UD has noticed that there are two places where large very visible tables loaded with luxe bottles with bronze liquid in them, oversized drinking glasses, and elegant extensive clinky serving equipment are standard: In soap opera living rooms, and in palaces and castles on the Netflix series The Crown. All interior conversations in these locations feature mucho clinky machinations and protracted blubblubblub pouring as alcoholic drinks are lengthily prepared. Tea, she notices, is nonexistent in the soap operas, and wheeled out in the castles/palaces only when rank outsiders have been granted audiences. In UD‘s wee houselet, no liquor and certainly no booze recharging station appears. Chez UD, moldering wine bottles, some left over from our wedding ceremony, clatter about on random shelves in the basement. OTOH, chez UD, tea cups, mugs, canisters, kettles, and pots abound.

Margaret Soltan, February 20, 2021 9:43AM
Posted in: good writing

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4 Responses to “The Zillow Diaries”

  1. Greg Says:

    Prize available for best Zillow Weep for Me parody lyrics.

    Zillow weep for me
    My bedrooms are just three
    The lockbox holds the key*

    Etc. but better, please!

    The actual WWfM has pretty saccharine lyrics, though Lady Day did a version. Willowise, compare Repose of Rivers, a favorite of mine. Willows twice, but also “wind flaking sapphire, like this summer.” Hard to beat that.

    *Zillow now has its own real estate agents.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Greg: Your comment made me realize that I have no fewer than three “willow” songs in my head:

    Bury Me Beneath the Willow (learned from hearing my mother sing it all the time)

    Prithee Pretty Maiden (Gilbert and Sullivan, Patience — “Hey willow willow waly oh…” – one of the most charming duets around)

    Willow Song (Anonymous)

    Verdi’s Willow Song is probably the most famous willow song, but while I’m familiar with it, it’s not sloshing around in my head like those others.

  3. Greg Says:

    Impressive. Congratulations on a big mental warehouse of music, with a great deal falling off the front shelf, spilling into the front room of consciousness. It’s a comfort as with memorized poetry. I still remember very old school stuff my Dad (born 1897) sang and things my Grandma sang to me at night.

    Recently, I’ve had Barber’s, “Knoxville, Summer 1915” stuck in my head, along with the underrated Spin Doctors, “Why Does She Want Him . . . ” All ok to have playing in mental background space. The worst was a fake-Jazz tune I couldn’t identify for a day or so, until I remembered that it was the hold music for a customer “help” line, on which I had just spent several lifetimes. Worse than long-term hiccups.

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Oh, as a huge James Agee fan, I often have that Barber piece in my head. I’ve seen it performed two or three times too. Not to sound too precious, but it’s one of those pieces – like Elgar’s Enigma Variations – that I find almost intolerably moving.

    When the pathos is laid on double – as in hearing the tragic Jacqueline du Pre play Elgar’s Cello Concerto – I can’t deal with it at all.

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