My name is Dave, I live in a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, and for the last eleven months I’ve been tormented by my landlord, a giant raccoon from post-war rural Japan who exists as a metaphor to explain the mysteries of the world through the eyes of a child.
Fueled by drugs, alcohol, and the sound of rain dripping on an umbrella, this mythical woodland spirit with the mass of a cement truck has violated my rental agreement and shattered my trust. He refuses to commission a maintenance person to repair my dishwasher, he has increased rent three times in less than a year, and his bellowing growls shake the floorboards and cause mushrooms to sprout magically from the drywall.
I tell him, “The common area reeks of garbage.” He ignores me. I tell him, “My lease agreement was written on a bamboo leaf.” He doesn’t care. I tell him, “Playing your mystical acorn flute isn’t going to fix the broken water heater.” He gazes at me with self-congratulatory derision before inviting me to step back into my own childhood by taking a nap on his stomach.
No matter how many noise complaints I make about the ruckus coming from my upstairs neighbors, my landlord won’t read them. He is too busy driving up and down the Japanese countryside in a large creature that is both a cat and a bus. I don’t even bother leaving messages on his phone at this point since he traded it for a bunch of dandelions wrapped in a palm frond.
I’ve filed a civil suit, but no lawyer will take the case. They all say that being able to see Totoro is itself a rare privilege, as the transition from the age of innocence into adulthood oftentimes robs you of the ability to see landlords like this. I guess they think he’s clean because he acts as a source of comfort to millions, but I know the truth. He’s a clause-burying lunatic who will swallow your security deposit whole.
Look, I’m not saying his job is easy. Successfully managing your own investment properties can be a real nightmare, especially if you are inexperienced. But my landlord is a 1,302-year-old forest troll who has been managing properties since the 18th century when apartments were first invented. There is really no excuse for him to consistently miss routine inspections. If my smoke detector batteries aren’t replaced soon, I fear I may never sleep soundly again.
I have reached my breaking point. My strength is fading. This fuzzy blunderbuss of a slumlord has destroyed my sleep schedule and assumed control of my life. He is impossible to track down when I need him, and any time I mention the broken water heater, he flies away on a giant top. I don’t care if he represents the thin line between dreams and reality, this corrupt miscreation of nostalgia and sin must be stopped. If he isn’t, I’m out of here. Right after my three-year lease is up.