Another trip through the tunnel ends in Gardnerville |

Another trip through the tunnel ends in Gardnerville

Column by Scott Murphy

If you ever want to make a Carson Valley Realtor laugh, tell them you’re looking for a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Gardnerville or the heart of old Minden.

And if that doesn’t have the real estate agent rippling with laughter, tell him you want said unit for around $350 per month.

And, finally, if you want to see him hospitalized following a laughter-induced convulsion, tell the Realtor you need the aforementioned apartment immediately.

I moved to Carson Valley two weeks ago with these seemingly humble requests in tow. I didn’t know I would become an intense source of comic relief for local Realtors.

The first Realtor I talked to via the telephone seemed sort of insulted that I would even think there was such housing here.

“You’re looking at the wrong area, dude,” he said, not so subtly.

Hmm, I thought.

Although Gardnerville appears similar on the surface to my last “hometown” of Cedar City, Utah, the similarities end at the sight of those hallowed words “For Rent.”

Or should I say the lack thereof.

Because during my 14-day stay, I’ve seen that sacred sign approximately once. And then it was attached to a large house that I couldn’t afford unless Ed McMahon comes to my door following next year’s Super Bowl.

That’s far different from Cedar City, where I found an affordable, albeit drab, apartment within THREE hours of my arrival.

But hey, who’s complaining?

The most interesting aspect of moving besides dealing with Realtors and the truly primeval urge to find shelter is the blessed feeling of coming out of “the tunnel.”

The tunnel? What tunnel?

The tunnel is my term for the transition period that begins when you tell your landlord you’re leaving and ends when you quit having to go to your car each morning to decide what to wear.

The tunnel usually takes about six weeks to navigate and is complicated by having to do things like disconnect your phone or shut your electricity off and then turn the same things on in the next town. It’s enough to make camping permanently seem desirable.

The problem in dealing with utility companies is twofold:

1) You HAVE to do it. There is no option. It is unavoidable and there is never a time that you feel like doing it. By comparison, an all-day car trip with your least favorite relative appears attractive.

2) Utility providers, particularly telephone companies, have vast uncooperative voicemail systems that can result in you pushing numbers for up to 20 minutes before contacting a real person. Which is ironic, because the voicemail system makes you want to really contact a person, preferably in the nose with a sledge hammer.

Once you have successfully navigated these dark portions of the tunnel, you feel content and liberated.

You go back to regular life in your new apartment, which is supposed to represent the sunshine part of the metaphor.

Instead, you immediately start looking for problems with your new abode.


So you can re-enter the tunnel again in six months as you start calling Realtors in your search for a bigger apartment.

Scott Murphy is a staff writer for The Record-Courier.