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THE BIG FIX

How to survive the bust. Buy, sell, rent, move, or wait it out?

If you can't say something nice ...

December 28, 2007|BY SARAH MILLER | Sarah Miller is the author of "Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn."

Imagine a scene on "Little House on the Prairie" in which Merlin Olsen says to Michael Landon, "Howdy, Charles! Heard locusts are fixin' to attack your wheat crop and you might lose the farm. Alright, well, see ya. Say hello to Half-Pint and whatever the blind one's name is."

Sorry, you can't imagine this because Merlin Olsen had something called empathy. And to get through the current real estate situation, we're going to need to take a page from his book.

Memo to everyone who didn't buy a house in the last four years: Please stop talking about the housing crisis in front of those of us who did. We're too busy to listen. We're trying to figure out how we're going to send our kids to school, or if we're ever going to be able to retire.

And if you must talk about it, could you please at least pretend it doesn't make you happy? Last weekend I was at a party, and a fellow guest spouted cheerfully: "Housing prices are going to crash, and all those rich jerks are going to be screwed." I'm certainly not rich. I'm probably not a jerk. If I am indeed screwed, I would prefer that whoever brings this to my attention does so with less obvious relish. I would rather hear someone assess my risk of cancer and, truly, it would be about as appropriate.

Look, I get it. If I didn't own a home, I might feel similarly. But I hope that before opening my mouth, I would think: What would Merlin Olsen say?

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