Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Great Depression Visits DT's House

Two years ago had I walked into the middle of my town with a bloodied Pomeranian and thrown it, I probably would have ruined a real estate broker's shirt. People who I drank with at grungy bars during my "dart phase," who were previously unkempt and dirty, suddenly cleaned themselves up and were handing me business cards and asking for referrals.

They were pretending to be "positive" and healthy. "Fuck them all," I often thought. "Fuck them all..."

Anyway, fast forward to yesterday. I'm still unkempt and dirty and trading from the spare room of my house. And, despite my attempts to follow the thoughtful advice from my therapist to "be aware of my breath," I haven't changed much. I'm staring intently at my screens and cursing myself for purchasing DLR "too early." I'm doubling my position to an uncomfortable 1200 shares when I hear a knock at the front door. No one I know comes to the front door, but we're having a new countertop installed so I figure I should answer it. One last glance at my screen tells me my most recent purchase is already unprofitable. Cursing, I turn away from my desk and walk downstairs to open the door.

I didn't recognize the woman immediately but she looked vaguely familiar. In fact, the first thing I noticed was her very expensive set of glasses (definitely 2 or 3 years old). She stammered, "Hi, DT! I know it's been awhile, but I'm cleaning houses now!" She was straining to sound positive. "I just wanted to give you my card and ask for any referrals if you know anyone in the area" (and here she turned around and looked at the house across the street and spread her arms out) "who needs their house cleaned!"

I felt immediately uncomfortable by the situation, especially once I realized that 3 years ago, this same woman had sold the house across the street for a couple million. She had been known all around my area as "the one" to call if you needed to get your house sold. And here she was trying to make $20 an hour scrubbing my toilet. But I couldn't get all empathetic, and "human" with her, I had 1200 shares of DLR working against me. I told her I'd "keep my ears open" and I closed the door to rush back to my turret.

DLR had dropped further and I sold out for a loss.

Now I had time to think about the woman some more. I wondered how she must have felt walking across my front lawn and getting into her car. I remembered a conversation I had with her a couple of years back. She had adopted a daughter from China and was asking me about saving for college. People sometimes think that because I trade stock everyday that I have some kind of knowledge about how to invest; they're wrong. I told her I hadn't the slightest idea... I just traded. She laughed and said, "Well, as long as the housing market keeps this up, I won't have to worry about it anyway!"

Things can change quickly... I thought about how desperate she must be, to be looking for a job cleaning houses from which she once made huge commissions. Then I thought with some humor about my cleaning lady, an "illegal" from Poland who had a son. I wondered if she ever thought an ex-real estate broker would be her competition.

I thought, and admittedly, this wasn't a nice thought, "Looks like Dominika is due for a pay cut." I smiled.

Suddenly, the drop in DLR made sense to me.


jsp9999 said...

You have a knack for good story telling.

On the story, here is the best description.
“Everyone’s got a plan until they get hit.” – Joe Louis

Dinosaur Trader said...

Thanks, jsp.

Great quote, btw.


HPT said...

Good story.

Ray Pellecchia said...

Wait, I can get $20 for...oh, um, never mind.

Good post, DT.

Solfest said...


bloggerdotcom said...

Is this a true story?

Dinosaur Trader said...

Thanks, guys.

@Ray, you get $25 an hour.

@BDC, tis true.


Attitude Trader said...

Classic. Thanks for giving us just another little glimpse into the picture book story life of DT.

BTW, no one else commented on the fact that DT lives across the street from a multi-million dollar house. Am I the only one who doesn't?

I don't think he has it as bad as he makes us think he does.