01 September 2007

More on why I live alone

The Halifax newspaper, The Coast, has a piece on roommate drama. (Of course I read the Halifax Coast. Doesn't everyone? No, for reals, I found the link at the wonderful Passive Aggressive Notes.com)

And while I am presently enjoying my status as Head of Household where "Household" = me + one large dog, that wasn't always the case.

From 1983 to 2001, I shared a variety of apartments and houses with a variety of people. To be more precise, 2 apartments and 4 houses with 29 other human beings, only 2 of whom I was having an intimate relationship with. (Or not-so-intimate, depending on how much we could stand each other at the time.)

In all that time, I only had 3 roommates that really sucked. One couldn't help it - she was manic-depressive and didn't have her meds worked out yet. It stunk to live with her, but I am sure it was worse to BE her.

Another was a pathological liar. Let's call her PL for short.

I should have known something was up when she told me she was studying to be a dancer, and she was 33 at the time. 33 in dancer years is like 150 in human years - if you aren't already a dancer (instead of in the "studying to be" phase, you ain't never gonna be anything more than a second-string instructor at Arthur Murray).

But it was summer in a college town, and we were desperate for a renter. So we (me and Miss Bamboo Lemur Boys) took her.

I have blocked out most of those memories, but I have this to say about PL - she had mad lying skillz. I am a pretty good liar, but PL had me beat all to hell. She was an International Grand Master of Lying, because she could think of your response, her response to your question, your response to THAT and her comeback, all before you could start to think "Huh, wait, this story doesn't add up somehow."

She was like the Bobby Fisher of lies or something. I wish I could be more specific, but it all happened so head-spinningly fast that I could never quite get a grip on "Wha' happened?"

My worst roomie by far was the first stranger I ever took on. During and after college, there were people I knew and lived with, but eventually they all moved on and out, and I was left searching for someone to rent the room upstairs.

She was seemingly glamorous. A child of diplomats, she was from another country and had lived all over the world. She had an exotic, practically unpronounceable name, which she had actually changed her name TO (from another exotic, practically unpronounceable name that was practically the same, but she insisted all the people that knew her learn her new name, a process that took much tedious explanation and correction ("No, not 'Bashjeeya', it is now 'Barshguiya'" "Barshjeeya?" "No, Barshguiya," and so on. That is not the real name but close enough.)

Because of her status, she had grown up with servants, who apparently did everything, because she did not do housework. Ever. At all.

I called her room "Lockerbie" because it had exactly the same level of organization and cleanliness you see after a mid-air explosion: none. This is not an exaggeration.

I don't really care how my roomies keep their quarters. What did bug me about Princess (which is what her parents called her) was that she ate my food. All my food. All the time.

I had mentioned that my old housemates and I had had congenial grocery-sharing agreements - we picked things up for each other, offered each other food when we had purchased too much, and it all worked out pretty even.

She took this to mean that "All your food is belong to us" and proceeded to 1. Never buy groceries and 2. Eat all my food, even after I told her not to.

At first I thought it would be limited to my leftovers or prepared foods (frozen pizzas, for instance) but no. If there was one lonely can of corn left in the cabinet, she would open that and have 15 oz. of corn niblets for dinner. I would know because she would leave the can and fork sitting out on the coffee table for days until I cleaned it up.

I'll never forget the first time I invited this guy over for dinner. We were talking and he was following me around and I went in my room, opened my dresser drawer, and began taking out the ingredients I needed.

Yes indeed. I had had to turn my bedroom into a pantry because she would not venture in there. You forget how nutty you have to act when you live with a lunatic, because it becomes everyday routine, but the look on his face was priceless.

In addition to not cleaning up after herself and not buying food, she eventually quit working and quit paying rent. She would get "bad cramps" and lay around menstruating in a white robe that became all smeared with blood because she had something against pads or tampons. Yeah, nice.

I kicked her out, not according to the laws of the State of California, which mandate a lengthy process that may take over 90 days. I kicked her out according to the Laws of Suebob, which meant that when she was 5 days past due on the rent, I put her stuff out on the lawn and bolted the doors.

Illegal? Yes. Effective? I have never seen Barshguiya again, which is all I really wanted.

Ok, tell me your roommate horrors. I am dying to know. Do it on your own blog if you want. I will love reading them.


super des said...

I always said that if I didn't have C I would looooove to live alone. (and sometimes even when I do have C!) I've got some dingos of roomie stories. Maybe I will get around to publishing them sometime.

Anonymous said...

I had a roommate when I was 17 who, while I was at work, got high on LSD, shaved my cat, and wrote "I'm The Cat" on him with a blue magic marker.

Yeah. He didn't stay much longer.

SUEB0B said...

Chase - LOL!!!!!!!!!

Count Mockula said...

Somehow, I'm still friends with my second-worst roommate ever, who didn't particularly clean, and could somehow use 57 dishes to make spaghetti.

But my worst roommate ever was a co-worker of a friend. The night he moved in, a tab of E fell out of his pocket. It was a sign. He was a raging alcoholic, and would come into my room late at night after the bars closed to "talk." Now, drunk people when you're sober aren't much fun anyway, but they're even less fun when they wake you from sleep when you're nekkid in your bed at 4 am (and I know the bars close at 2, but somehow he always wandered home two hours later). Highlights -- one night he described how he had pushed a lesbian against the wall and kissed her because he thought she "needed it." Another night after a thoughtful pause, he asked "Can I suck on your titty?" When threatening to take his eye out with a fork didn't work, I threw him out.

BetteJo said...

Yeah, I had a roommate who would open the door to my boyfriend and in a friendly gesture would then open her robe!
She ate in my bed, wore my clothes, never had rent money, and 'entertained' her male friends in my bed too.
The day I was moving out she grabbed me and shoved me up against a wall, I was tiny then and she was a gymnast and a diver with the V shape and muscles of a guy, all because I was taking what she claimed was HER butcher knife! THEN went on and on about how I was her only friend ...

If I had doubted my decision to move out - she reaffirmed it right then and there.

Suebob said...

Yikes. You guys have me beat.

Anonymous said...

I lived with a very promiscuous roommate in college, and while honestly, promiscuity doesn't faze me normally, when I can't get into the bathroom in the middle of the night to pee because she's fucking her *fourth guy* of the night on the bathroom sink, it becomes an issue.

She also claimed to be a vegetarian, but ate meat under the cover of nightfall when she was drunk, which meant that we would often wake up to find the contents of our refrigerator ransacked. Once, she ate an entire package of chicken breasts -- six breasts in all -- and then insisted that it couldn't have been her, because "I'm a vegetarian! I don't eat chicken!"

She was also bulimic, and would leave *jars of vomit* in strange places -- again insisting that it couldn't have been her -- and I don't think a day went by that I didn't flush at least one puke-filled toilet.

Needless to say, after I time, I, too, started keeping my food in my room, and I even bought a mini-fridge/freezer to protect my chicken. I locked my room when I wasn't in it and I even locked it when I slept.

shannon said...

Crazy Dave seems tame after a couple of those comments...

He moved the coffee maker on top of the tv in the living room (where the cord could not reach the outlet). He was caught admiring himself in the full length mirror in the hall exclaiming, "I'm a man, a real man!" My cat pissed on everything he owned and he simply said, "That's what cats do. They have pissed on my things my whole life." He would eat my food. Try on my wig (after being told he could, in fact, NOT), and *wash* his dishes by simply running them under hot water.

He was neat, though. He picked up after himself and always paid rent.

Unknown said...

Never had roomates but always had children. The only difference is your kids have to do what you tell them. And....they don't pay rent either and, they eat all your food and, they're pigs...

I could go on and on.

Julie Marsh said...

These stories scare me.

Don't hate me, but I've only ever had one roommate (not counting Kyle, of course). Even in the dorms, my parents paid for a single room (ostensibly for me to study more easily - har de har).

I had a roommate for my junior year of college - we shared an apartment and got along famously. My only complaint would be that she was disturbed by me talking on the phone, so I had to take the phone into my closet to talk.

She had a cat too, which her mother shaved (but did not write on him in magic marker).

Anonymous said...

My worst roommates were always ones who never really understood the concept of keeping their personal behavior to themselves........I had two roommates who could often be found making out on the couch, dry humping, with their boyfriends whenever I'd come home. I think the worst one, though, was the one who also gave her boyfriend a key and then he started coming in and eating all my food. And when I complained and asked that he fucking pay for food or start staying away, they packed up all her shit one day while I was at worked and moved out. It was awesome.

meno said...

Chase made me spit wine out onto the keyboard. :D

Anonymous said...

I had a roommate in college, a guy so slovenly and dirty he was banned from all common areas. His room was a pit, and my dog used to go in there to crap (mistaking it for our nasty backyard), and we wouldn't be able to find the crap amidst all his crap. I ended up just bundling up some dirty clothes and inches of garbage around the turd and throwing the whole thing out.

When he moved out we dragged some garbage cans upstairs to pile in the layers of junk left behind. In the midst of it we found a copy of his grandfather's will, leaving him several million dollars.

QT said...

Wow - some of these are incredible!

I have resorted to keeping food in strange places, too, to hide them from roommates. The worst was the girl who cut her toenails while sitting on the couch, nasty feet propped up on the coffee table, and then leave a pile of cut toenails on the table.

I think I will do my own post on this!

Suzanne said...

I had 12 roommates in the course of three years in college. My favorite college roommate was obsessed with Glenn Danzig. As in, Danzig the 42 year old (at the time) former lead singer of The Misfits, and singer of "Mother," which was banned from MTV. My 20 year old roommate was convinced that she was his soul mate and saved her "golden snatch" for Glenn. She also bought porn mags with him on the cover and would show them to me, then lock them in her file cabinet for "safekeeping" as if I was going to steal them and masturbate on them. And she thought that washing your crotch in the shower with your bare hands was masturbating and wrong, so she had a special "crotch cloth" to prevent herself from direct contact with her girlie bits. (I think I wrote about this once, but it is definitely time to re-visit the saga.)

Anonymous said...

My roommate horrors are already spelled out here and here.

Luckily she and I only lasted 48 hours together, though I wish sometimes I had more stories about her, just to have more blog fodder.

White robe with no protection? I'm sorry, but were I weird or gross enough to have the same notion of monthly absorbency protection, I wouldn't choose white to lounge around in. It would definitely be red and there would be an endless supply of them because I would burn each month's robe as I wore it. That's just nasty.

Laurie said...

Dear lord have mercy. Never going to bed now, because I have to write about Jackee (not her real name) who was alarmingly similar to your roommate here.

I'm the cat. Right.

kristy said...

Wait wait wait. Chase? Did he write "I'm the cat" on the CAT, or on himself? I mean, either way it's hilarious, but I will be retelling this story and would appreciate the clarification.

Karianna said...

Oh, there was a dude who thought "menses" was something totally different. And a dude who thought that it was totally OK to put a jar of pasta sauce into the garbage disposal (because how else was the glass jar going to be recycled?) Then there was the gal who took out a large knife and exclaimed that her last roommate had forced her to use it (she was totally joking, luckily.)And the chick who used my white towels to clean up her wine spills. But most of these commenters have totally got me beat.

Meg said...

Chase wins. Hands down. I choked I laughed so hard!

MFA Mama said...

I think I might've dated Chase's former roommate for a couple of years in the mid-late nineties.

True story.

MFA Mama said...

Oh and I had a college roommate who...well he wasn't rude and never touched my stuff or acted pervy or anything and hell he even agreed that if I'd pay ten dollars more of our rent each month he'd leave the toilet seat down and NEVER SCREWED UP WITH THAT but dude was just so WEIRD. He had like, a quadruple major in anthropology, religious studies, music, and premed and was in honors classes for all four. He subsisted on tuna, mayonnaise, persimmons, and peanut butter. He was skeletally thin but was always fasting for various saints' days and sometimes when he was in his room studying (no music, ever, no tv in his room, no noise at ALL) I would wonder if he was still alive. I had a cat and he always referred to her as "it." He didn't seem to dislike her exactly but rather to be mystified by her existence on a daily basis. She loved him, naturally, and would follow him into his room and he'd pick her up under her front legs using only his thumbs and forefingers and carry her out at arms length then set her gently outside the door. Then he'd say "hey, your cat came in my room and I had to pick it up and carry it out!" Every single time.

He only became annoying after he fell in love. His girlfriend was a sweet girl and the two of them were cute in their own wholesome, stunted way but he wouldn't fuck her. Because he was Catholic, and didn't have a problem with premarital sex so much as with birth control. He would wring his hands and grimace and sit around and visibly pine (he also didn't believe in masturbation; at one point I suggested he take his giant jar of mayo into his room and take matters into his own hands and he wasn't offended or disgusted or anything, he just explained that masturbation was a sin). Then one night he shrieked at the top of his lungs in his room and came barreling through the bathroom between our bedrooms and said "I JUST HAD THE MOST BRILLIANT IDEA! IF [girlfriend] OBSERVES HER CYCLE CLOSELY AND TAKES HER BASAL BODY TEMPERATURE AT THE SAME TIME EACH MORNING AND--" you get the picture.

Yeah, he thought he invented the rhythm method. He was so excited he didn't notice the girl in my bed until he'd started talking about cervical mucus.


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