Friday, December 13, 2002

Quirks. Oddities. Freakin' FREAKS.

In all the years I've lived "on my own", I've never had normal roommates. I swear. They all have some kind of oddness, whether it be just a simple, lovable quirk, or a pull-out-your-hair-crazy quality.

First, there was Danny. He was a gay sometimes drag queen who was a RIOT to live with. God, we had fun. His oddity? Well, he was kind of a compulsive liar. And strange lies, too; the kind that are either pointless or obviously lies. For instance, he once told me he was going to Pennsylvania Dutch Country when he was really going to visit his friend in Reston (VA). And when he up and joined the Air Force (he later 'cracked' and was sent home in disgrace...), he told me he was moving to Chicago to go to hair design school.
Danny and I kind of lost touch after that. I miss him.

Next, there was Sarah, my roommate in college and still one of my close friends. Sarah's oddities were more quirks than anything else. Like the way she'd never eat her own food, but gobble up your entire carton of Ben & Jerry's using your spoon, as if that somehow rendered the calories unprocessable. She also would wash the dishes in the bathtub. That was kind of gross. Oh, and have sex with her boyfriend while I was in the room. This may seem like normal college activity, but I should point out that said boyfriend had a single room (practically unheard of in sardine-like collegiate living!) two doors down.
So, that was Sarah. She's still in Cleveland. I miss her, too.

Next, I moved off-campus and lived with my friend Jen. Her boyfriend Danny (a "different" Danny...) moved in, unofficially; almost immediately; and officially, a few months later. Jen and Danny were another two with mostly harmless quirks. Danny had a thing for devouring anything not nailed to the floor, including items in "to-go" boxes, which are traditionally "off-limits" to hungry roommates. Jen never cleaned. Anything. Ever. Dishes would pile up for weeks as we engaged in a silent battle of wills, one that I nearly always lost. I just couldn't stand all the damn dishes piling up! It was icky! Jen also couldn't stand to be alone, so she'd follow me around in puppy-dog fashion. Oh, and whenever she couldn't or didn't feel like paying the rent, a quick phone call to Daddy solved everything. Her parents paid for her car, her insurance, her rent half the time....I guess I'm mostly just envious of that. Geez, do you know how much beer money I would have had in those days if I hadn't had to pay rent and car insurance?
But, I digress. Like all my Cleveland friends, I don't talk to them as much these days (simply because I'm so busy), but I miss them, too.

When I moved to Boston, I moved in with virtual strangers I had met and "spoke" (so to speak) with online, Jess and Ewen. Both were fellow Emerson grad students, and we got along famously. I expected tons of fun with them when I moved here, much as I had always experienced with roommates before. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. Jess and I got along instantly, but Ewen was...very strange. I believe he takes the cake as the most bizarre roommate to date. God, the list on him could go on and on and on....I'll spare you all the details, and just supply a few notations. Firstly, it took very little time for us to discern that Ewen had taken up permanent residence in 'the closet'. C'mon, straight men just don't own picnic baskets. Or subscribe to Martha Stewart Living. Yet, he persisted in trying to date women. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, ladies and gents. He went home every weekend, and spent most days skulking in his room with his iMac. Very strange for someone who had seemed so personable on the phone and via email. He took a bunch of DVD's home one weekend and then accused us of stealing them and selling them on eBay. He never talked to us, and after awhile we stopped making an effort and simply felt relieved when he wasn't around.
When Ewen finally left, we breathed heavy sighs of relief. Then we walked around the house and gazed at the empty walls (he hadn't wanted us to hang any of our stuff), where he had, in grinchlike fashion, removed each and every nail that had once supported a picture.
I don't see Ewen anymore. Jess does sometimes, and I guess he sprints away like a frightened deer every time.

When Ewen moved out, we selected Barbara as our next roomie. She seemed young and excitable, but very sweet and genuine. ("Seemed" being the key word...) We all moved from JP to Brookline, and Barbara was nice enough to front the cash for the new place till Jess and I got our student loan money in. I mean, it's hard to come up with 2 grand on a grad student's shoestring budget! Anyway, I think that's where "it" started. After the move, she became increasingly odd. First, it was just thoughtless annoyances--like the fact that she left the place for a week before we moved and packed nothing, leaving it all to us; and then spent the entirety of moving day making sandwiches or lounging and complaining of how tired she was (she hadn't moved anything). Then, it gradually began to escalate, until it reached its current state of full-blown crazed paranoia. Whenever either one of us sees her, she interrogates us about something of hers she's certain we've eaten or taken; especially if her boyfriend is within earshot and she can play the martyr.
B: "Amanda, have you been dipping into my dip?"
A: "Er...No, I haven't even been here to eat in weeks...say, is that the same dip from when we first moved here 3 months ago? Don't you think it's gone bad by now?"
B: "Well, it's still mine."
The kicker is that she hoardes things in her room like she's some kind of Mormon preparing for the Rapture (is it Mormons that prepare for the Rapture?) or something. Boxes of tea, containers of cookies, jars of peanut butter. And giant packages of toilet paper. No, I'm not kidding. She has refused to buy toilet paper for the entire 4 months we've lived there. But she keeps a 12-pack of double-roll Charmin under her bed. Under her bed. Seriously.
The sad thing about the Barbara situation is that we were pretty close, pre-insanity. Now? Jesus. I'm afraid to be near her, lest I catch Psycho.

So, those are my stories. I just want a normal living situation. Is that really so much to ask?

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