My roommate was a piece of work. I don’t know how to describe her, really, and crazy is a mean word.
She never stopped talking about Bernie Sanders.
“Hey, I think I’d like to get a parakeet,” I said.
“Can we name him Bernie?”
She was never interested in anything I had to say, but always wanted to talk to me. I was just miserably putting up with it until she returned with the dog. I didn’t have a problem with having a dog, really, but I already didn’t trust her — how could I trust her to have a dog, and control him?
(The dog’s name is….you guessed it! Bernie.)
Add to that the stress of final exams and projects along with the workday…I just didn’t want to deal with her. I wanted quiet and I wanted to do my best at my work. I wasn’t feeling too good about the work, and I was worried about how my final project would turn out.
This all culminated in me telling the dog “No! Get away! Get away!” because I was sitting with my laptop in the living room and he ran in, getting all over my stuff while my stress meter was in the red zone. Had to study, had to study. I shoved that dog with my leg to get him off my stuff. Someone else’s dog, whom you can’t ask to please keep him out of the way or control him? In that afternoon, it was a lot for me to bear.
I get the call from the apartment manager two days later. “Your roommate came in and says that she feels unsafe and that she feels like her service dog is unsafe. She wants to move out.”
She couldn’t just move out unilaterally, because we’d both signed the lease. “Okay,” I told the manager. “I’ll figure it out and get back to you.”
I don’t really know if I had a real plan, but I asked a friend of mine to call her. To tell her he was a mediator. But of course as soon as she heard he was calling on my behalf she started spewing out things. That I was mentally and physically abusive, abusive to animals, and that she’d told a judge and signed an affidavit affirming those things.
My mediator said that those things were slander. And she said something to the effect of, “But I signed the affidavit! Why would I do that if I was lying?”
After hearing all these terrible things, I didn’t feel like I was safe anymore. Honestly, I’ve been wondering if she was going to murder me. Her behavior didn’t make any sort of progressive sense to me. Like, she said that she wanted to do all the chores herself, because she had a certain way of putting things away and she hated it when other people did it. And multiple times when she caught me doing dishes, she’d say, “Oh, you don’t have to do that.”
But then when I said I felt like the chores should be split, and that I felt like I wasn’t being given autonomy, she told me I wasn’t contributing. I rarely did the dishes, I’d never vacuumed, etc, etc. I never had a problem with doing chores, but I felt so uncomfortable every time I did it. I felt like I had to sneak around.
I really did have to do those dishes, too. I wanted to eat, and if I came home to dirty dishes, I didn’t have the things I needed to cook.
I’d also told her multiple times to please save her receipts or at least tell me the sum total of the groceries. I said, “I can pay 50% of it.” I was even willing to pay more of the total amount. She never gave me any number, though. She said, “Well, it won’t be very much.” Then she told me I wasn’t contributing and that it was $100/week for the groceries. I’m like, pretty sure I don’t eat $100 worth of food in a week, and if I don’t go out, I don’t even eat $50 worth of food in a week. $30 is about right for me. I had no idea she was spending so much, but I didn’t have the receipts.
I kept telling her to stop buying food for me, too. She bought things that she thought I would like. I naively told her some of the things I liked eating, like chickpeas and basmati rice. But it’s not like she eats those things. Her reasoning was, “Well, you’re so busy with work and I have time.” This was her argument against me saying, “I just want to do my own grocery shopping.”
While I do have a job, I can spare some time to do some shopping if I need to. Or order food when I’m not prepared to cook. I could even go to Amazon Prime Pantry and order some food from there. I felt like I was being controlled. Heaven forbid that I mention that I want to go shopping.
But then after all that, she says I’m not contributing and that she doesn’t have that much time after all. Well, that didn’t make sense with her previous statements. And I’d made it clear that I just needed some receipts to pay her, or alternatively, I could just buy my own damn food.
While I was leaving, she put out all the food she wanted me to take. She wasn’t going to eat it, she said. I asked, “Then why did you even buy it?” I’d told her not to buy me food, but she’d repeatedly come home with things that she’d bought for me in mind. It’s not a terrible thing, except it was being used against me. I couldn’t pay her because she wouldn’t tell me the amount, she wouldn’t respond when I asked about the cost, saying, “It’s not very much”, and finally, she got hostile and said that I wasn’t contributing. I just wrote her a check for $600 in a fit of desperation there. I don’t know what the real amount is, but I hoped that amount would be about right.
She said she’d bought it for me. I just put the food into a box and took it downstairs. She’d even bought hot chocolate and she didn’t want it. I have never mentioned that I like hot chocolate or that I wanted it, so I don’t know why she would have bought that for me. And also, who the heck doesn’t like hot chocolate?
She was on food stamps, too, and would complain about running out of money for food. It’s the strangest uncomfortable feeling to see a person worried about not having money for food when you’ve offered them money several times and they keep buying you stuff. I should probably make a joke that I saw her worrying while I was taking a bath in some $100 bills. That I rolled my eyes at Ben Franklin and he rolled them right back at me. Then he screamed when I lit him on fire to light a cigar. I’m terrible, huh?
This was all how I viewed things. But then a very different idea of me came about in her chat with the mediator. So many awful things were said about me. So I couldn’t stay. Luckily, it was easy enough to find a new place, and the new roommates are pretty cool. I was set for the new apartment within a day of her cruel messages. And I left within a few days. I didn’t want her to be uncomfortable (since she believes me to be abusive).
When I told her I was leaving, though, she sounded cheerful. Not afraid, not stressed. And then on Sunday, I was sitting on the couch for just a few minutes until I was going to take off for my new place. She said it was fine for me to wait (I don’t know, I expected her to be afraid…). I was looking at my phone and she was looking at hers and she burst out with, “Can you believe what Ben Carson said?”
Her whole Bernie thing seems to consist of Facebookable sorts of remarks. Memes and comments and that sort of thing. It involves pointing out how terrible the other candidates are.
I find it extremely annoying. I vote, I try to keep up as best I can with the news and I try to draw parallels (whether correctly or not) to my understanding of US History. That knowledge pretty much comes from Howard Zinn, so take that as you will.
But it’s not my hobby. And she did this all the time.
I said, “I don’t care. Look, as far as I’m concerned, our relationship is over. I don’t want to talk to you unless it’s about official business.” Then I left.
I had to text her a few more times regarding our notice to vacate, but earlier today I got a message from her asking, “What’s the wifi password?”
She tends to lose it for some reason, her device forgets it. And she’s never written it down or anything. In any case, the account is in her name, and she can call Comcast up or reset the box or whatever.