The Hoarder

A Calories in the Crust story.

I’ve been seeing a man who sometimes won’t reach out to me for five days at a time, who recently told me I’m preferable to a Japanese sex doll he read about online. Because I can text. And in those texts, I can verbalize the fact that I’m very much rolling my eyes when he says shit like that. Romance is not dead, people! This story has nothing to do with Japanese sex dolls (ugh, I know, sorry!) Or that man. I just thought it was worth mentioning. Because awwwww.

A few short weeks ago, I went to goodbye drinks at a bar I frequented in my mid 20s mostly for the fact that one or two of their Long Island Ice Teas were all you needed – a necessary evil when you essentially made no money as a media planner, but still “had to” pay Manhattan rent.

Amid the glory days throwback and the mourning of another LA-bound New Yorker, it was strongly suggested that the following story is one in need of telling on a more grand scale. I don’t necessarily agree, but sometimes you have to give the people (Margot) what they (she) want. I suppose it’s fitting, though, as I’ve just ended my brief tenure at Maker — a place that often left me crying at my desk, wishing the ceiling would rain down cold, steel knives. The initial, hysterical, possibly still-drunk telling of this story is one of the things that (sadly) solidified friendships between four maniacs with whom I shared a table and me.

This story is one about hitting a low point. We’ve all been there. Stick with me and I assure you, you’ll feel better about the last time the poor-decision devil perched upon your shoulder reached across your chest and stabbed the solid-life-choices angel in the heart with his trident.

If you build it… up enough… perhaps the drop off rate will be such that most people won’t continue reading on about this shameful thing you did.

As I previously mentioned, I chose the carb-filled weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas of last year to start dating again. That time is like a bizarre Vegas staycation where don’t really ever sober up until after the New Year. Well, libations may have been free flowing, but I was in a bit of an epic dry spell in my personal life.

The evening began with an in-office holiday party at Maker that was every bit as nice as a low-budget middle school dance. There’s nothing that says “we appreciate the work you’ve done this year” like bringing in a couple extra bottles of vodka and wine and putting a dinner order in through Seamless. Perhaps I was just mad at them for mimicking every Friday night in my life when the temperature drops below 30 degrees in New York. Or maybe the bitterness came from the fact I to finish a proposal with no help, while a bunch of programmers, who spent their days gaming and loudly shooting off Nerf guns, turned down the lights and turned up the greatest hits from what sounded like an album titled something along the lines of Serial Killer Pump Up Jams, Vol 1.

As usual, I’ve strayed from the point, but I’d just like to take this opportunity to once again congratulate myself on getting a new job. I simply meant to suggest we had… a few cocktails in the office that evening. What also came to light is I did not understand how Secret Santa works as was evidenced by the fact that the bottle of whiskey I gave to mine had a card attached adorned “To Flannery, Happy Holidays from Jenn Mickler.” What. Ever. It was the best gift going. I got a Mickey Mouse doll in a Giants jersey. I’m 33. It’s been about 30 years since I’ve wanted any sort of Disney-themed gift.

Hopped up on wine I can’t see costing more than $10/bottle – if that, the time had come to leave for my date with Tinder idiot #67859403. I honestly don’t remember his name. I debated not going when he texted me asking if I wanted to meet at Tom & Jerry’s. I did not want to meet there. I went there once, like seven years ago, stole their entire bowl of matches and I’m still not out. I can’t imagine why I would need to go back yet. We landed on Madame Geneva. We had a million gin drinks. We went home together.

What should have been the worlds biggest and brightest red flag was his leaving me outside the front door (of his floor-through Nolita apt) because he needed to quickly tidy up. The exact chain of events is fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure I took that time to ignore the shuffling of paper I could hear on the inside and read the 37,000 group messages from the girls at the office telling me to meet them at the bar. Again, dry spell + gin + cheap office wine clouding my judgment.

Sometime around 5:00am I came to and very quickly realized the mistake I made. The first alarming realization was that there were no sheets on the bed. Oh. My. God. Gross.

INT. HOARDER’S NOLITA APT – BEDROOM

Jennifer frantically scans room for discarded garments grabs dress and hurriedly throws it on while fighting off nervous twitch.

There was a real hockey stick correlation between the room coming into focus and my level of horrification. I made a quick mental note to take a bath in rubbing alcohol as soon as I got home. To give you an idea, in addition to the non-existent sheets, all of his drawers were slightly ajar with crap hanging out and the bedside table on his side had a pizza slice takeout box on it. His closet looked like he’d put his things away using a t-shirt cannon.

CUT TO:

INT. HOARDER’S NOLITA APT – KITCHEN

Jennifer walks out of the bedroom in search of her sweater, coat, purse and shoes, realizing somewhere, amid this ocean of unopened mail, there’s probably a dead, flattened cat. She audibly makes the heroic decision to not vomit until she gets home, as it would only delay leaving.

When I say an ocean of mail, I mean it. Every inch of counter space and most of the floor was covered in mail. I’m fairly certain I saw cable and electric turnoff notices. If only he’d been evicted, this could have been avoided.

No longer caring whether or not I made noise, I collected the rest of my things while gagging at even more takeout containers he hadn’t bothered to throw away. Whyyyyyy did I have to blackout last night? I stomped back into the bedroom, furious at myself, to make sure I hadn’t left anything. Now awake, he asked where I was going. HOME, I shrieked. He sat up and said, “I feel like things just got really real in the last five minutes.” Yes, you disgusting slob, you’ve correctly identified the situation.

He insisted on walking me downstairs to get a cab. I’m not sure if he had keys or if all of the papers sort of shifted to prop the door open for him. As I hopped in a cab and rode off down Houston into the sunrise, I realized I’d left a vintage necklace on the nightstand that wasn’t covered in takeout containers.

In order to get it back, I feigned interest in seeing him again each time he asked me to give him another chance while simultaneously putting serious thought into how badly I actually needed this necklace back. Could I really sit through another drink in the presence of a bona fide hoarder? I eventually leveled with him and somehow convinced him bring it back to my office, saying it was a family heirloom and had priceless sentimental value to me. It was not and it did not. I just liked it. I walked out onto Broadway, thanked him for bringing it to me and then shuddered the whole way back upstairs before taking a Clorox wipe to my hand and the necklace.

The things we do in the name of love companionship a roll in the hay… ew, actually, I just can’t. Gross. Perhaps I should cut my losses and look into that Japanese sex doll.

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