Intensive Mental Mutilation in New York
by a self-described “friend”
A friend invited me to stay at her place for a month on the condition that I took care of her plants.
The wifi was not working, but she said she could call to get someone from the company to fix it.
She did not. Same with:
-Gas (I was informed she had more than enough money to pay the bill, but didn’t, and even talked to me about spending lots of money on selfish purchases)
I could not afford to eat out and bought food to cook, but because “friend” did not pay the gas bill, I could not cook or eat the food I had bought.
I was also freezing my ass off because there was no heat.
“Any word on the internet, heat, or gas,” I texted, attempting to make light of the situation.
“It’s a squat” she would insist.
“I did not sign up for a squat.”
I also respected my side of the engagement, by taking excellent care of her plants.
I also washed her sheets after I arrived, because they had not been cleaned in a month at least, with many stains (which I soaked and scrubbed extensively; there were many), and I washed them all again, before her return. In addition, I bought things like a toilet bowl cleaner, a dish towel, got a coffee maker, and other bare essentials.
At one point, she said to me, “I stayed in a place without heat.” Upon further investigation, however, it turned out the people she was staying with provided her with a space heater, just for her. She did have heat and was full of bullshit, as usual.
A few of the plants more than doubled or tripled in size under my green thumb.
I put all her mail in one place, in a neat pile.
When her friend comes to stay at the house, I make sure she has clean sheets, explain where the subway stop and go-to Bodega are, and welcome her warmly. I even leave her my copy of the latest Poetry Project Newsletter in print, because she expresses interest in poetry.
I explain and contextualize the Poetry Project and she asks how I know Anne Waldman, because “friend”s “friend” is coming from Boulder, where Waldman has leadership role at Jack Keroac School of Disembodied Poets.
“I served her a beer at the Poetry Marathon,” I honestly answer.
I want to do more cleaning, but because my “friend”s “friend” is exhausted, out of politeness, I leave her the apartment. I express that I had planned to do more cleaning.
When “friend” gets back, her “friend” shit talks me and does not mention all the work I did to make sure she felt at home.
Upon “friend”s return, I wish to brief her on everything that has happened in her absence, give her the mail, tell her about the plants, which I have been v attentive to, and give her back her house & keys.
I reiterate that it is important for us to talk and catch up.
She does not reciprocate, and when she is locked out and I use part of remaining $4 or so I have to come give her keys, she looks at her phone instead of talking to me.
Bringing her keys back, I am now late for another engagement and must leave urgently. As I leave, she finally decides to speak to me, which she has refused to do, and she looks at me as if I am inferior to her and unimportant. And makes me more late.
She does not give me my mail.
She holds all my clothes & personal belongings hostage. I am forced to wear the same clothes many days. When I come with a friend to retrieve my things, she shit talks me for at least a half an hour, attempting to bring my friend to her side.
Much of her talk centers on her insistence that I will soon be homeless, and that she has long considered me a homeless person. So, instead of treating me like a friend, despite the fact that I have never been homeless, she justifies her degrading behavior by claiming I am homeless, or will be soon. This is precisely how prejudice and degradation work to enable abuse.
Despite that fact that it is winter, “friend” has made no effort to make sure I can get my winter clothes and coats, which were accidentally left when I collected my belongings.
What is most offensive though, in the grand scheme of this experience, is that “friend” bragged about spending tons of money. She made it clear she felt entitled to. The problem is that when she invited me to stay and the entire time I was there, she said she was in a financial position to pay the bills and that she would. But instead she hung me out to dry and spent on herself. That is evil.
If you don’t understand why, I will explain it: if I invited a friend to stay at my place, I would make damn well sure everything worked.