Home > Life or something like it > Roommates: giving the saying “familiarity breeds contempt” that special meaning

Roommates: giving the saying “familiarity breeds contempt” that special meaning


Entry 01/11/2012 07:57:44 AM – Mentat 627

So it’s 10 days into the New Year and I’ve got such a bad case of writer’s block. It’s not so much the fact that there’s nothing to write about, it’s more that there’s way too much to write about and I’m not quite sure how I want to broach the subjects that I have going on in my head. Needless to say that a majority of what’s been going on in my head has been a combination of frustration, rage, anger, more frustration, and even a bit of depression. The other thing that I’ve been wrestling through is how to say what I’m thinking and feeling (along with what I’ve experienced in the last two weeks) without being completely scathing and vitriolic about it. I might have to say “to hell with it” and go full out and vent it all… Good, bad and terrible.

For starters, the New Years was a quiet event. I completely decided against going out for the New Year’s Eve Festivities in spite of the fact that getting downtown is pretty easy to get to from the house. I remember staying up until after midnight (like I usually do) but not staying up much time after that. I remember the next morning was pretty much a do-nothing sort of day, where I did a little cleaning up, a little cooking, and mostly playing games and chatting with folk online. Mark — my roommate — was home if only because of the relationship issues that he was having with his now ex-girlfriend.

I worked out about 9’ish New Year’s Resolutions by New Year’s Eve and have been working on one of them — taking a picture a day by wandering out and about the neighborhood. So far it’s been easy enough to do, particularly given the theme that I’ve chosen for the first of the year and it being winter and all: abandonment, dead, decay. Fortunately for me, the continuing winter into the new year has been relatively mild with temperatures a lot warmer than I’m used to living here in the Tundras of New England. Though I’m sure that it’s only a matter of time before we end up with the snow that I’m more familiar with this time of year. Not that I’m complaining or having a moment of being a Chicken Little or anything — I get that enough from my family.

My life itself has been relatively quiet. My aunt calls me now and again about small problems and/or issues she’s been having with the iPad 2 that she had bought for Christmas. Couldn’t find the instruction manual — not knowing that Apple has gone “green” about them and installed them as PDFs on the tablet. So I e-mailed a link to them from the Apple site so she can read it from her computer (much bigger screen) and figure out the controls and what not. She was looking into getting an upgrade for a photo printer — but fortunately for me after seeing the prices she was dissuaded from getting one. Since moving out — she’s given me hints as to what’s happened to the apartment that I was living in. Uncle converted it into a man cave because he can’t sit out on the porch to watch television during the winter. I’m amused in that sort of disgusted way that this is a sort of repeat of history for me what with my improving the rooms only so that the “landlord” can make use of it. Hopefully he won’t do like the dickhead of a landlord I used to have for the piss-hole of a summer cottage in East Matunuck that I had cleaned up only to be evicted so that he could live there and make it into a piss-hole again.

Though thanks to uncle, I have positively no clue where my Salt DVD is. My roommate decided to watch one of the hundreds of movies that I have and comes over to me to show me that in its place was the DVD for Iron Man. Checking my Iron Man DVD, find that I now have two copies. *sighs* And then they wonder why I was so anal retentive about making sure that when they watched a DVD it was returned quickly. My aunt has this habit of keeping them for so long that they eventually end up in her collection with her claiming ownership. With my uncle, he has a notorious habit of watching DVDs back to back and never putting them back into the sleeves that he took them out of. In this particular case, he got it mixed in with my mother’s DVD of Iron Man, which my mother confirmed not having a copy of the movie.

*sighs again* It looks as though I’m going to need to buy a replacement as neither my mother nor my aunt can find the missing DVD.

I still find myself missing Cricket, although the Mad Cat Committee here comprising of Mister Whiskey Whiskers, Miss Saucy-Pants and the feral doe-in-the-headlights-looking Wilma have decided after a couple of months that I am part of their clowder and come into the room whenever they’re hungry, bored or looking to escape the mad ranting and frenetic movements of their owner through the kitchen and living room. Whiskey for example like sleeping under the bed when he wants to get away from the girls… Though he tends to have this notorious habit of jumping on the bed and staring at me trying to get my attention. If that fails, he’ll then mew and try to jump on either my lap or the desktop (he’s done that a lot hitting the mouse and the back-button in it wrecking whatever window I’m in at the moment). Though my personal favorite is that if I’m leaning back in the chair waiting for something to happen or someone to respond, Whiskey will tap my shoulder causing me to jump in surprise given that I didn’t hear him behind me. Saucy on the other hand, seems to like the thought of sleeping in my closet. I don’t mind that too much given that the spot she sleeps near is the place where I put Cricket’s blankets. Though I have to watch her carefully as she has a habit of trying to sleep in the chest of drawers if I leave it open when putting away my laundry. She’s gotten trapped in it a couple of times by doing this.

And Wilma? Wilma’s still trying to figure out whether I’m friend or foe. She gets really friendly (to the point of tripping me in the morning) if the dry cat food bowl is completely empty and she’s hungry. She tends to run into the room and look around a bit, but the instant I look at her when she’s in the room, she runs back out — like she doesn’t want to be caught in here or something. She’s also pretty gutsy about it when Mark comes into the room to ask me about something — but she leaves the instant he does. I’m sure it’s going to just take her a lot longer than the other two to work out how she wants to handle me and this room.

Also decided on giving up Usenet after 18 years. Seriously since the end of Star Trek: Enterprise what I remember of the Usenet is a sad bunch of luddites and older-generational folk that sound just plain bitter, delusional and crotchety instead being smarmy about their crotchety opinions. That and let’s face it — even though I have a few science-fiction and fantasy shows in my queue, I really haven’t found the want to analyze them like I used to when I was a fan of Star Trek. Most of these shows while entertaining, simply lack the sort of depth that would make me want to expand on the world that the powers that be (for the show in question) are creating. Besides, it’s not as though I don’t have other discussion forums that I can take advantage of. Like chat and a couple of online forums where I can voice my opinion on movies and television shows (along with IT-related insanity that is still very much a part of my life). But the Usenet? It’s dead to me now.

[Last Edited: 01/12/2012 10:32:02 AM]

Now come the part that I’ve been dreading to write. Part of the reason is that I don’t want to face the consequences of it, as I’m sure I just might. On the other hand, I know that it has to be said, given that it’s been eating at me for about a month and I really do need to get it off my chest. Now let’s see if I can put it down in some definable manner, instead of just spewing it out in a frustrated rage. Perhaps in going the former if there are repercussions, perhaps it’ll drive it home. Certainly better than the latter which will only cause me the sort of grief I don’t want to deal with.

My roommate — Mark — is not at all what he painted himself out to be. At all.

“I’m clean,” he said.

“I’m responsible,” he said. Well, he didn’t say that exactly, he did say something to the extent that he was responsible when he got back on his feet.

“I’m an artist,” he said. This was the flag that I paid the most amount of attention to, given that I’ve had experience living with artists and artistic types, and I know that they can sometimes paint themselves off so much differently than they are, but not to what I’m seeing. At all.

I’m going into the third month with him and have to say that the first two I had only a smidgen of a taste of what it’s like to be living with him. Even with the first two weeks I was here, I had thought that it possibly was because it was only because he was hustling to find himself a job. What I’m seeing now that he’s back is pretty much the same thing that I saw when I first moved here is pretty much the same, leaving me with the worst possible impression one could have.

First of all, he’s a complete slob. The first two weeks I’ve been here, and against since he’s been back from the 6 or so weeks he had been staying at his (now ex-) girlfriend’s house watching the place and taking care of her cat, he has yet to lift one finger to clean the house. Each time I’ve commented on it (before his jaunt to his girlfriends and after), he’s given me lip service that he doesn’t have time… Doesn’t have time? I clean three rooms in 90 minutes and that’s with me getting on my hands and knees to clean the floor, scrub the sinks, toilet, tub, stove and counter spaces. I leave his two rooms (domain) of his bedroom and living room to his discretion and based on my experience that would take 45 minutes tops. It’s not as though it’s like cleaning a 70 room mansion, that would take time and I could appreciate his not wanting to.. But this is a 5 room apartment. Not something that would take a day to clean. Half the morning tops.

*sigh* to further exacerbate the problem, he doesn’t clean up after himself. He loves fried foods. Practically lives on them… So you can imagine what the stovetop and surrounding floor looks like after he’s cooked. I decided on testing a theory on this to see whether he would clean up after himself as he left a pan filled with oil on the stovetop. The first time it took him two days to move the oil from the pan to a container (it was an aborted attempt to making falafels which he didn’t have the ingredients for), the second time, I had to intervene at the end of two days because I couldn’t stand the oil splatter on the stovetop and because I needed to use the fry pan for making some soul food. And that took 3 days before my intervention.

Yes, I know.. Let’s add lazy to the list. Because to make it worse, Sunday he says to me that he’s decided to “do a painting a day” (no he did not know about my picture a day resolution. I didn’t tell him until after the fact). So he starts talking about how he wants to get his easel and paints into the house and do a painting. But the problem is that he can’t do it in his bedroom — because it’s officially disaster area — and he can’t do it in the living room — because of the same reason. So he decides he wants to put it in the corner where his cat’s feeing bowls are. This is pretty much a bad corner because on the left you have the refrigerator and on the right (between the windows to the kitchen) the toaster oven and microwave. So I suggest that he take the table (which neither of us use other than him and that’s to dump more of his useless crap there ’til it’s a mound), move it into the living room so that he can actually have a sort of desk space for his computer and television and put it in the corner where the table was that will give him more room.

Keep in mind this was Sunday that we discussed it. It’s now Thursday and it’s only a part of the way done. And by part I mean there’s more shite in the kitchen now than there was before this project was started.

“When you see me motivate, you’ll see nothing but a blur,” he said to me.

Right… motivated. What has he done for the majority of time that he’s been home? Moped about his girlfriend breaking up with him and sitting there all hunched over on the couch, watching television, smoking like a chimney, drinking like a college student, and reading his friends Facebook status updates. Occasionally he’ll do a bit of work (from the job I’ll get to in a minute), and stay up late (sometimes ’til well into the middle of the next morning) only to wash, rinse and repeat this for days at a time.

Seriously though, he’s going to learn what motivation is. I’m going to be locking out his computer from the router (something I provide as a courtesy, though trust me when I say there’s a sore spot there I might or might not cover) and tell him it will be restored when he can get “motivated” and finish what he has started. Or there will indeed be worse coming down the line if he doesn’t demonstrate more motivation.

Job and finances…

Now I understand the difficulty of finding work. With it being winter here and this being a sort of college-town-turned-into-a-state, I can understand the difficulty about getting work. I still have more than 5 months of savings here, and still haven’t taken advantage of the rest of my unemployment benefits as I have more coming… And I know I could’ve stuck it out with the place I was working — and bailed because they were being too unreasonable for such a small company — but at least I can pay my portion of the bills. The first two months he was working off his part of the rent with the landlord by doing odd jobs and projects for him (our landlord runs a couple of art-studio businesses and he’s always needing someone to do the odd jobs to keeping them running). But for the month of November, Mark had miscalculated the amount of work that he had done, and ended up shorting the rent $170 for the month of December. While he was able to make the rest of his rent by the middle of December — I knew that it would be a problem come the first of the month.

True enough, he owes more (and we’re coming up on the middle of the month with the utility bills definitely being due) including last month’s utilities. And while I’m getting impatient, I’m not too nervous given that the money that I have saved and the estimate I’ve given is based on my paying everything in full — as though Mark weren’t living here at all. I’m just getting impatient because I see him getting beer and smokes — sometimes on a daily basis — and not a cent has come in my direction. He might be getting them from friends — but to me, it’s tangible he’s getting something from somewhere for someone that doesn’t have money and I’m getting annoyed by it.

Okay, the part on the job. End of December he had spoken to an former-alum from his alma mater in California. Basically his “friend” created this job for him to sell water-based ink product to the local schools and universities as it’s a good product and not as messy as the traditional oil-based inks used in the past. Now here’s the problem — it’s a job that’s basically been created for him. This means that he has to prove his worth in order for this to work. This also means it’s a sales job which will probably run on commissions for payment. The inks were shipped to him the end of last month, coming in the beginning of this month. He was advised to try them out at AS220 — a sort of progressive location for local artists to get their foot in the door. It took him 11 days to work out trying out their printing presses to demonstrate the value of these inks. I suspect that even with the good showing that was done, it’s going to take a number of more weeks before they start ordering to the point of it being a “successful sale”. This hasn’t stopped Mark from thinking that this job should be paying him $55,000+/year salary and that he will be flying out to California (where the HQ of the friend works/owns) to train him on the product. And then later flying back and forth regularly because he’ll be “that much of an influence for the company…” (or something to that extent).

Uh… In spite of my warning that this is a job that was created for him out of nothing, the fact that all ‘created’ jobs require inordinate amounts of proving one’s worth and the fact that it’s not going to be suddenly bank rolled by cash thrown at it — he continues to have these delusions in spite of the fact that nothing’s been happening with it other than a lot of talking the talk, without any product being bought or sold.

Then last week, his ex-wife sends him a link to a Craigslist job asking me what I think of it. It’s a job listing for a private tutor for some local art student that requires more computer skills than he possesses (in spite of the delusion he thinks he’s skilled in computers), an MFA, and a plethora of experience in many of the fields of art from ceramics and stoneware, to painting, printing and sculpting. There’s no phone numbers to call, and no company or personal name listed and all responses go through Craigslist’s anonymous remailer. Naturally, I remind him of the proverb, “if it’s too good to be true, then chances are it is…” but he wouldn’t hear it. For the next 15 minutes he goes off about how it’s some rich Korean Family and that they’ll be paying him $60,000/year and how he’ll be traveling internationally between here and Korea to tutor their child for which this listing was created for.

I walked away grumbling about putting out feelers, but don’t expect it to be what you’re imagining. I haven’t heard squat since, though I suspect he never followed through (like he does with everything else).

The now ex-girlfriend.

Definitely a slippery slope there, given I only hear half of it and that half is nothing but guy-whinging bullshit. Basically what he feeds me about her is that she’s a “selfish bitch” as she likes to screw around with everyone else and treating him like a “back-up lay” (well, I would use back-up fuck, but I’ll be nicer about it for the sake of diplomacy). Around New Years when she returned from her traveling for holiday and work (or was it friends, I could never make sense of that part of it in November), he basically laid it out for her that he wanted it exclusive between them and she told him that it wasn’t going to happen and that she would basically continue to have sex with whoever she wanted. So he broke up with her.

Like I said, he’s been miserable and moping around the house and is working on the delusion that sometime in the near future she’ll be asking him back. I don’t see that happening given that she seems completely oblivious to anyone else’s feelings other than her own, and if she does this is only going to make a bad situation worse. The phrase, “she’s just not into you” comes racing into my head with all the stories that I hear from him and in spite of him using the word “love” about her — I don’t see anything of love going on. I’m struck with the constant impression it’s more about whether he can get laid and calling it “love” than a relationship built on it. But then again call me old-fashioned as I think less about whether I’m getting laid and more about the person I’m spending time with.

So basically this is an obsession of un-requited “love” (lust is a better word), that is only going to end worse if he continues to pursue it the way he is.

Finally the apartment complex…

Since he’s come back the complaints from the downstairs neighbor that it’s entirely too loud at night. At first I thought it was me as I know I sometimes have hearing problems and play music/movies louder than I should. I do have a habit of shutting it down after 9 PM because I figured the downstairs neighbor is up around 4 – 5 in the morning so that he can get at least 7 hours of sleep. But since Mark’s been home, I’ve all but stopped watching television shows and movies or even playing games without having my earbuds in. So it dawned on me that the complaints only started when he came home to roost and that it’s because he’s playing his music or his television louder than he should after midnight. That and he tends to shamble around the house a lot making meals at 3 in the morning.

Admittedly I lied telling Mark I talked to the downstairs neighbor about this, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the nature of the noise and who’s being complained about. Though it does burn me a little given the amount of noise they can generate with them yelling up and down the stairs (like I said most of the folk in this apartment complex are family and have been here for some time), playing some of the most annoying music I’ve ever heard in my life, and generally making a ruckus while I’m working on something — but it’s usually done during the hours one can make those noises (6 AM – 11 PM). But I can actually tune it out easily enough by listening to my iPod and going off to play a loud game with earbuds on.

He’s given me reasons for it — being partially deaf. He can hear me when I whisper, so that’s bullshit… Basically it’s because he’s completely oblivious to the world around him thinking it’s him, just him and only him and that everyone else should just “fuckin’ deal with it”, he says with a Manhattan Attitude.

So that’s it. Delusional, lazy, slob, loud and self-centered… basically an adult man going through a really bad mid-life crisis by trying to live his life like the college kid he used to be 20 years ago, scraping by, drinking and smoking… pick up where he left off before his marriage, four children and divorce a decade or so ago. And apparently something I need to learn from this — a lesson that I’m sure is going to continue to plague me for a while yet.

And he’s up now. I can hear him sniffling and I can smell the cigarette smoke which means he’s been up for at least 3 cigarettes so far, so I need to go. I have a quick errand to run across the street (milk, bread and butter) and then perhaps I’ll work on another photo today before it gets too dark. Until the next time.

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