My Worst Roommate

My Worst Roommate

When I was in college, I moved into an off-campus apartment with a friend, and a friend of his. At first, it seemed like a great idea. We were all artist types, and none of us minded each others' weirdnesses. At first.

I didn't care that my bass playing roommate slept on the couch, opting to keep his uncovered mattress on the floor free for his amp. I didn't mind that my poet roommate spent all night drinking on the porch, listening to Radiohead at obnoxious volumes and coddling his geriatric cat. And they didn't mind that our dining room had been repurposed for a painting studio, that there were gigantic paintings of monsters and nude women tacked to every wall, or that the kitchen always seemed to smell like turpentine.

We all had jobs to pay our bills. The bass player worked at the local movie theater. The poet "tended bar," which was a euphemism for having acquired a girlfriend three times his age who paid his share of the rent. I worked at an art supply store, as much for the income as the discount on my art supplies. But I was the only one who ever seemed able to pay my share of the bills when they were due.

It wasn't long before we really began grating on each other. I got tired of waking up every morning to find both my roommates passed out on the couch instead of in their own room. I got tired of being the only person who seemed to know how to use the kitchen, either the sink OR the stove. I got tired of the geriatric cat peeing all over my stuff.

And they got tired of me basically telling them they were gross and they needed to pick up after themselves.

Things came to a head on an afternoon in March. I came home to find one of my art books sitting on the kitchen stove, my Radiohead CD skipping in the stereo at top volume, and not a soul in sight. I kicked off my shoes and cleaned the kitchen in a silent rage, until the poet finally made his appearance.

"You can't leave books on a gas stove," I said. "Each burner has an open flame. You could have burned the house down."

"Yeah, whatever," he said, rolling his eyes.

"At the very least you could have burned the book. I'd think you'd care about books, but then I guess you'd have to read them."

He glared at me. "I'm not going to ruin your precious book," he said. "When have I ever ruined your stuff?"

I started listing the things he'd left out on the porch in rain and snow, from my comforter to my guitar, and he brushed me off. "Whatever. I don't care anyway."

"Look, I don't mind if you have no respect for literature."

"I have respect for literature," he said. "I just have no respect for you."

We stared each other down for a few minutes, then he shrugged his shoulders and smirked. "I have to go to work," he said.

"Yeah," I retorted. "You've got little old ladies to fuck."

He glared at me. I could see the gears turning in his head. He wanted to hit me, but he knew if he hit me I'd have him thrown off the lease, and he didn't want that. Instead, he cleared his throat.

"You know, it's nice that you think you know everything," he said. "Because..." We stared at each other again. I raised my eyebrows, waiting for him to finish the thought. It took him thirty solid seconds. " don't.

"Wow," I said, "Nice comeback!"

I marched out of the room feeling self-righteous and victorious, and listened from my bedroom while he tooled around in the kitchen until the door slammed, and his footsteps started down the back stairs. Then I went back to continue cleaning up.

When I stepped back into the kitchen, my eyes fell on my shoes, sitting by the back door. Now in a mysterious puddle.

The son of a bitch had peed in my shoes.


Read more about my ridiculous life here: The Tale of My Daughters' Penises

Read my most recent post here: What It's Like to be a Rape Survivor in America Right Now

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