Throwback Thursday – Roommate from Hell

I’ve lived with many people over the years, most of them were my husbands. *rimshot* 

I also lived alone at different times in Wingham and Toronto. And my roommates ran the gamut. My first was Shannon Sampert, in Red Deer, AB. She’s Dr. Sampert now, Director and Editor-in-Chief of Evidence Network, and still a great friend. I roomed with a couple of guys I worked with in Prince George, BC, and later a couple of gals I met through the guys, also in Prince George. One of those gals is author Linda Poitevin,. I knew her when. But the strangest person I shared an apartment with shall remain nameless, mainly because I can’t remember her name.

It was the mid-1980s. She answered my ad in the London Free Press and quickly rose to the top of the list of candidates because no one else responded. She was Eastern European and vague about her work situation but paid first months’ rent and half the damage deposit up front so, I gave her a shot.

She didn’t have any furniture but I had already outfitted the second bedroom with my childhood bed and dresser, so we were set. We worked out the fridge rules (top shelf mine, bottom shelf hers) and we were off and running.

I worked a variety of shifts at CKSL radio and slept at odd times. It didn’t take long to notice that she was always there. All. Ways. There. When my friend Joy and I decided to spend the afternoon at the pool, she would come along. At first, it was fine. And then it wasn’t. She used metal utensils in Teflon pans repeatedly after being asked to stop. She ruined my Grandmother’s fragile, antique pie-crust table by placing a large, heavy fan on it. She put toast in the toaster and then took a shower. I was left to air out the apartment from burning bread. When rent time came around she emptied her closet and put everything she owned on the living room floor. “You pick what you want and I’ll tell you its value!”  Yes, she wanted to pay rent in clothing and shoes. She argued with me about paying utilities. “I never turn on my light. I shouldn’t have to pay as much.” She was exasperating.

But the capper, the ultimate, and the deal-breaker with this thoughtless woman came one night as Derek and I were watching TV late into the evening. (The same Derek who is now my husband, with whom I currently live. At the time, we were former co-workers who stayed friends.) My roommate came home blinded by alcohol, with a gorgeous, young, equally drunk man in tow. They said something incomprehensible and retreated to my bedroom. Derek kept turning up the TV volume in a failed attempt to drown out what they were doing on the single bed of my innocent years. After a while, she came out wearing nothing but a thin robe that was undone and flowed behind her, displaying all of her assets. She babbled, cross-legged on the floor. We tried not to laugh and acted as if everything was normal even though she wasn’t making sense. Her new friend joined us, also naked, took her by the hand and led her back to their room, giggling. Derek and I laughed. He eventually went home. I had a lock on my bedroom door and that night, I used it.

Early the next morning I was awaken by piercing screams from the other bedroom. “GET THE EFF OUT OF HERE! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING? RAPE! RAPE! CALL THE COPS!”  I banged on the bedroom door, asking whether she was okay. Pleading for calm, the young guy ran out of the room naked and terrified, clutching his clothes and shoes. He left the apartment that way. My first reaction was concern. “Are you okay?”  “NO, I’m not okay!” she said. “He was trying to RAPE me!” How did he get in here? I was almost RAPED!”

I stared at her in disbelief. She had obviously been blackout drunk the night before and had no memory of bringing this guy home and having loud sex with him before allowing him to stay the night. In the morning, he apparently thought they would go for round two but she thought he was an intruder trying to take advantage of her in my tiny bed.

In my mid-twenties I could put up with a lot more drama than I’ll tolerate now, but that was too much for me.

I spoke to her in an even tone that escalated to anger. “You brought him home last night. You both paraded around naked in front of me and Derek. We HEARD you in my bed! You have to move out!”

She was stunned. She argued and begged to stay but I listed the many reasons why we were incompatible until she finally agreed. She probably just wanted me to shut up because of the terrible hangover she was suffering through. Within a few days, she was gone.

Months later, I saw her walking downtown carrying her possessions in the giant suitcase I recognized from her days as my roommate. It was going to be awkward as we got closer. She was probably couch surfing again and looking for someplace to say. I stopped and said hi. She said hi but kept right on walking. That’s fair, I thought. After all, we weren’t friends. A real friend would have paid her share as a roommate, and a real friend might have let her stay when she was going through a tough time. Touche.

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