Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .

The Warnings About My Roommate From Hell Were All From Insane People

Sunday, February 16, 2014

this entry brought to you by janelle monae, "we were rock n' roll"

I have a "Roommate From Hell" story. I'm not going to tell it here. Not because it's necessarily a secret, but because it would take a long time to write, and it's emotionally draining. Maybe someday. For now, suffice it to say that my "Roommate From Hell" story is much, much worse than "he never cleaned, and also he ate my food". Dead bodies were involved, dozens of them. Well, not dead bodies. But if you can imagine a list of top 5 things a roommate from hell story might have that doesn't involve murder, one of those things on the list will be dead on. That's not an exaggeration.

His name was Matt. When he moved in with us it was under dire circumstances for him, and he didn't have anywhere to go. I was hesitant, because I had a wife and child already, and I had only known him for three or four months at work before his old roommate kicked him out. There were a few warning signs, and as I said, I was hesitant, so I was open to being warned. It's just that the warnings were all absolutely insane.

Joey was Matt's ex-roommate. I had known Joey for about 6 months more than Matt. Everyone hated Joey. Not only was he definitely suffering from some sort of social disorder, but he was a total asshole about it. And he had the worst sense of humor. Everyone hated this guy, and it was not in a pitiable way, he was a hostile person.

When Matt started working he seemed like a good guy, and we all thought it was strange that he started being friends with Joey-- nobody was friends with Joey. After around a month, Matt moved in with Joey, and we all asked how this is possible.

Within two months Joey and Matt were at each others throats, which didn't surprise me. Joey was kicking him out, and then said he was moving, so he was quitting as well. This is when Matt came and stayed with us. I helped Matt move out of Joey's place. Joey lived in a motel in a really rough neighborhood with a sad looking girlfriend. I don't mean sad looking as in ugly, I mean sad. I don't like to judge people, but Joey spent his money on a Camaro he owned and was way too proud of, and his girlfriend paid for the motel with her paycheck. It was something Joey bragged about. He called in sick frequently, would frequently leave early, or have his girlfriend call in and pretend to have an emergency, giving him an excuse to leave early, and bragged that he didn't need this job, it was just a job he had to pay for his car. His girlfriend made more than enough money to pay for rent. I knew that anybody who worked where we did who owned a Camaro was living way past his means, but when I saw the motel he was living in, I felt sorry for his girlfriend. She must be suffering from some sort of disorder as well, presumably worse than his.

The next day Joey came to work after having quit, and he was furious. I didn't see him come in, but I heard him, yelling at Matt. "You owe me fucking money, now fucking pay!"

"Joey, I'm not paying that fucking money. Fuck you." Matt's voice was calm and irritated while Joey was screaming at the top of his lungs.

"I said you could not use the fucking phone, and yet here you were! I said you could use it once! Once! And there you are, fucking using it even when I told you not to!"

"Fuck you, Joey, I needed to call my mom, I told you I was going to, I did, and I know I said I'd pay you back, but now that you're being like this, fuck you. Pay it yourself."

Joey walked over to me, a bill in hand. "So! Matt's living with you, right?" he asked.

"For now," I said.

"Let me show you what kind of guy your roommate is. We live in a motel-- you know that. They charge us 25 cents a minute to use the phone. He said he needed to call his mom. I told him he could use it once-- once! And look at this."

Keep in mind, I'd only known Matt for a few months at this point in time, and though I hated Joey, and as he leaned over to show me the bill, this was the closest we'd ever stood next to one another, I actually would have liked to known what kind of person was living with me. If he had legitimate complaints, I would certainly like to hear them.

There were three calls. An initial one that was about 7 minutes, and two other calls for one minute each. Altogether they cost about three dollars. I'm not making this up. Joey had quit, driven in the day after having quit all this way to demand that Matt pay him three dollars.

Phone companies have ceased with the "long distance cost money" thing for years now, but he was living in a motel room, and 25 cents a minute is a lot. But even when phone companies were asking for 10 cents a minute, it wasn't difficult to see how a bad roommate could stiff you with hundreds of dollars worth of a phone bill. This was three fucking dollars. For a guy who drove around in a Camaro.

"Yes, Joey," I said. "I see."

There was Angela. I wouldn't call this interaction insane, but it was strange.

Angela had been working there for about a month, and she was pretty quiet. She was gorgeous, though. She had a beautiful, beaming face and fantastic smile, gorgeous, picturesque hair, and an overwhelming voluptuous rack on her petite frame. The only thing I could fault her for, not that it was her fault, was that she had a flat butt compared to her generous bust. After a few weeks we started chatting, and she was really friendly, but what was more, you could tell immediately how smart she was.

We were sitting at break, and she came and sat next to me, which I thought was cool, because prior to this she sat by herself. Matt smiled at her and said something along the lines of it being nice of her to decide to join us.

Matt was 6'8" and a fat man, easily over 350 pounds. He was gigantic. He had brilliant, natural red hair, and wore a ponytail and a big beard.

"You look like you should be named Eric," she said, smiling.


"You look like a Viking. Like a big ol' mean Viking. With your red hair and beard, your height-- you should be Eric the Viking."

She was flirting with him. It seemed shocking to me-- she hadn't said much to anyone for a few weeks, only now started talking to me, and was now openly flirting with Matt. It's not that Matt is a bad looking guy-- I would say he's actually pretty good looking. He is also enormous, both in height and weight, so when this petite cutie started flirting with him upon her initial interaction with him, I was impressed.

Two days later they went out and saw a movie.

It's difficult for me to remember my interaction the day after the date. It started normal, she was friendly as hell, we were having a nice conversation, and the name "Matt" was mentioned, and her demeanor drastically changed.

"What, exactly, is that guy's name?" she asked suspiciously.

"His name's Matt."

"And… Eric? That's not like, a middle name or anything?"

"No, his name is Matt," I repeated.

"Uh-huh," she said, not hiding the irritation in her voice.

"Dude, you let her believe your name was Eric? Why the fuck would you do that?" I scolded him when I saw him later.

"I thought she knew!" he protested. "I thought she was joking that I should be named Eric! I thought she knew my name! She knows your name, she knew Joey's name, I thought she knew my name! I was kidding! I was just playing along!"

"She seemed pissed as hell," I said.

"I don't know what the fuck happened! We had a good time at the movies! I don't know where this is coming from!"

The next day was her day off, yet she showed up and approached me with a bag in her hand. We exchanged pleasantries. "Could you do me a favor? Could you give this stuff back to him? Whatever his name is?"

"Yeah, sure," I said, looking in, and seeing a VHS copy of High Fidelity in it. "What is it?"

"He loaned it to me to watch," she said. "We loaned each other movies our favorite movies. He can have it back."

"I've always wanted to see this movie!" I said. "How as it?"

Her face turned into a pointed frown. "Oh, I didn't watch it," she said, venom dripping. "And uh, the movie I loaned him? He can keep it."

She gave me a hug and said, with her big, friendly smile good-bye.

She didn't come in to work the next day. And this isn't to say it had entirely to do with Matt-- we worked overnight at Target, which was a shit job, and people frequently were hired and quit within weeks. But the timing certainly made it seem like her complete disgust with Matt had something to do with it..

At the time I had no reason to doubt Matt's version of the story, and clearly the date had gone well enough all the way up to the end--- they had gone to her house, and while they didn't do anything, they swapped video tapes, which is a really cute thing to do. So as far as I could tell, they left one another on a positive, hopeful note, and the very next day when she learned his name wasn't Eric, she didn't just seem confused, she seemed betrayed. I wouldn't call her behavior "insane" like Joey's, but it was strange. Inexplicable.

Matt and I were walking home when a car violently pulled up next to us, a heavy set 40-something year old inside shouting at the top of her lungs. "Matthew! Matthew!" she shouted.

Matt went up to the window, confused. "Oh, hey," he said. It was the roommate he'd had before Joey.

"Would you fucking tell your friends that you do not live at my house any more, and that that number is no longer fucking valid? Your fucking friends have fucking called my house asking for you. You need to fix it or so help me," she said, foaming at the mouth.

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry! Did they call really late at night? I hope they didn't wake your son up."

"No, it was about 6 in the evening, nobody was asleep yet!" she shouted.

"Well, did you get the name?" he asked.

"No, I didn't ask, that's not that goddamn point!"

"Well, I'm so sorry. How many times did this happen?"

"Once! Maybe twice," she said, throwing her hands up in the air in frustration. She kept shouting and then violently sped away.

Once, maybe twice. This woman had been thrown into a completely irrational rage from somebody asking for Matt six months after he moved at a completely reasonable time, once, maybe-- maybe!-- twice.

I genuinely feel like if I were given stories that were rational, from rational people, I genuinely would have looked for any warning signs and told Matt that this couldn't possibly be permanent. Even in the case of Angela, where she didn't volunteer any information other than he lied about his name, all evidence was that their interaction was completely positive. In retrospect, knowing what kind of person Matt actually was, for all I know she had repeatedly asked them during their date, "So, hey, I hear your friends calling you Matt-- is Eric really your name?" And for some reason he kept lying to her. Which sounds like a thing he would do. But her complete and utter removal from any interaction with him was as if she had been actually dating him and found out he'd been cheating on her the whole time.

Of course, I now know those people's rage was actually pretty rational in and of itself-- unfortunately, their reasoning was that of insane people.

with love from CRS @ 1:52 PM 


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