01 September 2007

More on why I live alone

The Halifax newspaper, The Coast, has a piece on roommate drama. (Of course I read the Halifax Coast. Doesn't everyone? No, for reals, I found the link at the wonderful Passive Aggressive Notes.com)

And while I am presently enjoying my status as Head of Household where "Household" = me + one large dog, that wasn't always the case.

From 1983 to 2001, I shared a variety of apartments and houses with a variety of people. To be more precise, 2 apartments and 4 houses with 29 other human beings, only 2 of whom I was having an intimate relationship with. (Or not-so-intimate, depending on how much we could stand each other at the time.)

In all that time, I only had 3 roommates that really sucked. One couldn't help it - she was manic-depressive and didn't have her meds worked out yet. It stunk to live with her, but I am sure it was worse to BE her.

Another was a pathological liar. Let's call her PL for short.

I should have known something was up when she told me she was studying to be a dancer, and she was 33 at the time. 33 in dancer years is like 150 in human years - if you aren't already a dancer (instead of in the "studying to be" phase, you ain't never gonna be anything more than a second-string instructor at Arthur Murray).

But it was summer in a college town, and we were desperate for a renter. So we (me and Miss Bamboo Lemur Boys) took her.

I have blocked out most of those memories, but I have this to say about PL - she had mad lying skillz. I am a pretty good liar, but PL had me beat all to hell. She was an International Grand Master of Lying, because she could think of your response, her response to your question, your response to THAT and her comeback, all before you could start to think "Huh, wait, this story doesn't add up somehow."

She was like the Bobby Fisher of lies or something. I wish I could be more specific, but it all happened so head-spinningly fast that I could never quite get a grip on "Wha' happened?"

My worst roomie by far was the first stranger I ever took on. During and after college, there were people I knew and lived with, but eventually they all moved on and out, and I was left searching for someone to rent the room upstairs.

She was seemingly glamorous. A child of diplomats, she was from another country and had lived all over the world. She had an exotic, practically unpronounceable name, which she had actually changed her name TO (from another exotic, practically unpronounceable name that was practically the same, but she insisted all the people that knew her learn her new name, a process that took much tedious explanation and correction ("No, not 'Bashjeeya', it is now 'Barshguiya'" "Barshjeeya?" "No, Barshguiya," and so on. That is not the real name but close enough.)

Because of her status, she had grown up with servants, who apparently did everything, because she did not do housework. Ever. At all.

I called her room "Lockerbie" because it had exactly the same level of organization and cleanliness you see after a mid-air explosion: none. This is not an exaggeration.

I don't really care how my roomies keep their quarters. What did bug me about Princess (which is what her parents called her) was that she ate my food. All my food. All the time.

I had mentioned that my old housemates and I had had congenial grocery-sharing agreements - we picked things up for each other, offered each other food when we had purchased too much, and it all worked out pretty even.

She took this to mean that "All your food is belong to us" and proceeded to 1. Never buy groceries and 2. Eat all my food, even after I told her not to.

At first I thought it would be limited to my leftovers or prepared foods (frozen pizzas, for instance) but no. If there was one lonely can of corn left in the cabinet, she would open that and have 15 oz. of corn niblets for dinner. I would know because she would leave the can and fork sitting out on the coffee table for days until I cleaned it up.

I'll never forget the first time I invited this guy over for dinner. We were talking and he was following me around and I went in my room, opened my dresser drawer, and began taking out the ingredients I needed.

Yes indeed. I had had to turn my bedroom into a pantry because she would not venture in there. You forget how nutty you have to act when you live with a lunatic, because it becomes everyday routine, but the look on his face was priceless.

In addition to not cleaning up after herself and not buying food, she eventually quit working and quit paying rent. She would get "bad cramps" and lay around menstruating in a white robe that became all smeared with blood because she had something against pads or tampons. Yeah, nice.

I kicked her out, not according to the laws of the State of California, which mandate a lengthy process that may take over 90 days. I kicked her out according to the Laws of Suebob, which meant that when she was 5 days past due on the rent, I put her stuff out on the lawn and bolted the doors.

Illegal? Yes. Effective? I have never seen Barshguiya again, which is all I really wanted.

Ok, tell me your roommate horrors. I am dying to know. Do it on your own blog if you want. I will love reading them.

30 August 2007

On finding love

The last time I went to college (not that long ago) I ended up having to take a class on Marriage and Family. I was skeptical, but it was really pretty good.

One of the things my teacher said was that it is easier to get married when you are young, because when you are relatively unformed, your list of deal-breakers is shorter.

Damn right, dude. When I was a pretty young thing, my list was short: Does he like me? Is he cute? Okay, then.

As I got crankier and older, the list grew ever longer. You'd think that, as we grew wiser, we would become more tolerant. Wrong.

I was having coffee with my attorney, KD, the other day, and he talked about the most recent woman he had kicked to the curb.

"She just never caught on that the teapot belonged on the back burner, not the front," he said ruefully.

Ah yes. Those pesky details that make us cranky. The exMrStapler regularly castigated me for leaving the cabinet doors open and for my inability to make the dryer spit out all the socks I had put in it, leaving unmatched pairs (don't ask ME where they went. I honestly do not know).

I have to admit that I feel so good when I come home and shut the door to my tiny house behind me and it is just me and my dog...it worries me that I like it so much. No one to nag me. No one to ask me why I do things the way I do them. Just me and what I choose to do, when I choose to do it.

I never get lonely. But then again, I never have. Is there something wrong with me?

I look at the online personals ads quite regularly. I don't do anything about them, though. I just can't. Right now, my list is too long.

29 August 2007

I did it

I rode the bike I rode the bike I rode the bike on the street all by myself!!

If I sound like an excited 10-year-old, I have to fill you in on something I left out when I told you about buying the bike: I have major bike trauma.

I had a fabulously cute roommate (Hey, CEH, hey Empress) who rode his bike all the time. He biked the 10-mile round trip to work every day and put in about 60 miles on Saturdays. He looooved his beautiful shiny white bike.

Then one day, despite his helmet and light and reflectors and obeying all the traffic laws, he had an accident. A car pulled right out in front of him while it was exiting a shopping center driveway without the driver stopping or looking. CEH hit the front of the car and flipped over it and made a perfect one-point landing, shattering his hip socket in a billion cracks.

I got to see him in screaming pain in the hospital before his surgery, which took a week to arrange. All that time he was laying in that bed unfixed, waiting to be transferred to a better surgical facility.

Imagine trying to arrange yourself on a bedpan for a week with a shattered hip...it makes my skin crawl to think of it.

It took all the kings horses and all the kings men and a bunch of wonderful UCLA doctors to put him back together again.

And then it took another year or so and our friend, a really good attorney, to get the money to make it more or less right with a big 6-figure settlement.

When he was in the local hospital and on major pain meds, an insurance guy showed up and offered him $10,000 to take care of everything. Luckily, he held out because he already had a friend who was an attorney. Let this be a lesson: never talk to an insurance guy without a lawyer present. Never!

So ANYWAY, I suffered mental bike trauma in this process. I had a hard time getting over the bike = broken bones, suffering and pain equation.

But today I did. Breakthrough. I finally, finally did it.

It was great fun. Busting through fears always is for me. I get a big happy rush of energy. Now I just have to build up some endurance because dude, I am OUT of shape.


Why do people take lessons in weaving, when dog hair, which is apparently inanimate, can weave ITSELF into my clothing and car seats?

27 August 2007

PS You are not paying attention

I went to the Vons supermarket down by the beach because Goldie and I were walking down there.

Bagboy: Did you find everything ok?

Me: Um, no, I couldn't find any regular popcorn, the non-microwave kind.

Bagboy: All right, you have a good night.

Why did he ask, then?


10 minutes later, at the Vons by my house, I go in to buy one item - guess what? - popcorn.

Me, to the bag girl: I don't need a bag.

Bag girl: Okay.

Two seconds later, she shoves my bag of popcorn in a bag.

Me: I don't need a bag.

Bag girl: (gives me a dirty look as she removes my 1 item from the bag).

I guess listening to the customer is not an option.

What did I say? I can't hear me!

26 August 2007

Go elsewhere

Updated to add: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigns!! I really shouldn't be drinking champagne this early on a Monday morning!

This is my third week of Smashboard Sunday over at Linkateria, a few select posts from bloggers whose feeds I read. Enjoy. (The title is a tribute to NYC Watchdog's "Smorgashbord Sunday")

And PLEASE, please go over to Queen of Spain's blog and leave comments telling your story of why we still need feminism. What has happened to you because you are a woman? I'm talking about things that still need fixing.

It is fascinating to know the kind of discrimination and pain that other women have encountered just because they are women.
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