Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Familiarity Breeds Contempt, Part I

Alright, so far, I am seeing choice #4 pop up in the votes the most, so today I will discuss the roommate issue a little bit more. In case you are scratching your head right now, E moved out the weekend of theory. (You'll see what I mean in Part II)

Now, I know I have familiarized you with E and her antics before. But I haven't really given you the whole story. So here we go.

I met E several years ago, through my friend W. At the time, they were roommates-- E rented from W. Every so often, we would all get together, so I knew E well enough to like her, but let me tell you, you never REALLY know someone until you live with them.

When W's boyfriend moved into her condo, which is pretty small, E began to feel like three was a crowd. And really, with a boyfriend around, I think most single girls would feel they were a third wheel. So I understood her feelings of discomfort and interest in moving out. Coincidentally, at the time, my old roommate K (who is a WHOLE other story which I won't get into right now) had moved out, and my extra bedroom was empty. So I invited E to move in with me.

That's when I got what I should have seen as Red Flag #1: "Oh, I would love to, but I'm really broke and I wouldn't be able to pay you a whole lot of rent, so I would feel bad doing that to you," E explained. I told her that since we were friends, I would cut her a deal, no problem. At that point, I needed the rent money. ANY rent money.

"Ok, well, how about you pay me $350 per month?" I offered. Where I live, this is a really good rent price, especially for living in a house, rather than an apartment.

"That's more than I'm paying now. I really can't afford to pay more than $230 per month," she replied.

Since I was really just wanted ANY extra money, I said ok. "You are a sucker," CN told me. I told him that we are friends, and I would feel bad if I charged her a price that broke her bank.

"$230 doesn't break anyone's bank, unless they are on welfare," he replied.

A little voice in the back of my head told me he was right, but I decided to ignore it. While E doesn't have a college degree (she dropped out), she does make a decent living working for a health benefits company. I don't know how much exactly, but she probably makes around $30,000-35,000. Looking back on it now, I do kind of feel like a sucker. When I made that amount of money, I was paying $500/month in rent.

Not long after E moved in, I began to learn more about her financial situation. With around $20,000 in credit card debt and an upside-down car loan, she was on the verge of filing for bankruptcy. Suddenly, her low rent request made a lot more sense to me. I told her to let me know if things got even worse and if she needed extra time to pay rent, or some other kind of help. She was my friend, after all.

Then, I started noticing the shopping. And I'm not talking about hitting big annual sales or Target or even Walmart shopping. E would buy brand new Coach purses. And not the little ones -- the BIG ones. She would justify the purchases by using $25 coupons she received in the mail for being a loyal Coach customer. "It's such a good deal! How can I not do it?" she would exclaim, showing off her new purchase. Then there were the matching shoes that had to be purchased to go with the purse. And if there was a party or an event coming up? She had to buy a new outfit. Often from places like Banana Republic or J.Crew. If nothing else, E is a well-heeled girl. I have to give her some props -- she's a fantastic dresser. But really, at what cost?

This was from the girl who swears she cannot afford to pay me more than $230/month in rent.

Then, there was her car. It was only about 2 years old, and it was a big, gas-guzzling SUV. It was newer and more expensive than my car. I am not saying that I am envious of her, because as you will soon see, that is the last thing I feel towards E. I'm just stating this as evidence of how outside of her means this girl lives. I make more money than E does, and my used car cost only $8,000. Hers was around $25,000. She eventually managed to trade it in and get a new car loan at a slightly lower interest rate. I thought this was a great idea, until she brought home her new car. It was a brand new, $25,000 car. "My payments are a little lower now. And it's much better on gas," she explained.

Is this girl for real???

Now, is it just me, or does it seem pretty stupid for someone in her financial situation to live this kind of lifestyle? I mean, it's a no-brainer, really. But wait -- it gets better.

One day, we were talking about her precarious financial situation. I managed to, in a round-about-way, aske her how in the holy fuck she got into this mess to begin with. Her explanation? Her ex-boyfriend from several years back, who we are pretty sure is a drug dealer (oh yes, she picks some real winners), showered her with luxurious gifts for so long (these were guilt presents, because he was cheating on her left and right) that she got used to them, and just can't seem to go back to anything less.

Are. You. Freaking. Kidding. Me.

I asked her what kinds of things he had bought her before he ripped out her heart and stomped on it. (Side note: It was a pretty shitty breakup -- he basically kicked her out of his apartment to make room for the new girlfriend, who he'd been cheating on her with. Yeah, he was a really great guy.) He had purchased for her: several Coach bags, shoes, perfume, a Rolex and (drumroll please) a Louis Vuitton purse. As in, a real one, NOT a knock-off from Canal Street or someone's car trunk.

Call me crazy, but if I was broke as shit, drowning in debt, and I had a bunch of junk that some asshole had bought for me with drug money to ease his guilt over cheating on me, I would sell that crap on eBay so fast it would make your head spin. But does she do that? No. She'd rather wear her Rolex every day, a constant reminder of not only a miserably failed relationship, but also her poor decision making skills. What the hell is this girl on, anyway?

Well, for starters, alcohol. Now, we all know that I don't drink anymore, so I am a little out of the loop, but I'm pretty sure it's not really very acceptable to drink beer on your lunch break. But this didn't stop E. I would come home at lunch to find one empty beer can in the trash, and a fresh one in her hand. Sometimes, she would get drunk on margaritas at lunch and go back to work. Yeah. I'm sure you're not surprised to hear this, but she also would drink heavily at night and on the weekends. In addition to knocking out a case of beer every week at home (an amount I already think is kind of a lot), she would go out at least 2 times during the week and every Friday and Saturday--drinking for about 5 hours straight. Now, E is a fun girl, I will give her that. But I also think a lot of fun people are alcoholics, and she's one of them. Not only was her safety impacted by her drinking (she would drive drunk if no one would was around to take her home and she came thisclose to getting busted for an open container once), but so was her budget and her job. She called in sick several times due to a hangover. I know a lot of people do this, but she would do it about once or twice a month. That's a lot.

In addition to the alcohol, E was also on a cocktail of pills. She's a Heath Ledger waiting to happen: anti-depressants, Xanax, Ambien and Adderoll were all put into her body every day. This is in addition to all the alcohol, any over the counter painkillers she would take, and if she was sick, antibiotics. She admitted to doctor shopping, especially when one of them would not refill her prescriptions.

As you can imagine, anytime her behavior became strange or erratic, I just assumed it was from all the chemicals she had swimming around in her body. Or an eccentric personality. After a while, I grew accustomed to her insomnia, her weekend sleep-a-thons, her drunken antics, her Ambien-induced sleepwalking, and her passing out in the bathtub. What, I never told that story? I can't believe I never told that one. I was probably trying to protect her by not spilling her personal life on this blog. But at this point, I doubt I will lose any sleep over it. If anything, I'm hoping this will serve as a warning to anyone using or thinking about using Ambien. The drug is evil, I tell you.

A few times, E would come home drunk, take her Ambien and watch TV in her bed. I have learned that drunk people need everything to be louder than sober people do, so several times I would wake up to the sound of her TV or music coming from her room. Knocking on her door, yelling her name and even shaking her did not wake her up. A couple of times, she was so PTFO that I thought about calling 911. She was seriously dead to the world. If there had been a fire, she would have burned alive. No joke. So I would eventually just give up, turn the TV or music off myself, and go back to bed.

This wasn't a huge deal, but it started to scare me as time went on. More than once, I would wake up in the morning to find that the oven had been on all night. E had gone out, gotten drunk, come home to make a frozen pizza, and then PTFO on her Ambien before turning the oven off. I was really starting to get worried, but always hoped it would be the last time.

The last straw came with The Bathtub Incident. One night, I was awakened by the sound of music coming from her bathroom. At this point, it was normal for her to be up all night, re-organizing her room as she often did when she had bouts of insomnia. I was annoyed, but I knew she hadn't woken me up on purpose, so I walked over to ask her to turn her music down. I knocked on the door. No answer. I yelled her name. No answer. Thinking she had passed out in her bed, I went into her room -- she was not there. She had to be in the bathroom. I peeked around the corner to look into her bathroom. She was passed out in the bathtub, with water up to her chest. I was panicked, and sort of froze for a minute, because what do you do? All I could think was, "What the fuck? I am so pissed at her for putting me in this situation. This is so fucking awkward and scary. At worst, she could drown. At best, I have to go in there and drag my wet, naked roommate out of the tub, which is very awkward!!"

So I went in and shook the crap out of her until she woke up long enough to mumble that she was fine. Then she passed right back out. I seriously didn't know what to do. She was too heavy and slippery for me to pick her up, because I tried. I was really furious that I even had to deal with this at 3am. I was starting to feel like her babysitter, and I was really just OVER IT. Looking back on it, I should have let the water out of the tub, but it didn't occur to me in my half-asleep stupor. I was just pissed. I took a good look at the depth of the water and realized that she was too tall to slip under it. (E is about 5' 9") At the time, that was good enough for me. I figured the water would eventually get cold enough that it would wake her up and she would get out. So I turned the music down and went back to bed.

When I woke up the next morning, I totally panicked, because HOLY SHIT, I just left her there??? What the hell was I thinking??? I felt horrible. But I am a deep sleeper, and not the clearest thinker in the middle of the night. I still can't believe I did that, and I shudder to think of what could have happened. But at the time, I thought I had made a good decision. Stupid, I know. I feel really bad about that. Anyway, so I ran to her room and I saw that she was safe in her bed--WHEW. I didn't even tell her about it until several weeks later, because it was just so awkward, and I was so pissed about it, I didn't want to bring it up.

This, along with the random guy she left at my house, were major turning points in our relationship. I began to really resent her and grow very annoyed with her. Little things that hadn't bothered me before started to drive me up the wall. For example, every morning, she would ask me if her outfit looked ok. It always did, because she has the most gorgeous wardrobe you've ever seen, and thanks to the Adderoll, she's as thin as a rail. I am not nearly as good of a dresser as she, so it never made sense to me why she'd even ask for my opinion in the first place. After the Bathtub Incident, this little morning routine began to drive me insane. It began to feel like she just wanted to show off her clothes to me. As if that wasn't bad enough, I swear she began turning her iPod up more loudly, and she listened to the SAME four songs every morning. And she has really bad taste in music. For weeks, I had to listen to "Please don't stop the music please don't stop the music please don't stop the music!!" (that Rihanna song) at 67 decibels.

As if the morning wasn't bad enough, lunch breaks were even worse. When I go home for lunch every day, I like to read or watch "What Not to Wear". I don't mind a little small talk or gossip, but if E took her lunch at the same time, she would basically hijack my lunch time. E would often change outfits at lunch, so I would have to go through the whole outfit-approval discussion again. And instead of making small talk and letting me get back to my meal/book/tv show, she would use lunch breaks as an opportunity to inform me on one of the following topics:

OMG, You Won't Believe What Someone Did to Me!
My Ex-Boyfriend is an Asshole and You Won't Believe What He is Doing Now! (aka OMG, You Won't Believe What a Stalker I Am!)
OMG, I Hate My Job
OMG, My Boyfriend is Such an Asshole (Side note: he wasn't. He's actually a great guy. Who gave her the boot a few months ago, because he also grew tired of her crap.)

As you can probably gather from this list of topics, E has a tendency to be a martyr and dwell on things. She's a little obsessive about how people have wronged her. A lot of the time, like with her ex, she's right -- the guy is a total fucking jerk. But they broke up FOUR YEARS AGO. LET. IT. GO. She still, as far as I know, stalks his girlfriend on myspace, drives by their apartment, looks for his car when she goes out, etc. A lot of girls have done these things, including yours truly, but for FOUR years???? Good grief, Charlie Brown!

All of E's Martyr Talks got really old after a while. I just wanted to eat my sandwich and watch my show and be left alone. I did not go home for lunch to play therapist. To the same patient. With the same issues. Every day. Not surprisingly, she never took any of my (basic and obvious) advice anyway, which only irritated me further. It's like she is hell bent on making her life as difficult and emotionally upheaving as possible. I don't get it. So I began to take my lunch breaks very early, to avoid seeing her. She rarely went to lunch before noon, and never went back to work before 2pm (yeah, her job is another story!) . I have found that simply avoiding her works very well. I haven't had to watch The E Show in a very long time. (You know anyone like that? Every time they talk to you, it's all about them? Never about you? That's E in a nutshell.)

For a while, the nights and weekends were great -- she would be at her boyfriend's house, and I would be free of her. But as I said a little bit ago, several months ago, he apparently grew tired of her, too, and dumped her. So then she was suddenly at home all the time. When she started dating the guy she's currently with, I thought, "Great! Now she can start sleeping over at his house!" -- but I had no such luck. She managed to start dating a 33 year old guy who still lived with his parents. Not that he doesn't have any money -- he owns 3 cars. But I guess he still wants mommy to do his laundry. WTF.

So he started sleeping over all the time, which led to their shower antics and that time I kicked him out, etc--I have already told you about those things. He only made things worse.

One day, not too long before she moved out, I broke down and told E everything -- I went on and on and on. I talked about The Bathtub Incident, kicking her new guy out of the house, how she left the oven on all the time, how tired I was of getting up at night to turn things off, how she drove drunk, how absurdly she managed her money, how silly it was for her to obsess over her ex, how smoking cigarettes wasn't a good idea considering how much cancer ran in her family, how I was worried about her -- I went on and on and on, for about 30 minutes. I ended it with, "I am really worried about you and I think you need to think about going to rehab."

Know what her response was?

"OMG. You're right. I really need to stop taking Ambien. I will talk to my doctor and switch to something else."

When I started to tell her that wasn't really what I meant, she jumped in with,

"I am such a burden to you. It is so good that I'm moving out soon. I feel terrible. Don't worry. I will be gone soon. I am so sorry."

I guess some people just don't get it.

Stay tuned for Part II.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all. Be thankful you have a better head on your shoulders than my ex-roommate.


Fluffycat said...

Glad you got her to move out, sheesh, and recognize all her destructive behaviors. You don't need the extra money that badly if someone is doing damage like that.

cmk said...

Thank goodness I'm married and have never had a roommate! My hubby's irritating habits are a JOY compared to what this girl put you through. Good riddance, I say.

Have a wonderful holiday, my dear!

Phantom Hater said...

Holy Fucking Shit. This is a roommate story from hell. Did she at least pay her two-bills of rent on time? Sounds like a classic case of low self-esteem, but people who live outside their means make me sick. She needs to sell the fucking Rolex and pay off that debt. I feel sorry for whatever schmuck gets stuck with her. lmao. She sounds like one of a few girls I've been lucky enough to date.

I need some turkey, damnit.

Have a great Thanksgiving, VB!

Capricorn Cringe said...

I don't make a lot of money, but I'd have to be damn near homeless before I got a roommate.

What a crazy girl - and you're right. Some people just never get it. I can't wait for part II

Scotty said...

Oh. My. Goodness.

I dont know if I would have done anything different than you.

Glad she's out!

Len said...

Whew. What a story. I know why I asked for it. lol.

Didn't your friend she was living with before tell you about her antics?

PomJob said...

I think she was costing you more in wasted utilities than she was paying in rent! And I'm wondering about her thought process behind the $230 rent - I wish I had friends as generous as you to live with! I can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

RWA said...

Good grief.

Her drug-dealing boyfriend showered her with gifts ... so she showers herself with gifts now?

That's one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.

I can't wait for Part II.

Hope you and CN had a great Thanksgiving.

(M)ary said...

sounds like she might be bipolar and/or have borderline personality disorder. however, as my therapist would say, the more important question is why do you allow someone like this into your life?

teahouse said...

"Please don't stop the music, please don't stop the music..." LOL!!!

If I had seen her in the bathtub like that, I would have called 911 on her ass. No kidding.

kimmykins13 said...

Good Lord! - That's about all I can manage right now after reading this.

Becky said...

holy crap. wow.

GrewUpRural said...

I had my fair share of roommates in college, but nothing like this. Enjoy having your house to yourself.

Virginia Belle said...

fluffycat -- yes, thanks to her, i am now determined to NEVER have another roommate. even if i have to live off of bologna sandwiches.

cmk-- yes, good riddance is pretty much the best way to sum it up!

PH-- CN can't even be around her, because she reminds him of his ex so much! LOL yes, i also feel sorry for any guy that is dumb enough to marry her. she has no business getting married until she gets help.

capricorn -- i wish someone had advised me to do whatever it takes NEVER to have a roommate. it's just not worth it when you have to deal w/crap like this.

scotty -- ok, good to know i'm not the only one who would have handled this in the same way.

len -- nope! not a peep! aside from me calling her to compare how much we were charging for her rent. but that was it.

pomjob -- knowing what i know now, i should have charged her $1,000/month. that's the only amount of money that would make it worthwhile to me.

rwa -- yeah.i think i might have laughed out loud when she explained that to me. it is that crazy.

mary -- you get the prize!!! you called it!!! bi-polar it is!!! and for the record, i didn't know she was like this until she moved in. and i felt too guilty about kicking her out. so i just put up with it.

teahouse -- yes, looking back on it, i think that is exactly what i should have done. and of COURSE you would have called 911. you always have such great experiences with that. you have hot firemen, remember?

kimmy & becky -- yeah, now that it's written down, i can kind of see it as an outsider, and i can't believe i lived like that. it is absurd to deal with crap like that!!!

grew up rural -- i am, trust me!!!

(M)ary said...

vb: i think i recognized the bipolar because i live around the bipolar bermuda triangle in my family: mom and two sisters.