Roommates From Hell, vol. 1

Saturday, March 6, 2010

For the days I don't want to think about much to blog, I usually turn to the files in my head and share a memory or a story from my past.  I don't feel like being sappy sobby today, so I was trying to think of something fun and/or interesting.  And I realized, I've never told you guys any bad roommate stories!  Oh, this will be fun.  I have so many I could probably make a monthly feature of Roommates From Hell and still have more than a year's worth of anecdotes.

In college I had the outstanding pleasure of sharing a room all 4 years.  And I had 8 separate roommates - by which I mean I shared the room with.  By count of sharing an apartment, I've lived with 15 separate people.  I'm not saying all of them were terrible; not at all.  One of my roommates is still one of my best friends, and 3 other roommates are all close friends.  At least 7 of those housemates weren't absolutely horrid...

But those that were...

I'll start small, ease you into this.  This is probably the best of the worst.

To make a long, long story short, my first summer of college started poorly because the apartment I was supposed to take was no longer available to me, and I found out only a week before my summer session was to start--so, I had to rush to find an apartment in 2 days.  When I signed the lease, I knew it was a risk since I had no idea anything about the apartment.  Turns out I was Girl #6 living in this 3-bedroom place.  Luckily I loved the girl I shared a room with, but there was one girl who...

Her name was Elva, and she was a Japanese biology major.  I say this because she was the true stereotype: her family had recently come the US so she could attend college here, she was studying to be a doctor, a bit socially awkward (she asked me sex advice the day I moved in.  I'm not a prude, but...what a greeting) and she had limited english. She had basic communications down, and anything else she was pretty good at gesturing.  She was nice enough, if not a bit...strange.

Like when she saw me raging around the house because I was in a shit mood after an overnight shifter had fucked up my tables in the section I was launching at work.  She told me to drink some green tea, that it would help me relax.  I graciously told her that I didn't drink green tea, but thanks for the offer.  She insisted I drink some, even going so far as taking a cup out for me and starting to make it.  I stopped her, repeated that I didn't drink it because I don't like it, it actually makes me feel sick, so no thank you.  An hour later, I was in my room working on a piece for journalism, and my door opens (no knock, of course).  In comes Elva, a massive mug filled to the brim (she spilled some on my carpet).  She sets it down on my desk (on a stack of papers, of course) and says, "Green tea. Drink it." and leaves.

Or like when she broke our dishwasher because the bowl she wanted to use was currently in it, and she wouldn't eat without that bowl so she forced the door open when it was on the heat/dry portion and burned her hand.

Or like when she bought five tubs of green tea ice cream, then became convinced one of us had eaten some and continued for a week to interrogate all of us about our food and what we had eaten.  Even me, who still insisted I don't like green tea.  In the end, I saw Elva sneak some of another roommate's Rocky Road and say she was just "getting back what was taken" when she saw me see her.

Or like when she apologized profusely for using one of my forks even after I told her it was fine, my silverware was there for sharing, and she proceeded to bleach it.

Or like when she cornered me in the living room into talking to her for two hours about a boy she kind of liked and was wondering if she should offer to study with him or sleep with him and if I thought the biological breakdown of boy's hormones directly affected their supposed aversion to her.  She broke down the names of DNA strands for me.

Or like when my roommate Van's favourite hamster got loose and Elva decided the best way to deal with it was stomp on every piece of trash and paper that littered the floor.


Not too terrible (except maybe the hamster thing).  I mean, I understand there are personality ticks and lifestyle differences and things left over from how we grew up that don't always mesh with roommates' ways of living.  That's fine.

But then there was the big fiasco.

One weekend, I had friends coming up since we had free tickets to Knotts Berry Farm and figured we'd hang out at my place for a day, then go to the park the next day.  I put up a note a week in advance telling all my roommates that I was planning on having four girls come to the house and stay overnight from a Friday to a Saturday; and please let me know if this is a problem and we would make alternate arrangements.  I verbally told Van, the other roommate that I had seen in the house, and Elva.  No one said anything against this happening.

The night my friends were staying, we were gathered around a computer in the living room Facebook stalking on Facebook, looking at old friends and showing each other all our new college friends.  Elva walks through, gasps, and exclaims, "Are you on Facebook??  Are you looking at my profile??", no we're actually looking at my friend's old Beneficial Friend, who happens to be a blonde surfer white boy.

She walks away after we reassure her multiple times we're not looking at her profile.  As she's leaving the room, she says, "I just need to know if you're looking."

Naturally, I covertly checked her profile, but there was nothing terrible on it, so I had no idea what she was freaked out about.  This continued; every time she came back downstairs and saw us on the computer she'd ask again if we were looking at her profile.  She sounded alarmed every single time, but never said anything else.

Finally, we were watching a movie (She's the Man, a surprisingly good Amanda Bynes flick!) around midnight.  Two of us had fallen asleep already, the rest of the three were watching the movie and eating cupcakes.

Suddenly, I hear Elva's door upstairs slam open and her feet pound down the steps to the downstairs level.  "Can you guys SHUT UP?!" she yells, waking up both the friends that were sleeping.
"What?" I ask.
"You guys need to keep the noise down I can hear you and I am trying to study!"
"I'm sorry, Elva, we're not being loud!" I protest.
"Well I hear something and I cannot study and it is your fault if I do not do well!"
"We weren't doing anything, but I'll turn the movie down, maybe you were hearing that.  I'm sorry."
"Don't let it happen again," she says as she turns and stomps up the stairs.

I was completely weirded out, since I'd never heard Elva yell, and we honestly hadn't been that loud.  Whatever the reason, I turned the volume down on the movie and we resumed.

Not even five minutes later, I hear Elva throw open her door and she stomps down the steps again.  "I can still hear you guys!"
"Elva, we're not doing anything, whatever you're hearing is not us," I said.
"It has to be you, you guys are so loud and I cannot study and I am going to fail my test!"
"You have a test??  You didn't tell me you had a test!"
"It is in three weeks and if I fail it is your fault!"

*collective silence in the room*

"Elva...we're not making noise, I promise."

Without a word, she turned and went back upstairs, slamming her door.  Start movie again.

Not even five minutes later, door slams open, feet pounding on steps.

(yeah, I think we're thinking the same thing here: of all the words she knows in English, why is 'sabotage' one of them?)

"Elva, we're not doing anything," I say firmly.  "I'm sorry there is something distracting you, but it's not us."


With that, she turned and ran upstairs.

The rest of the night was without incident, but I was still thoroughly confused about everything.  For the rest of the summer, Elva came home and told me exactly what she would be studying for and when her tests were.  Every time I'd sit in the living room, she'd come to the top of the steps and say, "I am studying please be quiet," no matter what I was doing.

And she made me green tea one more time.


Stephany March 6, 2010 at 4:23 PM  

Oh, I'm excited to hear more roommate stories. I've only had one and she was pretty awful, but sometimes I think it was just me being weird since I hadn't ever lived away from home or with a roommate. Maybe I'll write a blog on it one day and see what people think, ha.

But she sounds like a psycho! Wow, I'm a little scared to think of what your worst roommate was like!

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