The following story is based on actual events which occurred a number of years ago…
When I moved from North Carolina back to Virginia, I found myself in a new living situation. It was a situation I hadn’t found myself in since about a year after college. I didn’t want to complain about this new living situation and I certainly didn’t want to bad mouth my new roommates. But, the situation started to become a serious issue in my life and the new roommates were becoming something of a thorn in my side. And this was only after a few weeks of living there.
At the time, I didn’t want to complain about these things because of the off chance that the roommates could come across the blog I was keeping back then. After all, I advertised my latest blog post on several forms of social media, just like I do with this blog. It wouldn’t have been too hard for the roommates to find the disparaging remarks that I may have made about them. But I eventually got to the point that I was already ready to move out, so I didn’t care anymore.
Before I get to those complaints, it might be a good idea to let you, the reader, get a good understanding of who these roommates were. First, there’s the guy who had been there the longest. He was the one who placed the ad on Craigslist that I responded to in the first place. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. When I met Roommate #1, my impression was that this guy was 50% Woody Allen, 50% Jeff Goldblum. If that doesn’t paint enough of a picture for you, then you need to get a better understanding of who Woody and Jeff are.I briefly met Roommate #2 during that initial meeting. He was an assistant manager at a local restaurant and seemed like a pretty decent guy, if a little out of it from sleeping ’til noon. In fact, they both seemed like decent enough guys. Woody Goldblum seemed a bit more socially awkward than the norm, but I figured it would be a livable situation. And who was I to judge anyone on their social awkwardness?
I got the impression that these guys mostly kept to themselves. After all, the living/dining room area was sparsely furnished and not at all decorated. And that was find with me. I had been living alone for the previous four years, so keeping to myself would be an ideal situation. Or so I thought.
A couple weeks after meeting Woody, I finally moved into my new place. Really, my new place consisted of a bedroom and possibly some shelf space in the fridge and kitchen cabinets. That’s about it. It wasn’t easy for me to pare my belongings from an entire apartment to one room. But I managed to do it for the most part. From the beginning of this thing, it just didn’t seem to be working out right for me.
I started out having problems with connecting to the internet. Woody had WiFi set up, so it shouldn’t have been a problem. But in the first two weeks, I had no connection. That should have been an omen of things to come. Problems continued to reveal themselves when I went to the cable company with Woody to pick up a DVR for my bedroom. I wanted one of my own, just so I wouldn’t have to rely upon the roommates and the community cable box in the living room in order to watch what I wanted to watch. Again, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
In the weeks following the pickup of the DVR, I had two of the boxes that did not work properly. I was on the phone and in online chat with tech support more times than I could count. I even had a technician come to the apartment to try and fix things. Still, problems persisted. I decided that I was just going to return the DVR to the cable company. Why should I pay extra money as part of my monthly rent for a device that obviously didn’t work?
And then there were renewed issues with the internet. A friend of mind had come through with figuring out the problem the first time around, and things ran smoothly for a while. I was able to surf the web without interruption. I was able to watch the instant streaming movies from Netflix through the trusty Playstation. And then Woody decided it would be a good idea to simplify things.
For some reason, a past roommate had set up a second wireless router. Apparently, that second router had been an outstanding idea. Because while I was receiving a signal from that second router, my signal was strong and pretty much flawless. When the cable technician came to the apartment to “fix” my DVR, Woody had him “fix” the internet as well. So after that, there was only one wireless router in the apartment. And then I got the weakest of signals that broke up every few minutes.
I was still able to get on the internet through my laptop, but everything ran a lot slower. I attempted to watch a movie through the Netflix, but every minute or so, it would stop and need to retrieve the information all over again. Downloading any updates was problematic at best. And I wish my problems in this apartment had ended with the technology issues.
I had to be pretty frugal when it came to spending money after moving back to Virginia. Moving was an expensive undertaking and my new salary from my new position hadn’t quite kicked in at that point. So the few groceries I actually bought were precious and, to me, worth their weight in gold. When all I could afford was a loaf of bread and a package of turkey to get me through a week’s worth of lunches, I wanted those things to last.
On several occasions, I noticed bread missing from the loaf that I kept on my designated shelf in the kitchen cabinet. I noticed a brand new package of turkey sitting open when I knew I wasn’t the one who opened it.
If I was making money hand over fist, I wouldn’t have had a problem sharing my food with the roommates. But up until that point, I had not taken any of their food. I had not asked for any of their food. Why should my food have been communal property?Finally, we get to a texting incident from a fateful Saturday night. I was enjoying an evening in Bluefield with some friends when I got a message from Woody. He asked if I was home around 9:00 a.m. the day before.
“No. I was at work. Why?” was my reply.
“Did you leave your TV on?” Woody asked.
“No. What’s going on?” I asked in return.
“Well, Roommate #2 says it wasn’t his, but a TV was on pretty loud and woke me up Friday morning. No big deal.”
Apparently it was a big deal, otherwise I wouldn’t have been hearing about it more than 24 hours later. Now, I was secure in the knowledge that my TV was off when I left for work on Friday. When I stopped by the apartment Friday night before heading to Bluefield, the TV was still off. I was sure that Woody would have let me know if he had gone in there and turned it off for me. With that, I thought the issue was done. Then another text came through.
“It’s no problem. Everyone is entitled to their secrets.”What the crap did that mean? I shared the text conversation with my friends and we all laughed but, at the same time, we were all a little afraid for my well being. It wasn’t that we thought I was in any kind of danger being there with these Craigslist roommates. It was more a question of my long term sanity.
So then I went back to looking for a new place to live. Again. Not that I could afford to make any kind of move so soon after moving into that place. But I definitely kept my eyes open.