Just Lynn

One woman. One name. One hell of an attitude!

trouble in da’ house

Written By: witchypo - Apr• 18•15

I’m so upset!

You see, for the past 6 years, I’ve been working low-end customer service jobs and taking in roommates to help keep the bills and mortgage paid, which has often led to more trouble and stress than its worth.

Last month, for example, a guy named Joe applied for the room, claiming he was working on a major construction project in the area and would be busy or away a good deal of the time, and that he was quiet, respectful, and willing to follow house rules. During our initial meetings, I explained the situation, rules, expectations, and offerings, and advised him of some of the troubles I’ve had, asking that he not cause more of the same.

Even as he moved his things in, though, I began finding holes in his stories, and feeling uncomfortable around him. He also, quickly, revealed that he was unemployed, started laying around the house watching television all hours of the day, and claiming that while he could work any time he wanted to, he was simply taking some down-time before starting the next venture.

When rent was due, he was short, although he did pay the balance by the next day. When he did, though, he admitted he’d been taking some of my food, and had put an extra $10 in to cover the cost.

Upset, I explained to him that if people ask for things, I’ll usually give, but that taking things without asking wasn’t ‘cool’. He didn’t apologize, but said that he often fails to consider how others will take things, and I thought he understood.

Unfortunately, he didn’t, and continued to pilfer from me, but by then it’d become clear that he had nothing, and I turned a blind eye to it out of pity. After all, I couldn’t allow someone to starve under my roof!

The next problem arose when I explained that his constant use of the shared internet connection was potentially going to cause ‘overages’, and he stated that he wasn’t willing to pay them, while refusing to reduce his usage. Of course, I explained how the shared internet worked, and the unfairness of expecting others to pay for his portion, but he didn’t want to hear it, and suddenly claimed I’d misrepresented the situation. Then, apparently unwilling to be ‘taken advantage of’, he gave notice, and began demanding I prorate and return all the money I ‘owed’ him.

For days, he pestered me at work and home with demands, and each time I tried explaining or talking to him, he refused to listen and tried telling me how I ‘owed’ him. Naturally, I was upset and wanted him out, but I’d also begun to suspect that he wasn’t ‘well’ mentally or emotionally, and I became frightened of the damage he might do me or my home.

So, because I couldn’t throw another human being out into the street without giving him a fair shot, I agreed to return his money if he simply got out quickly and didn’t cause me any more trouble. Joe didn’t ‘get it’, though, and continued to cause me grief.

On his last night in the house, though, when I discovered that he was intending to move out without cleaning up behind himself, I decided I couldn’t stay quiet any more, and explained that I wasn’t about to be left to do the work myself. Rather than understanding and doing the work, though, he actually argued that no one cleans when they move, and that landlords expect this and build it into their budgets.

Once again, I tried explaining the situation, advising him that I did so because it was clear he was going to have trouble like this in the future, and that his listening might help avoid it. Unfortunately, he wasn’t willing to listen, and became agitated enough that I worried for my safety.

So, I called friends, asking that they come help me deal with Joe, and he warned me that if they came, he might become violent. Then, despite not wanting to have to, I called the police for help.

Amazingly, despite the police officers having advised Joe that I was completely within my rights to keep every penny he’d given me and that he really did have to leave, he argued with them and continued to claim he was being taken advantage of. Despite all this, I still gave him his last month’s rent back, hoping that would give him a fighting chance at finding a new home, and his last words to me were to ask if he ‘needed to count it(?)’

Naturally, I was upset, but not nearly so much as I was later, when everyone was gone and I was finally able to look at his room and such. (I never go into roommate’s rooms unless invited.) Then, I discovered that Joe had not only broken my rule against smoking in the house, but had obviously fallen asleep while doing so and burned a whole in the mattress.

‘He could have killed us both!’ I thought, and suddenly regretted having returned his money.

How could he stand in my house and argue the ‘principal of the thing’, when he’d done what he’d done(?!), I thought, and tears welled in my eyes as it sank in that… once again… I’d been taken advantage of.

Now, the only thing I can hope is that the ‘karma’ he claimed would come back to me will, and that my generosity in the face of such mistreatment will lead to my getting a better roommate quickly.

In the meantime, I suppose, that the best I can say of the situation is that its acted as a reminder that I should follow my ‘gut’ when it comes to potential roommates, and that it might make it a little easier to keep what’s owed me in the future instead of letting generosity hurt me in the end.

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