Continuing from last week’s theme, I find myself realizing that the second place I was going to relate to you has never made it into a book. Probably because it’s not really that unique. Anyone who’s had roommates will likely say, oh, that’s nothing! So I probably should skip it altogether, but I tell you what—instead, I’ll use it as an invitation to have you tell me your favorite living quarters horror story.
Actually, the Place That Hasn’t Made It Into A Book might do so at some point because it was weird in a fairly normal way…which can be deceptively insidious. I rented a room (inside the house this time) from a family—a husband, wife, and two high-school-aged daughters. The room was cute, the rent was cheap, and the family seemed nice.
It didn’t take long, however, for me to realize that the girls resented me being there—one of them eventually confessed that this was true but assured me that it wasn’t me—they just didn’t like strangers in their home and were mad at their mother for bringing in a renter.
So yeah. Awkward.
And even though I had been told that I could have full use of the kitchen, it also became clear that the mom was very proprietary about her kitchen. Any time I used it I was chastised for not cleaning up adequately. I was tidy, don’t get me wrong. I just hadn’t grown up in a household where you dried the sink after you cleaned your dishes, or folded the dishtowel before hanging it inside the drying ring. It was always something, to the point where I rarely used the kitchen. One evening, however, after daring to make some popcorn, the mom called me down from my room. “Wendelin, I need to see you immediately.” So down the stairs I ran and what was so urgent? A single kernel of corn. It was under the toaster oven and I have no idea how it got there, but she did the “big reveal” and what could I say? I apologized, cleaned it up, and that was the last time I used the kitchen.
Which was the intended goal, I’m sure.
What really put this place over the top was that one afternoon I was home studying (I was in graduate school at the time) and coming from the room beneath me I could hear a loud thumping. And then screaming! And then loud, obscene swearing and more cries and thumping!
So I tore downstairs and I flung open the door to the room, sure that someone was in the middle of getting murdered, only what I found was the mom and a man I’d never seen before wielding big foam bats.
“May I help you?” the mom asks as I’m standing there with my jaw dropped.
“I thought someone was getting murdered!”
“Oh, no. I’m conducting an aggression therapy session. Now, if you don’t mind….?”
I lasted there four months, and yeah, she kept my cleaning deposit.
Next week’s place will be a little more extreme…and it definitely wound up in a book. And the week following will be downright creepy (and probably much too long) and you Sammy fans will definitely recognize what book it wound up in.
Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to hearing living quarter horrors from you!