Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mirror in the Bathroom

Me in my new home.

While I realize the importance of having a "core self," the actions and attitudes of others can't help but intrude on that self (unless you're a completely insensitive asshole/sociopath who never feels vibes from others). I have figuratively been in hell for the past 7 months since I arrived in New York City. Not because of the city---every time I'd step onto the streets, I'd feel excited and hopeful and grateful and GREAT. It was always coming home that was the problem.

Typical conversation with my first roommate (found long-distance via Craig's List):

FRAN (knocking on my room door): I made dinner. Do you want to eat?
ME: Oh, no thanks. I just ate an hour ago while I was out.
FRAN: (standing there)
ME: (smiling politely, repeating) I already ate. But thanks.
FRAN: (pushing past me into my room, lying down on my bed) What's your problem? You've got a real problem.
ME: You asked if I wanted something to eat, I said I already ate. What do you mean, "What's my problem?"
FRAN: You've got a real problem. I don't know what you're trying to do to me, but there's something going on.
ME: Really, I'm not trying to do anything to you. Um, I'm working on my Joan site right now and need to get some stuff done. Can you get off my bed?
FRAN: No, I won't leave. This is my apartment. This is my bed. You just won't admit it.
ME: Admit what?
FRAN: You're so repressed. You're so German.
ME: (big sigh) What do you WANT, Fran? I said I wasn't hungry. And I'm busy. Say what you have to say and please get out of my room!
FRAN: You're in love with Joan Crawford.
ME: Yeah. And...
FRAN: You think that's normal?
ME: Who gives a fuck? It's none of your goddamn business what I do in my room or who I'm in love with.
FRAN: You'll see. You'll come around.
ME: Meaning what? That I'll fall madly in love with YOU?
FRAN: You just want people who don't want you. Like Julie. [I'd earlier mentioned Julie to Fran in passing. Fran quickly became obsessed with this "rival."]
ME: Internet Julie? What?
FRAN: You want Julie. Just admit it.
ME: Julie was interesting. You're not. Get out of my room.
FRAN: I won't get out of your room. It's my apartment and my room. You love Joan Crawford. You love Julie...

And it would escalate from there. I had a variation of the above conversation at least 10 times during my 5-month stay in Fran's apartment. If you haven't lived through such a thing, you have no idea how psychotic and horrible it is.

I was about to go on to my second awful roommate, but the above account drained me so much that I'm tuckered out with the whole issue. In short, my second roommate didn't want me in the living room when she got home. (Though I was paying the majority of her monthly mortgage.) She wanted me to scuttle off to my tiny room once she got home, and she also didn't like that I bitched whenever she brought loud, drunken friends over at 1 in the morning. A drunken friend of hers also called me on my cell 5 times one night, threatening me to get out of the apartment, or she'd have her "state trooper boyfriend" plus the police AND fire dept. escort me out... That kind of thing is ridiculous to hear, but it does wear on you when you keep getting those calls...

Suffice to say, the man that I moved in with this past week has been a dream. I absolutely love the apartment, I love how considerate he is as a person. (For example, one morning he was doing the dishes and the clattering woke me up. I didn't say anything, but the next day he asked, "Was I too loud this morning?" I admitted that, yes, he had woken me up, but no big deal... His response was, "I'm really sorry. I didn't know you could hear that...") And, this weekend, he was going to the Poconos with friends and invited me along... I didn't go, because I wanted to get settled in to this new place, but how nice of him to invite me!


Anonymous said...

Well done, Steffie. I am so glad you managed to escape those hellholes. You really deserved a break now. And I like your new pictures. :)

Beth Austin said...

Yeah, thanks, but... Julie, you've really been part of my past problem, just as much as these past two awful roommates. People treating me like shit and subjecting me to their shit for no reason. When you're surrounded by awful vibes like that for an extended period, you start to think that you yourself are crazy. And then when an actually kind person comes into your life, you're able to finally step out from all the shit and then wonder why the hell you put up with it for so long, when it was absolutely stifling and ugly and soul-killing.

It's like I've been under very murky water for the past few years and I'm just now coming up for air. You can't imagine what it's like for me to hear, "Let's watch some of your Joan movies! Oh, but first we have to make a vodka run"; "Let's go to the Poconos!"; "I can't wait for you to meet my friends!"; "What do you think we should do with the house?"

Jesus. Such simple, kind things from a truly decent person, rather than the utter barrage of ill will and downright psychosis I've been subjected to lately.