Thursday, August 31, 2006

Enough already

I've had it.

In the days before the Hive was running, I was living a few towns over, submitting to the indignities of boarding house life in order to pay down old debts. The landlord was entirely disinterested in his obligations to the tenants. This became a huge problem once Crazy Guy came to stay.

When I first mentioned Crazy Guy to my friends, they laughed, taking some of my stories for comic exagerration. He could consume prodigious amounts of food and drink, and under their influence became moody and irrational. He was also 350 pounds, which made crossing him a hazardous proposition. So when he ate our food as well as his own, I broke out the old dorm cube (still good!) and set up there, and converted a bookshelf or two into a mini-pantry.

Things got worse, however, and reached the point where I finally had to call the cops on him. (The upstairs guys just loved coming home to see the bubbletops in our driveway.) So began a bizarre saga of drunken and erratic behavior, punctuated by sudden bouts of remorse from Crazy Guy - which were, if anything, worse. He would get overhelpful. For example, since he'd eaten all our stuff, he'd make up for it by cooking us all of his - all at once. "Here, guys, I made fourteen entrees for you, come on and help yourself!" This was after we'd all eaten at the diner after work because we didn't have any food at home. (My friends were no longer laughing at this point.)

The big blowout was a near-assault on one of the upstairs guys, followed by my coming home after a late hockey game to discover my room broken into and tons of stuff emptied out, seemingly with no further plan than to sort it out later. CD's, computer supplies (but not the computer, thankfully), even my clothes, as if C.G. had a prayer of fitting into any of my shirts). Worst, he took three blank checks, requiring me to switch banks.

Though I got most of the stuff back, it was the last straw. I left. Understand that I was and still remain a normal, working-class bug. I like meals with friends, sports (and especially the Lord's Own hockey), a good movie, and long loud conversations - but I'm more at home with a book, or a blog, or a chess game. I write, and to do that well, I prefer a certain lack of distractions. When I go on vacation I don't go to see five attractions, three shows, and a guided tour. In psych terms I'm an introvert, recharging my mental batteries in private as compared to an extrovert, who feeds off crowds and fun and the-more-the-merrier. I do well enough at that, but it empties me out.

So, for my next situation I took time to find a spot that would afford me some quiet, and the landlord at my current place assured me that this was the case; he lived on the first floor himself so none of that went on here. But now, I rather long for the days when I never clapped eyes on the landlord.

This, apparently, is what two years of "none of that" looks like:

> my food's been eaten, once by another tenant (again) and once by a guest of the landlord;
> the LL has kicked out three other tenants, twice in scenes that can only be called disgraceful;
> he's currently in the process of quarelling with a fourth tenant;
> the police have made three visits to the building;
> I've been nickel-and-dimed over household chores, storage space, and every last erg and drop of water I consume.

Case in point - even though we pay utilities separately, he won't run the heat all the time because he doesn't like to pay even his share of it, so it's two-hour cycles maximum. And, since I can't do that during the night, the heat stays off. Folks, my room regularly dipped below 50 degrees by morning in winter, until I got a space heater. Guess what - he surcharges for its use. (Because it's only heating my room and not everyone else's, it's unfair to split the cost of the power to run it. We have to clock the time such devices are in operation.) This is, shall we say, not exactly the soothing home environment I hoped for.

Last night was IT. The landlord has a point about some of the things this fourth guy does, though I've personally never argued with the guy - but it's a little extreme to try to have him forcibly committed to a psych ward at 1:30 am. The police came, questions were asked; I couldn't say much, because I try not to be home, even after work is over. (Why should I hang out there more than absolutely necessary?) Neither do I appreciate, after they have left, being called on my phone by the LL (who is two rooms away) to be scolded for "not backing me up," even though I answered all the questions truthfully. Nor do I really like to wake up to an argument outside my door between the two, in which the LL uses phrases such as:

You're evil
You're a dirty pig
You're not even human
Everything you say is a lie

...spiced with enough f-bombs to embarrass Quentin Tarantino.

This wangs chung, kids. I'd rather live in the Discount Chariot.

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