- Jun 2003
- Dec 2003 Archive
My mother and father have lived in the same house for 30+
years. Their next door neighbor has probably lived there for the last 60 years.
This neighbor we will call Ms. Smith. Ms. Smith looks innocent enough, but
that's how she fools you. There are many tales that involve Ms. Smith, including
her spending all afternoon raking leaves (that fell from our tree) only to rake
them back into our yard. She has called the neighborhood police whenever another
neighbor left a garbage can out front for more then a day. She has also called
the (real) police on my 9 year old little sister for throwing gummie bears in
our side yard that backs up to her house.
The story that sticks out most in my mind is as follows. When
I was growing up we had two pets. One was a black lab and the other a cat. They
were both inside pets, but on the rare occasion, they escaped. Ms. Smith HATED
our pets for some reason unknown to me. She did everything she could to get
animal control to take them away. When the plan of getting animal control to
take our pets way didn't work, I suspect that she took matters into her own
hands. Our lab got so sick, that we were forced to put him to sleep. The vet
said that it was kidney failure. Not even two whole weeks later, I remember
coming home from school to find our cat was curled up on the couch, dead. The
vet also said that she had passed from kidney failure. I have no hard core proof
that Ms. Smith poisoned our animals, but it is hard to think any differently,
when they both died so close to each other and from the same thing.
If killing our pets wasn't enough, in the weeks to follow Ms.
Smith began to throw things over the privacy fence in the back yard. At first it
was dog poo. We had come home to find dog droppings floating in our pool. The
only way the could have gotten there is if they had been thrown from her yard.
The worst happened when I was sitting in the back yard with my baby sitter, as I
was only in 4th grade. We saw a shovel come over the fence and something was
dropped. When we went to investigate we saw that it was a dead bird. Not only
was the bird dead, but it looked as though it had been cut up into pieces.
Well, that was the last straw for my father. He called the
police on her for a change. Ms. Smith claimed that the dog droppings were from
our dog and the dead bird our cat had killed. That's hard to believe that our
pets had passed away nearly a month beforehand. The Police told my dad that she
was crazy and to keep the children and any other animals far far far away from
I was accepted into the Disney College Program Fall Advantage
Program in 2006. What that meant was, I joined a program that would take
college students from all around the country, put them up in special housing,
and give them jobs at Disney World. I would be living there from the last
week of May to the first week of January. Truly, it would be the best time
of my life. I was even assigned to work my favorite job at my favorite
The housing for the program is pretty standard. Two
gated communities, one to four bedrooms per apartment, two people per bedroom.
Randomly assigned in the order you get there. I snagged the last
two-bedroom apartment, which is good because I'm not great with other people and
have never lived with roommates before.
My roommates were really good people, generally. The
first one, En, was the best. Sweet, caring, but she really was serious
about the state of the apartment. The second one, Eye, shared my bedroom.
She had a personality that really clashed with mine. I think she really
was unhappy with the program itself. The third one, Jay, did a lot of
things I didn't know about (having her boyfriend over, making enough noise to
wake the dead- I didn't go in her room or pay attention, so I didn't really
There was a lot of tension in the room in the beginning.
Jay was getting on everyone's nerves, Eye was pissed off at everything, and I
had no idea how En felt about me. Being socially disabled, I really
couldn't pick up on any of her cues.
The other thing is, there was a built-in computer desk in the
hallway. I mean, there's the front door and a narrow strip of a foyer that
spills into the living room. On the left is the kitchen counter. On
the right is a little desk built right into the wall. Not the best place
for a computer, but I didn't have my own desk and this seemed better than
putting it on the floor. En and Jay had their own desks and Eye didn't
have a computer, so this worked out just fine.
Except, apparently, if I left the chair scooted out when I got
up, it got blocked half the hallway. I didn't realize I was doing this,
and I didn't realize it was a problem. Sometimes, it's just not that
obvious, you know?
One morning I got up early to go to Epcot, and when I opened
the door the desk chair was right smack dab in the doorway to my room. No
one else was home, and right then I had no idea what was going on. I moved
the chair out of the way to get out and then put it back (I thought it was a
table chair and, since I had no idea why it was there, I had no reason to
believe it shouldn't.)
I got home late that evening and Eye was getting ready for a
date. She was talking about it, talking about outfits, you know, the kind
of banter girls do with each other. Then, before she left, right in the
doorway, she said, "I bet you're wondering why the chair was in the doorway
"Uh, yeah," I said. I hadn't given it a second
thought all day.
"It's because you always leave the chair in the middle of
the path for me to trip over and kill myself so I though it'd be funny if you
tripped over it this morning," she said cheerfully. Then she left.
Like I said, I didn't realize I was doing this. I
started pushing it in all the way after that, but even that wasn't enough- I
think the chair was just in the way in general. But there was really no
place where it wouldn't be in the way, if you're that particular. This
pathway is two people wide, and the chair is just a standard size dining chair.
On the plus side, it did make me more aware of other people's
space. At the time it was always, "Am I doing something now that will
bother them?" Now I also remember to ask myself, "Have I left
this so it won't bother anyone in the future?"
On the plus side, the Disney College Program is there for
learning, and boy did I learn a lot there...
When my husband (then fiancé) and I first met, he was in the
military, and living in military housing. Rather than barracks, he was lucky
enough to get put in a three bedroom house with two other single guys. This
meant that they got to have a kitchen and laundry facilities of their own, plus
the bathroom was for only three people to share, rather than 10 or more to a
bathroom, like it is in the barracks.
My fiancé and I were engaged at the time, so I would often
spend time over at his place. I never stayed overnight, and I was very careful
not to overstep the boundaries. If I cooked food, I'd make sure we made enough
for his roommates and let them know that they were welcome to share in it. I
also made sure that I always did my dishes and cleaned up after myself, never
hogged the TV or the phone, etc, as a good guest does.
One of my fiancé's roommates was just fine with me. We didn't
hang out, or anything, but we were on fairly friendly terms and might chat
whenever our paths crossed. But his other roommate was a bit weird. For
instance, once I had a coffee, then rinsed out my mug and left it in the sink. I
was planning to wash it later, after my fiancé and I had eaten lunch. It just
made more sense to do all of the dishes at once. He freaked out to my fiancé
later that I was a slob (because of one mug!) and that now the kitchen would
have to be sanitized because of the germs. You'd think I'd dumped garbage all
over the place, they way he acted. I sucked it up, and made sure that I washed
EVERYTHING is used from then on, even if it was just a teaspoon to stir my
coffee. I think the guy was a little paranoid about germs; made he had a OCD or
something, I don't know. The funny thing was, once he went away on leave for
three weeks and left behind two cantaloupes in his cupboard---of course they
molded, so badly that the mold grew over half of the inside of his cupboard. It
looked like a big, fuzzy butt sitting in the cupboard :) My fiancé just left it
alone for the roommate to clean up. Roommate didn't complain so much about my fiancé's
germs supposedly taking over the place so much after that!
He even got mad that I left the toilet seat down after using
the bathroom! Like I was supposed to put it back up because it's a
"guy" house? It wasn't like I left the bathroom dirty. In fact, half
the time, I'd be the only one to clean it. He'd get mad if my fiancé left so
much as a pen out in the living room, but he'd tack up his racy porn posters all
over the place, despite my fiancé's requests that he take them down. Finally,
my fiancé had to threaten him with an army charge of sexual harassment to get
him to take the posters down.
As a final note (this is funny, not a breach of etiquette),
one day he sat my fiancé down and gave him this big talk about how, after fiancé
and I married, that I would have to respect that he lives there too, and I can't
be taking over the place, etc etc. My fiancé was totally confused. Finally, he
figured out that he thought that I was going to move in with the three of them
after fiancé and I got married! Yeah, right! Why would we have done that when I
had my own apartment with no roommates? The only reason my fiancé was still
living in army housing with such an annoying roommate was because our religion
forbids cohabitation before marriage.
Actually, I felt kind of sorry for the guy. He was so anal
that he didn't have any friends. He literally spent all of his leave time with
his mother. And he was over 40 years old. I don't think he'd ever had a
girlfriend, or a long-term friendship. I guess that would explain why he had so
many quirks, but boy, was my fiancé ever happy to get away from him.
I attend a Louisiana college about 45 minutes away from
where I was raised and I've discovered that you meet a lot of people when
living in dorms and on college-- sometimes very rude people! I've
been horrified time and time again by the actions of some of my fellow students.
While most of the people on this campus are very nice, a few of them are lacking
Spring 2006: I had
a lovely, quiet, polite roommate, Angela. However, my suitemates (Mandy
and Daisy) were another story. The rooms are set up so that there's two
rooms, with a bathroom connecting them. That means that you have to share
the bathroom with at least one other person, and you can't take too much time in
there. Daisy would have her boyfriend (Sam) sleep over on the weekends
(against dorm rules). They would have sex in the shower, making the other
three of us wait when we needed to use the toilet or shower.
Daisy, Mandy, and Sam would often get drunk on the weekends
(Sam was the only one who could legally drink and was the one who bought the
alcohol; Daisy and Mandy were roughly 18-19) and they would talk loudly and act
ridiculous until they passed out, after a night of drinking on Bourbon Street.
Mandy often forgot to take her medication to control her
manic-depression, which led to many evenings spent talking Mandy out of suicide
(not to mention the countless times Angela, Daisy, and I had to convince her not
to do drugs with her friend Hailey). Mandy also did not like to knock on
the bathroom door, despite the fact that she was sharing it with three other
women. Once, I was undressing to take a shower, and she barged in. I
covered up and told her that she should knock. Mandy replied, "I
shouldn't have to knock; this is my bathroom."
On top of all of this, a group of students liked to run
through the halls after quiet hours, yelling and laughing and even running into
walls. The RA did nothing about any of these problems.
Also, I was in a club with a young man named Aaron. He
was devoutly Catholic, yet on more than one occasion, he commented on the size
of my breasts. Another club member, Tyler, was always saying that I was
going to Hell for being Wiccan and bragged about being saved, yet every weekend,
he would go to clubs, drink himself into a stupor, and try to have sex with
anything female. When I pointed this out, he replied, "Yes, but I'm
saved. I'm guaranteed a place in Heaven!"
Fall 2006: I requested and received a
single room (as in, no roommate). I still had to share a bathroom with
suitemates, however. My suitemate, Amy, was one of the loudest people I've
ever known. If she was talking, I could hear her, even if we weren't in
the same room. Every day, she would loudly talk on her phone, at all hours
of the day and night. Sometimes, she would talk on the phone in the
bathroom early in the morning (on one occasion, she woke me up at 4 AM on a
weekend). She would also have friends over late at night, and they would
talk loudly. As a result, I had trouble falling asleep (bad when you have
early morning classes).
The boys in the room directly next door to me would
often play their music quite loudly late at night. I
complained to the RA about both problems. The boys quieted down
eventually, but Amy did not get quieter, despite my repeated complaints (several
times a week). The RA, Ray, took advantage of being
given a single room. His girlfriend, Jane, who was another dorm resident,
moved into his room (against dorm rules; we aren't even allowed to have
opposite-sex roommates). At least they were quiet. Ray was a very
ineffective RA who did not even keep the rules himself, much less enforce
At a campus event, Aaron (who by this time had a girlfriend)
came over to me and randomly asked if I was still a virgin. I was so
shocked, I stood there with my jaw nearly touching the ground!
Aaron and his girlfriend also took it upon themselves to use the campus game
room as their makeout room one day. They were all over each other, and
everyone was giving them icy glares. They ignored the glares and spent
roughly an hour groping each other. Tacky.
About a month before we got married, my husband
("J") found us an apartment and started moving things in over
that month. One day he was there on his lunch break, putting together our new
table, and our next door neighbor knocked on the door. He answered and she asked
to borrow his cell phone. She told him it was an emergency, she had to get a
hold of her son right away. My husband gave her the phone and she proceeded to
use it for the next half hour, sitting on the stairs that were between our
two front doors. J went out to ask for the phone back and found her
laughing and chatting on the phone. A little irritated, he politely asked for
his phone back because he needed to go back to work. She waved him off, giving
him a scowl! J went back into the apartment to gather his things (and calm
down!). He came back out and told her, "Ma'am, I'm sorry to interrupt, but
I need my phone now." She huffed to the person on the other end that she
needed to go, handed my husband back his phone with another scowl, and
went back into her apartment. Not even a thank you!
We didn't hear anything else from her for the rest of that
month we were moving things in. However, we had not been back from our honeymoon
for five minutes when she knocked on the door. She must have been watching for
someone, because we literally had to put our luggage down to answer the door.
There she was, asking to borrow a phone again. J told her that we had just
gotten home from our honeymoon, and everything was still packed, including our
phones. She seemed a little put out, but left. We left almost immediately after
to go to a family gathering. While there, we learned that she had asked my
grandmother for her phone when my family was moving our wedding presents into
our apartment while we were gone. She gave the same story, that she had an
emergency and needed to get a hold of her son. She used my grandmother's cell
phone the entire time they were there (about an hour).
After this we started finding excuses not to lend her our
phone when she came over (and this was the ONLY reason she ever came over).
Until about the third visit. J finally just told her, "I'm sorry, but
we won't be lending our phones out anymore." She made a face like she
couldn't understand what he had just said. She mumbled, "Oh, okay."
And walked back to her apartment...and slammed the door. The very next night, we
were sitting down to dinner and she knocked on the door. My husband went to the
door, looked through the peep hole...and sat back down to dinner without a word.
After that night, she began slamming her door every time she
came and went, and ignoring us when she would see us outside. A couple of times,
she would be outside when we came home. She would shoot us a dirty look, and run
into her apartment and slam the door. Finally, she had slammed the door so much
the casing started to fall down.
One night, we woke up in the middle of the night to hear
screaming and thumping coming from her apartment. It sounded like she was
throwing things against the walls. J went to the management office the next
day to let the manager know about what we had heard. The manager asked J if he
would be willing to make a formal written complaint. He did, but it seems it
didn't matter. She disappeared after that. About two weeks later, early on a
Saturday morning I heard some noise coming from her apartment. I looked out the
peep hole to see a stream of men and teenage boys going in and out of the
apartment moving things out. That was the end of that neighbor! We sometimes
wonder what happened to "Crazy Phone Lady!"
For many years, while I was in grade school, I lived next door
to a creepy couple with two equally creepy children. The father was always
undressing people with his eyes and the mother looked a lot like that teacher
who had an affair with her 12-year-old student. The son looked and acted like
Dennis the Menace and the daughter was the kind of child that smelled like baby
wipes even though she was at least 6 and had too much saliva for her mouth to
contain. You know what I'm talking about?
Anyway, I did what I could to avoid these people. But the
mother, who I shall call Mary Kate, called me one day when I was about 20 years
old and asked me if I could watch her children for 2 hours a day, a couple
of days a week, and she'd pay me $20 an hour. HOW EASY, I thought, and agreed.
For the record, these people have 2 horses, 3 Great Danes and
1 terrier, 3 cats, several guinea pigs and hamsters and a tank of fish.
The baby-sitting job lasted one day. I
arrived at the house at 3 pm and was met with the most disgusting and foul mess
that I've ever seen in a house. There was about four inches of animal
hair (dog and cat combined) lining the corners of the room. Dust was thick on
the shelves and on the rugs. There were wrappers, dirty plates, cups, etc all
over the rooms. It smelled so rank I thought I was developing asthma simply by
being inside the house. It was so filthy I didn't even want to sit on a chair.
It was downright repulsive to be in that house.
Dennis went outside to play while Little Miss Spittle Chin
wanted to watch videos and play games. Ok, that's fine.. I sat on the gross,
sticky carpet and played a really dumb game called Kadoo where they ask you to
do really dumb things like "guess how many marshmallows you can fit in your
mouth" and then you just like, shout out a number and that's the end. It
was so dumb. There's also another part of the game where you have to make
something out of this really foul-smelling blue clay. The girl held it up for me
and said to make something out of it and I just hesitated and said "Uh..
no.. I'm not touching that." It was seriously gross clay. It smelled like
something you might find hardening on the outside of a Biohazard barrel. Anyway
I made Little Miss Spittle Chin some popcorn when she said she was hungry - and
she took a fistful of it and spread it out like confetti all over the carpet. I
told her to clean it up. She was on the verge of having a temper tantrum and I
said, "You can either clean it up now or I can show it to your mom when she
gets home." For some reason this made her clean it up, but I didn't help. I
was so annoyed by the show of neglect in the household. I figured it would do
her good to clean up a mess of her own making for once.
When her mom and dad got home, I explained to the mother that
I wouldn't be coming back. I said my allergies (non-existent before coming into
this house) prevented me from returning. She dug around in her purse and got me
$40 and said the following: "I normally wouldn't leave this much of a tip
but I don't have any change." Uh. ok, 2 hours at $20 an hour = $40? Or
maybe my math is wrong.
Before leaving, I said, "So, I understand you adopted
these greyhounds from the animal rescue program." She said THIS: "Yes,
that one there, he raced for five years. But that one, she only raced for
one year. So I guess she must have really sucked."
Before my fiancé and I moved into our current, pretty decent
apartment, we were renting a room in a friend's house as a sort of "between
places" situation for about a year. I have a good "roommates from
hell" story about that place, but I'll focus on the neighbors.
The place was a townhouse in a low-key,
not-ridiculously-expensive neighborhood which was ruled over by a homeowners
organization. The organization was headed by our next-door neighbor, who was
your typical HO president. The kind of guy who, say, washes his car every other
day (he did it in the parking lot, with which there is nothing wrong, but that's
how we knew how often he did it), and has loud cell-phone conversations about
how important and secret his job is and how much money he makes (must not be
THAT much if he was living there instead of a McMansion elsewhere) while
"hanging out" on his front porch. He also, like at least one or two of
the other neighbors, would say hi to us in a pretend-nice tone at close range
but look down his nose and/or glare at us from further away. (He got more
sincerely friendly later on, don't know why that changed.) The landlord-friend
got plenty of snarky (yes, even for a homeowner's organization) letters about
such things as the two leaves in the backyard he needed to rake up
"immediately" and the ladder he needed to move back onto his porch (it
had somehow been moved into the yard, either by wind or possibly a neighbor,
hmmm). For the record, we may not have collectively been the best, most friendly
neighbors on the planet, but we were all young professionals (well, college
graduates at least), not partying or druggie types, not quite suit-and-tie types
but not dressed like hooligans, and were never rude to anyone (except for maybe
the lazy-crazy roommate, explained later). Two of the people in that
neighborhood were awesome and friendly to us and I miss having them as
Anyway, In addition to the HO president, there was the usual
retired nosy lady who watched everyone's comings and goings. I didn't mind her
because she was nice to me (at least to my face) and would talk to me, but I did
get the "being watched" feeling all the time when walking from house
to car and back. She also had loud conversations with our HO president neighbor,
in his front yard, about mostly the negative aspects of the doings of all the
neighborhood residents, including us. (Why they never talked about somewhat more
serious things like the bratty kids who were burning a t-shirt in the parking
lot one day, I have no clue.) So we knew she was his informant, for the most
One day, we got a four(!) page letter from the HO guy about
how the people in our house had too many cars and we were only supposed to have
two cars and needed to park all the "extra" ones on the street, which
we were technically second-furthest from out of all the houses (may be important
to note later). The letter had a list of cars that belonged to us (four, one per
housemate), in addition to a car that nobody in the house had ever driven in
their lives and nobody who even visited us had driven! (It belonged to a
different neighbor.) The nosy lady must have been watching us and then reporting
her findings to him. Maybe she really wanted us to have that mustang! Later, I
was talking to her and during the course of the conversation I explained the
living situation (me and three guys, one of which was my fiancé) and maybe she
felt remorseful because then she said that I shouldn't have to park out on the
street and that I should park anywhere I want and let the guys park further out.
I appreciated the sentiment, not because it was sexist (which it was) but
because I didn't feel like I should have to park out on the street when there
was always enough lot parking for everyone.
The neighbor that really got my goat relates to this
interesting parking situation, which is as follows. The parking lot for the
neighborhood had two spaces for each house, plus maybe a handful extra. Some
houses are vacant or have one car, some (like ours) have more than two, but
there was a homeowner's organization rule about there being two spaces per
house, which is interesting because there was no assigned parking, and none of
the spaces were marked or permitted in any way. There was plenty of convenient
street parking, and there were only two times I can remember (on Saturday
nights, when someone in the neighborhood had company or a party) that there were
no spots available in the lot but still plenty of street parking.
Nevertheless, most neighbors just HAD to have
"their" spot right in front of their houses and didn't like anyone
parking there. Fair enough, even though there weren't any parking spots for the
entire row which our house (four total) was part of. I thought it was pretty
rude for people to demand (some asked politely, which was fine, but others
actually demanded) that the spots in front of their houses be only for their
vehicles, when there weren't ANY spots in front of our row of houses, and none
of the spots were labeled or assigned. At any rate, I parked at the end of the
lot closest to the street where there was usually a cluster of open spaces, in
an attempt to avoid pissing anybody off. My fiancé parked on the street, and
the landlord (understandable) and other roommate (crazy, lazy, self-absorbed,
and said he was trying to piss people off by doing this) parked as close to the
house as possible. That seemed to be a good compromise for everyone, all things
One day, my fiancé and I were returning from an outing and I
parked where I normally do, where there are plenty of open spaces. The resident
of the house in front of the space must have been watching out his window
because before I had shut off the engine, he was at the passenger side window
asking my fiancé (rather than, say, ME, the person who was driving the car a
moment ago and is still in the driver's seat and is in fact the full owner of
the car) in a wheedling, haughty voice if he could please park somewhere else
because the resident wanted the spot directly in front of the house available
for his wife so she didn't have to walk through the lot and "feel
unsafe". Uh, this place wasn't exactly the ghetto, despite the
above-mentioned shirt-burning kids who weren't even from that neighborhood. What
boiled my blood was the fact that this guy didn't even acknowledge my existence
the entire time! I really should have asked the guy to talk to ME and told him
that my fiancé probably didn't want HIS future wife to "feel" unsafe
walking through the parking lot, but that I'd let it slide since his wife was
obviously more of a scaredy-cat wimp than I am. But I couldn't manage to pick my
jaw up from the seat, I was so shocked and confused. Was I invisible? Did he
think I was a chauffer? Or perhaps a robo-driver 3000? I'll never know, because
my fiancé was also shocked into replying "uhhh, ok." We weren't
trying to make any trouble with anyone for the sake of our landlord, who
probably would have found it funny had I responded as above, so I parked in a
different spot. We're such pushovers. Oh well, maybe that particular ex-neighbor
will read this and recognize his silly self!
Now that I think about it, I've had more trouble with my
predecessors than with current neighbors. A few choice examples:
1. I had just graduated from college and could afford no more
than a garage apartment on the poorer side of town. Less than a week after I'd
moved in, I was awakened by what sounded like a car landing on the roof. The
L-shaped building was built around a beautiful large, old tree, so my first
thought was that an enormous branch had landed on it.
Instead, it became clear that someone had drunkenly scaled the
tree and jumped onto the roof and was making her way across it to the landing.
I'll never know why she didn't just go up the stairs. She began pounding heavily
on the flimsy door with a concrete block taken from my neighbor/landlord's yard,
bellowing repeatedly for Robert, who owed her money.
Robert? Who in the world was Robert?
The door wasn't that sturdy, and it looked and sounded as
though she would succeed in breaking it down. I called 911 and waited an
agonizing five or ten minutes until the police knocked loudly and identified
themselves. Only then did I open the door.
The woman in the doorway, swaying and smelling like a frat
party, pointed at me. "Where's Robert?" A flicker of recognition
crossed my face, of course, as she'd been yelling for Robert for a while.
"SHE knows where Robert is! I want my money!" I explained myself,
including how very recently I had arrived in the city, and the police took her
I never did find out who Robert was.
2. In my next apartment, in another city, I once opened my
door to find a sheriff's deputy there looking for someone I guess must have
previously lived there. Fortunately, that was the end of it.
3. Next time, I wasn't so lucky. My husband and I rented a
house that, it turned out, had been seized by the county for nonpayment of
taxes. The man had built the house himself and it appeared to be lovely, but the
curtains turned out to be made of shower-curtain material, the built-in stuff
like cabinets were flimsy, and there was NO central heating or air. There was a
furnace in the basement, which, supplemented by space heaters, was OK if you
kept the basement door open. Of course, even with a baby gate, I feared for my
Oh, and the guy was a drug dealer. We often had visitors at
very odd hours bellowing for him and becoming very upset when they learned he
4. After that, we moved to an apartment while waiting for our
house to be built and, having moved, were randomly assigned a phone number.
Phone numbers are supposed to be dormant for at least a year before being
reassigned. Ours was apparently assigned to us the second it came available.
How do I know this? Someone else used to have the number.
Someone who fell noticeably behind on all of his major bills and then fled
without having informed either his creditors or his many, many friends and
I could understand private individuals, on learning that the
number no longer belonged to that person, becoming a little confused and asking,
"Do you know how to reach him?" I found it a little disconcerting when
bank managers, after our soon-perfected explanation of how we were randomly
assigned the number and didn't know Mr. X at all, would follow up with,
"Well ... do you know how we could reach him?"
No. No, we don't. Maybe he's with Robert.
I am a Dutch student who has just moved out of her student
flat. Luckily, the last year was great. The flat consisted of two floors with on
each floor a kitchen, a bathroom and five bed rooms. The problem began a few
years ago when our landlord moved in a boy on the floor above us. He was
the son of a business associate of our landlord .
Pretty soon the smell of weed permeated the house (this is
legal in my country), he forget to close doors, including the front door, and he
played loud music and computer games at all times. Unfortunately, whenever we
tried to talk to him the door to the upper floor would be closed and no one
would respond to the door bell. So we took to cutting off the electricity, the
switches were all on our floor. He wasn't very smart and only realized it was us
doing this when we cut off the electricity for the fourth time. Then he came
downstairs to scream at us and said we were lucky we were girls, as he didn't
hit girls. (Can't say I felt very lucky). The other people living upstairs never
protested, because they were afraid of him since he was very loud and
aggressive. One other time we did manage to speak to him and told him we were
sick and tired of it all, an expression which in Dutch involves the word spit,
so for the next few days we found spit on our door and his girlfriend would ring
our bell and run away, as if she was 8 instead of 18 years old. We often
complained to the landlord who would talk to him and tell him to clean the mess
upstairs up, but it would never have any lasting effects.
Enough was quite enough when after a few months he bought or
found a large sofa, discovered he couldn't get it in his room, and threw it out
of the window on our roof terrace on top of our lawn chairs. They were
completely smashed, and our note requesting him to pay for the damage was torn
in a hundred little pieces and carefully stuffed back in the envelope. Luckily
at this point our landlord started leaning on the boy's father, and he took him
back! He once more moved in with daddy dearest despite the fact that he was 19.
As our landlord said: 'That his own sister did not want him to live with her in
one of my other houses, should have clued me in.' Ya think?!
This isn't about a neighbor but an almost-roommate,
"Carly." I moved to Southwest Virginia for work and rented a room in a
woman's house. I really wanted a proper apartment and a roommate to defray
costs, so I advertised my situation on several Web sites. Carly and I found each
other through one of them. We met, chatted and agreed that we were compatible
enough to live together. I gave my landlady two months' notice, told my
parents I might need help moving in a couple of months time and commenced
apartment-hunting with Carly. Eventually, we found a place we both
really liked; however, Carly checked with the police to see if the area was safe
and discovered it was not. She called me and said that although she liked the
place, she did not feel comfortable living in an unsafe area. She said that if I
really wanted to take it, she wouldn't mind and would keep looking for a new
roommate. I told her I would think it over and let her know
in a couple of days.
True to my word, I called her a couple of days later and left
a message saying I agreed with her and did not want to live in that area. I
jokingly asked her to take me back, and I said we could keep hunting or go
for one of the other places we liked. Carly called me five days
later and left a message saying sorry, but she had already signed a lease
elsewhere with a friend. She said her sister might be looking for a roommate,
but she wasn't sure. Anyway, she wished me luck and said if I did find a
new place and needed help moving, let her know. My jaw dropped. Carly had given
no indication that she would move in with someone else -- after days of
apartment-hunting together and only a week after she was on the verge of
agreeing to move in with me! -- and I could only conclude she ignored my
voicemail. Talk about being left in the lurch. I quickly
told my parents they needn't cancel plans to help me move and begged my landlady
to let me stay. Luckily, everything worked out, but I can't believe someone
would behave so selfishly.
I've got several "neighbor" stories:
1 - We lived in a duplex (now they call them townhouses) with
a common wall between us and the neighbors, an older couple. He was nice,
she was one weird woman. The old man died suddenly of a heart attack.
Several months later, she started playing her radio at full
blast in the middle of the night (around 2:00 am). Eventually she would
turn it off, but after the 3rd or 4th instance, I knocked on her door and asked
her to refrain from playing the radio in the middle of the night. She said Ok.
After the next time, we called the police who came into our
house and could clearly hear the music from the living room (she was playing it
from the back of the house). They knocked on her door and went inside. A
few minutes later they came back over and would not give us a straight answer as
to why she was playing the music, and suggested we talk to her. Big help
they were. Eventually, I did talk to her and she blamed my wife and me for
the death of her husband!
Further, my work required me to visit the district justice
office from time to time. The next time I did so, the clerk asked me the
name of my neighbor, and after learning it, burst into laughter, then called
other employees out to listen to the story.
Ready for this? My neighbor had visited not only this
district justice but every one in the entire city area. She tried to file
a complain against my wife and me because the nuclear reactor in our bedroom was
causing her not to get any sleep.
That was when we knew it was time to move out. And did.
Appropriately, we signed the papers to sell the house on Halloween night.
2 - We then moved to a single family dwelling. The
neighbors on one side had 2 kids and eventually they bought a dog, the runt of a
mixed bred litter who turned out to be about the size of a Great Dane.
And of course they did not keep the dog in their yard to do his business.
When I saw their dog planting large land mines in our front yard, I politely
asked them to pick up after their dog. To which they said it wasn't their
dog and he was never, ever in our yard. At first I just picked up
the stuff on a shovel and put it in their yard, but the still would do his
business in our yard.
Repeated requests met with the same thing…it's not our dog.
At the same time we had a problem with chipmunks who were
eating our flower bulbs. A friend said to put down Ex-lax tablets around
the area where they were seen. So I put down two whole packages of Ex-law
tablets on the wooden border of the flower bed, which quickly disappeared.
Within 2 days there was a carpet cleaning truck in the
neighbors driveway. Coincidence, I hope not, but we never had problems
with the dog again as long as we lived there.
This is my story of a classic example why it's a BAD idea to
move in with your best friend. The following is true and submitted for your
"Ruby" and I had been good friends through high
school. We got along famously, could talk for hours about anything and made each
other laugh in the most ridiculous way. It seemed only natural, since we were
looking to move out at the same time, that we could move in together. Her dad
had a house up for rent (my first mistake), the price was great, and it was
within walking distance from my job at the time. The stars were aligned, we made
plans to move in at the beginning of June, and we had a blast getting furniture
and other household items.
The day we moved in, she announced she had a boyfriend. Well,
OK I thought. He wasn't particularly clean (you could smell him from across the
street, I kid you not. This will be important later), but he was funny and
seemed to be good to her. A few uneventful weeks pass.
I like to surf the 'net in my spare time, and had a computer
in my room that I allowed her access to when I wasn't home. Well, it turned out
that she liked to get on my messenger service and read my history archives. Some
of these were literally a few years old, and I had been speaking to my friends
about a fight Ruby and I had gotten into. Not the classiest thing, but I
digress. I came home from work, she wouldn't speak to me, and kept up the silent
treatment for more than a week. I finally cornered her and asked her why she was
so upset. She told me she had read the archives because I "had left them
open" (not true, I habitually exit my messenger every time I get off the
computer) and she said she didn't appreciate the things I had said about her,
two years ago. I told her I didn't appreciate her going through my archives, and
that they were years old (I could prove it), but apologized anyway and said she
should rethink giving me the silent treatment for the sake of our friendship. A
couple days later, she started talking to me, apologized, and everything was OK
again for a few weeks.
Some time later, I started getting the silent treatment again.
Noticing a pattern, I asked her what I had done this time, and she said that her
dad was complaining that my room was too messy. Now, I'm not a neat freak, and I
admit that I had a few piles of clothes on my floor and a few books by my bed,
but I didn't see a huge problem as I was paying rent as well. So, I decided
(being a pacifist, another mistake when dealing with her) to make my room
absolutely spotless, as well as put up an opaque curtain so that if my room were
a little less than immaculate, Ruby or anyone else would not have to see it.
This seemed to work and she started talking to me again. it turned out that her
dad didn't actually complain, but she didn't want me to get upset at her. A few
Couple weeks later, same silent treatment. I'm now growing
tired of this and start to avoid her as well. She finally writes me a rather
long note, explaining that I wasn't doing my part to wash dishes (apparently
doing them twice a week, when she had been downstairs "being amorous"
rather loudly with her smelly boyfriend and doing the dishes exactly once since
we'd moved in, wasn't quite enough), that I used too much water to shower (she
had stopped showering pretty much altogether), that the living room was a mess
(I rarely went to the living room, it was littered with hers and her boyfriend's
clothes, as well as other items of a protective nature), and that she wasn't
going to pay me the money she owed me because of this (I had purchased her a
ticket to a concert we both went to and enjoyed, she was to pay me back). I was
due to go on vacation to Colorado within a week, so I washed the dishes, cleaned
up everything that was mine, and left hers and her boyfriend's smelly clothes
alone. I leave for Colorado for a week and a half.
When I came back home, she seems happy to see me. Her
boyfriend had proposed after four months, and I'm excited for her. She does,
however, warn me not to mention it to her parents, which I wouldn't dream of
anyway. I then go to my room to find that my computer has been damaged. She said
that she was using it (with my permission, I had encrypted my messenger
service), and it started making a funny noise and she had shut it down. Turns
out that the modem had been fried because she was using it during a lightening
storm. Also, my VCR had been broken (her boyfriend tried to take it apart and
put it back together for reasons still unknown), and her boyfriend had pretty
much moved in. The house smelled terribly of body odor and spoiled food. I
purchased a few air fresheners for my room, wrote off the computer and VCR off
as a loss, and tried to get back into the swing of things after my vacation. She
continued the off-and-on silent treatment for the next couple of weeks.
A couple weeks after I got back from vacation, Ruby bought a
dog. I have always been afraid of dogs (I was bitten by one as a child), and she
was aware of this. She would put the very cute golden retriever puppy in a VERY
small carrier that was meant for small cats, and leave it there for hours on end
while she was at work. The poor dog would howl and scream like a dying baby, to
the point where I was in tears because I felt so badly for it. I finally had
enough and went downstairs to let the poor dog out of the prison, despite my
fear, and let him run around a little. He did not damage anything, and I let
Ruby know that I'd let him out when she got back from work. She became irate,
saying that I could under NO circumstances let the dog out of his
"kennel" and that I would owe her money for anything he damaged. I go
to my room and proceed to pack up a few bags in case I have to make a hasty
The next night, I call my mom crying and saying that I don't
think I can take anymore. She tells me to try and tough it out, but if it got
any worse that I could move back in with them until I found other living
arrangements. I go to work that night, and come back home to lie down. She comes
to my curtain and asks me if I'm in there. When I say yes, she says very flatly,
"Well, you won't have to worry about the dog anymore, because I just bought
the house and you have thirty days to move out". Believe me, I was gone in
NO time! I found out later that she had married her smelly boyfriend, regularly
kicked him out of the house when he didn't perform to her specifications, and
that she's having lots of trouble paying her bills as her husband can't keep a
job and her daddy won't take care of her every problem since she's married.
Also, she didn't actually buy the house. Her dad gave it to her as a wedding
Please, please, PLEASE don't move in with your best friend!!
My great friendship with someone I loved and respected was destroyed in only
Years ago, while in graduate school, I lived in a small
apartment complex which mostly catered to young-marrieds and older students.
One of the families who lived below me had moved in when the wife was pregnant
with the first child. After a difficult pregnancy and delivery, their
daughter was born healthy, and the wife decided to return to school to major in
graphic design. I had an old scanner I was no longer using, and
figuring the resale value wouldn't be worth the trouble, I offered it to her,
free, so that she could play around with technology at home and get some
practice in. She eagerly and gratefully accepted. Two
weeks later, her upset husband knocked on my door and asked to come in. I
thought something had happened to her or to the baby, and ushered him in
immediately. He proceeded to tell me that he'd given the scanner to his
drug-dealer, and that he couldn't get it to work, and
since it'd been used in lieu of payment for some marijuana he'd purchased, he
was in trouble. He actually came out and said that I was *obligated* to
give him $70, since I'd given his wife a defective piece of merchandise!
Aside from everything that is completely and obviously wrong with the legal
aspects in this situation, I cannot imagine approaching someone and demanding
money for what was a free gift, especially one that had been given to his wife,
not to him. That, and the scanner worked fine. I hardly feel as if
it's my fault that a drug dealer can't work a scanner! I refused to give
him the money, and began ushering him back out the door, when he stopped and
turned and asked for $5 so that he could buy gas and drive out to go swimming.
I refused again, and no matter how many times I refused to give or *loan* him
money, he persisted over the next few months (until I moved).
It got to the point where I refused to answer my door, unless I knew someone
were actually coming to visit with me.
I was helping out as a volunteer for a
weekend wine competition for a non-profit organization. The event was
about 1.5 hours away and the volunteers were given an option to stay at the
hotel where the event was held for a discounted price but still pricey at $110
per night. I decided to stay at the hotel and since the room had two beds,
I invited a friend (CC), who was also working the event, to share the room with
me. She accepted. When we got the event, we met up with another
acquaintance (RN) who we have worked with as a volunteer on other events and so
we got re-acquainted and we had fun. When she found out we were staying at
the hotel, RN told us she was “crashing” our room. Now, she lives 10
minutes away. Why she didn’t go home for the evening, I didn’t know
but I decided to suck it up since it was only one night and CC says she was okay
Now this two-day event required long
hours and hard work and it had a 7:30 AM start-time so I was up early in the
morning on the first day to get there in time and I figured I would make up my
sleep time at the hotel, which was why we stayed at the hotel, in the first
place. I set the alarm clock for 6:00 AM, in time for the 7:00 breakfast
before we were put to work. I woke up when RN got up at 4:00 AM, turn the
bathroom light on, left the door open while she took her shower. With the
brightness of the bathroom light and the on-going shower, it was difficult to
get back to sleep but I did manage some light dozing on and off but throughout
the time she was up but she created such a racket with shuffling paper bags
around and rummaging through her clothes, I finally gave up and got up at 5:00
AM to get ready. Once I got up, RN immediately turned on the TV and
cranked up the volume and woke CC up. I went to brush my teeth and
couldn’t locate my “fresh” tube of toothpaste, but did find it in the
bathtub a third of the tube empty. How do can you possibly use up that
much toothpaste? And I didn’t see her toothbrush anywhere.
When I mentioned sarcastically about
the time she got up, RN replied obliviously replied back “see you don’t need
an alarm clock when I’m around”.
When we went down for breakfast, we met
up another couple and RN proceeded to tell them, in a light-hearted manner how
she had crashed our hotel room, got up at 4:00 AM, woke us up without the alarm
clock and took a 45-minute shower and was completely unapologetic throughout the
conversation. During through the light dozes, I hadn’t realize she was
in the shower that long and I told her how wasteful she is with water (I’m not
a tree hugger, but I don’t like wasting valuable resources either) and asked
her is that what she takes her showers at home. RN told me that yes, but
most of the time she take over two-hour baths where she will stick a DVD in and
watch the movie while she soaks.
Needless to say, I was very tired by
the end of the event and nearly fell asleep on my drive home.
The next day I spoke to CC and she felt
the same way I did about RN and her complete lack of disregard for her fellow
roommates in “our” hotel room. We agreed that if we volunteer in the
near future with hotel accommodations and RN is there, we will make it clear to
her she is not welcome in our hotel room. I realize you can get to know
all lot about people’s traits and personality, good or bad when you spend time
with them on a vacation or a night in the hotel
As the saying goes, "fool me once,
shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."
Page Last Updated September 18, 2008