Years and years and YEARS ago, I went to a science fiction/fantasy convention with friends. Bibbie and I both had jobs. Her friend Mooch did not. I was told " Instead of trying to divide or split the bill, we just take turns buying meals. It evens out in the end." Happily I knew I would only be in this situation for a day and a half as I was meeting up with other friends on Sunday and would be leaving with them for dinner and a play which had already been paid for.
Yeah, not so much, especially since Bibbie abandoned me to the tender mercies of Mooch so Bibbie could spend all her time with her boyfriend, Arrogant.
Mooch would do stuff like turn on the television as loud as humanly possible and then fall asleep...but yu couldn't turn it off because it would wake her up. However, if you woke up in the middle of the night and tried to get to the bathroom, Mooch would wait until you were halfway there then she would leap from bed and run into the bathroom and leave you dancing from foot to foot while SHE suddenly decided she needed to take a shower at 4 a.m. (Yeah, Mooch had issues.)
And then there was fun with food.
The "I want to look cool in front of my girl friend" Scam: Arrogant insisted we all go to "the best restaurant in town" and that money was no object and we should buy anything on the menu and not be intimidated by price. Bibbie said "He's taking us out tonight."
Because Bibbie had the worst taste in men (and still does) I did not believe it and ordered the least expensive thing on the menu. Thank heaven's I listened to my gut as Arrogant said "Oh, I should have said that you guys are on your own."
And then there was "I Am Spending Every Penny I Have on First Edition Everything, Especially Since I'm Gonna Con YOU Into Buying Dinner" Mooch.
I had portioned my money out carefully, but since I was locked into the "We buy each other's meals" with Mooch breathing down my neck--and Bibbie off with Arrogant--I decided that I would get my share over with (especially since I knew I would be in writing seminars all day, didn't have much money to my name and wasn't going to get stuck paying the bill for Mister "I'm Going to Eat A Lot on Your Dime Even Though I Won't Pay For You On Mine.")
I didn't realize that Mooch had an appetite like Sarloc. I figured we'd spend about 14 bucks total on breakfast...wrong! I had planned for a small breakfast for myself...Mooch had a more grandiose plan. I wound up spending almost twenty five dollars in a time and place that that kind of money would have bought a family of four a nice sit down dinner out. Seven of it was mine. I can only imagine what supper would have been like.
Happily, I got to eat lunch by myself at a cute little gourmet burger place and since I ate late, I just wasn't hungry for supper. Because I still needed to pay my other friends for the theater and dinner tickets, I avoided the dealers room, and hung on to my precioius few dollars.
But the next day, as I was packing up with plans to sneak off quietly Mooch came tearing in to our hotel room.
"Quick! I need you to give me all your money and write me a check that totals about two hundred dollars."
"I don't even have fifty," I told her "and what I have is ear marked for the play this afternoon."
"But I NEEEEEEEEEEED it. I've just seen the most beautiful painting in the world and it's five hundred dollars, but the artist will hold it if I give hm two hundred dollars and I have to have it."
I repeated that I did not have but twenty left to my name, that that was already earmarked for the play I was going to see and I could not give it to her.
She continued to whine and cajole and beg and plead and even tried to carry my suitcase downstairs so she could beg from my other friends as well. These days I wish I had said something like "Maybe if you didn't eat everything in sight, didn't buy every darn pretty painting you see and didn't buy hundreds of dollars worth of books--have yu ever heard of a library?--you would have two hundred for what you really want." But even without ehell, I knew then that would be mean and rude. So I just kept repeating that the money I had was already promised to someone else.
And when I found my other friends and we went off to see Forbidden Broadway, I made them promise that they would never ever let me go to another convention with Bibbie, Mooch and Arrogant ever again.
And I never did.