Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Janice Story, Part 3

Once Janice had a deadbolt on the door to her room, Stephanie and I started to worry. I mean, if she was so worried about us messing with her stuff and created this little fortress, what attacks was she plotting from within? Inevitably, Stephanie and I got locks on our bedroom doors. I wonder what the next tenants thought of all this. They probably couldn't even guess at what actually happened there, it's too off the wall.

Finally, we neared the end of the school year. All three of us were graduating, and even though Stephanie and I felt like we had been through a war together, we were optimistic. After all, hallelujah, Janice had let us know that she was not staying for the summer and would be subletting. The first thing we realized is that she would be taking the couch with her, so we started hunting yard sales. Once we bought a replacement couch we were wondering what to do with it. And sure, storing it at one of our parents' houses would have been an option, but we decided that would be wasted effort. We set it up in the living room, in front of Janice's couch. We now had what appeared to be a bus in our living room. We were fairly certain this displeased Janice a fair bit, but hey, she wasn't allowed to watch the TV so why not set Bus Couch in front of Forbidden Couch?

As graduation neared, we had a going away party for Janice. Naturally, she was not invited. It was extra nice because she wasn't even home - it was always nice when she wasn't home, actually, things were so relaxed. We talked to our friends about the weird stuff that had gone down, and laughed about a lot of it. At some point Janice came home and scurried into her room, but I must have been elsewhere or not paying attention - I kept talking about her as if she weren't there. Later somebody told me she had come home, and I felt this adrenaline surge and panic about it. At some point I had become fairly afraid of Janice and her instability.

Stephanie and I almost felt like the heroines in one of those cheesy Lifetime Movies of the Week, except instead of an abusive husband, we had Janice. Little things, like having a graduation party that we called a going away party, made us feel like we had a modicum of control over our own situation. Our upstairs neighbors were PhD candidates in math and were truly nerds with hearts of gold. At some point they gave us little posters that said, "Keep Your Chin Up!" We taped them to our (deadbolted) bedroom doors. The other "oh you're such a rebel" moment was when we put our Dean's List notifications on the fridge with magnets. We had a fairly good sense that Janice had not made the Dean's List.

Finally, graduation. The morning of the ceremony, Stephanie and I were in the living room hanging out until it was time to get ready and go. Stephanie was sitting on Bus Couch, writing out invitations to her graduation party, and had the phone book out to look up addresses. There was a knock on the door, and Janice's mother came in and went into Janice's room. We didn't pay much attention to this until she came out and started lecturing us about how we shouldn't be mean to her daughter and how we should be ashamed of ourselves. We dutifully ignored her since that seemed like the wisest move. At this point, she walked over to Stephanie and yanked the phone book away from her and held it behind her back and told us we were acting like kindergarteners (pronounced "kiddiegartners").

The whole situation was bizarre and unreal. It was also humorous because it was really easy to get her to forget what she was talking about. For example, I pointed out that I hadn't been at the apartment all that much since I had to practice. She started regaling me with tales of her cousin Eugene, who was a music major at such-and-such college, and how wonderful he was. When this would happen, Janice would emerge from the bedroom and start lecturing us about what horrible people we were. This tag teaming went on for a good half an hour before they got tired of it. Nothing was resolved - I'm not sure what they were going for but whatever it was, they probably didn't get it. Later (friend of a friend, remember?) we found out that Janice's mother was banned from a grocery store in town because she shoplifted. Suddenly Stephanie was extremely suspicious about some of her jewelry that she was unable to find.

Janice was in charge of getting a subletter for the apartment, since she was the one subletting. Naturally, she set about to try and get us the worst roommate possible. Fortunately, Janice's idea of the worst roommate possible was somebody who smokes and possibly does drugs. As it turned out, we got Anna, a sweet southern hippie chick who was surprised when we asked her not to smoke in the apartment. She was such a relief after Janice, it was unbelievable. Don't think that Janice let her off the hook though - she had agreed to leave her a bed to sleep on, and naturally went back on that little promise. More on that later. Anna had to sleep on a borrowed mattress on the floor until she bought a bed.

Of course, before she moved out, Janice had to have her own going away party. (To be continued so this post isn't 5 miles long)

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