Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Janice Story, Part One

I was reminded the other day of a roommate I had in college. Her name wasn't Janice, but for the purposes of this story it will be. My friend Stephanie and I moved in with Janice when we found out she was looking for two roommates for a pretty sweet place near campus. Janice was a "friend of a friend" kind of person, not someone we knew, but someone we knew of. I'm going to go out on a limb now and recommend you never, ever do that. Interview potential roommates if you don't know them yourself, people.

The first sign that things were going to be a little bit rocky was when we borrowed a small square of Janice's saran wrap. Stephanie had made some pudding, and we had just moved in so she hadn't stocked up on all the keep-pudding-fresh essentials, so she tore of a small piece of saran wrap and used it. Being a considerate person, she informed Janice and told her that she was going shopping the next day and shouldn't need to borrow anything else.

The next day, we came into the kitchen and saw that every box containing a bulk quantity good was labelled JANICE in capital magic marker letters. We thought, collectively... "hmm."

The next thing we started to notice is that none of the furniture in the apartment belonged to Janice. In her bedroom, she had a full set of furniture - bed, recliner, desk, two dressers(?), TV, and VCR, but in the living room was my recliner and TV, Stephanie's computer, and my printer - Janice's couch was the only thing she contributed to the community. She also had a mini fridge in the living room, but we weren't to use it. This becomes important later, but the reason this came up initially was that Janice would sit in her room and type up papers for school on her word processor thing, but then come out and print them on Stephanie/my computer/printer - and would just turn it off without shutting down when she was done. We actually managed to clear this up without bloodshed, but the days were early.

Another sharing issue emerged, and the second dresser went into the kitchen to store all of Janice's dishes and crap. We were forbidden access to the Dresser of Janice.

There were several more my stuff/your stuff issues as we went, including the time that Janice gave a tampon of mine to one of her friends (seriously, what the hell?), and managed to break my shampoo bottle and not say anything about it since, you know, that's totally OK and normal.

Some insight into Janice: Once, I agreed to play piano for her boyfriend's sister's wedding. We had song choices more or less narrowed down, but I didn't get to meet the couple until the rehearsal. We headed to downtown and found that nobody was at the church to meet us. After we sat in a car outside a church for about an hour making awkward small talk, the groom showed up and said he got mugged outside the tuxedo rental place. Now, we were in a city to be sure, but not in a city where the tuxedo rental places are dangerous. When the rehearsal/wedding were called off, it became clear to me that he got cold feet, but seriously - that's your excuse??

More insight: One night I didn't have anything to do, and Janice invited me to go out dancing with her and her boyfriend. I thought well, alright, maybe this will help us get along a little better, but it was really just more evidence that I was living with a crazy person. As soon as we went out on the dance floor, Janice started accusing the girl next to us of intentionally bumping into her. After that point, it was pretty much on. They slammed into each other over and over again, and we got followed into the parking lot when we left. Thankfully, there was just a lot of yelling curse words back and forth, and no actual fight. I decided going out with Janice wasn't a good idea.

Midway through our tenuous coexistence, I broke up with my fiance. It was a really good thing that it ended, but left me a bit emotionally vulnerable. I ended up hanging out with some guys who were much younger than I, but obviously they couldn't go to the bars with me. We ended up at the apartment late one night and they (being underage) asked if I had alcohol on hand. I didn't but Janice did. Despite it obviously being the worst idea in the world, I took two beers from the Forbidden Mini Fridge and, being conscientious and stuff, left Janice a note with some money. A little bit later, she came out and told us SHE needed HER SLEEP and we should shut the hell up. We moved the conversation to my bedroom, though it was a bit awkward since I didn't know them extremely well and we had to sit on my bed - more about my room later.

The next day there was a screaming match over the beers and the noise. It was like I had a wild bachelor party in the apartment or something, the way she lectured and yelled and carried on. I mostly smoothed it out by telling her it wouldn't happen again, which I was pretty sure it wouldn't anyway so it wasn't much of a loss. Later that day, the mini fridge got moved into her bedroom with everything else.

At some point, Janice accused us of going in her room and touching her stuff. We thought - eh? Why on earth would we do that when we have everything we need in the shared areas? Shortly after that, Janice got a phone call and Stephanie opened the Forbidden Bedroom door to see if Janice was inside. Janice was out, but had propped a pair of her shoes just on the inside of the door as a booby trap. Stephanie shrugged and replaced the shoes when she left.

Later, one of us was looking for her again and forgot to replace the booby shoes. OH IT WAS ON. Despite everything we did, we could not convince Janice that we had no malicious intent when we opened that door. As an end result, Janice told us we weren't allowed to use anything of hers anymore. Having come to the realization that we would only be without a couch we said FINE - but you can't use anything of ours anymore, either. Bear in mind now this includes the microwave, toaster, kitchen table, and everything in the living room except the couch.

It only gets stranger from here on out.

1 comment:

Becky said...

Loving this - I had a crazy roommate my first semester in college in a teeny tiny dorm, so when I transferred to WIU my sophomore year, I paid extra for a single room. heheh I wasn't risking it again. Would love to hear the rest of the story