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Monday, June 18, 2012

The Icky Sticky Roommate

I mentioned yesterday on the blog our worst roommate was a young mother who turned out to have problems bigger than she was willing to admit. 
To tell these stories now and look back over what my daughter and I have endured in the past few years can be so surreal. If I had a life fear it would have been housing instability.

The only thing worse than being homeless is doing it with a child or, children in tow. We ended up that way after a job loss, eviction and death in the family. These things were reasonably spaced out but their effects were cumulative.

I was living back at home with my parents when my dad passed on suddenly. A year later my mother sold the home I grew up in and moved across the country. A year later it looked like we might be forced to join her.

Instead a friend took us in. This was temporary and after that we tried to get back firmly on our feet. 

Super problem icky sticky roommate was the 3rd try and not at all charming.

The one stable thing about the move was that it brought us to the north area of town where we have stayed.

Meeting all these random strangers has been great for my latent counselor abilities. I saw all sorts of behaviors and indicators for deep rooted issues going on in peoples lives.

My first independent clue that I might have been in trouble living with the new roommate came on day one. There were other clues but both of our lives were in turmoil. 

The day I moved in she was already in the new apartment she had secured. I went into the kitchen. 

The idea of roommates who are strangers in my mind means just splitting sections of certain areas down the middle. 

I opened a cabinet. It contained her items. I tried another and another the same result. I was puzzled. Why had she left me no space for my food and kitchen supplies.

“Oh” she said “I just thought we would “co mingle” everything.”

Okay… I was thinking.

At this moment I cannot think of the next exactly clear warning sign. 

There were many over the few short months.

Some more external ones began to show up after her brother and a waif of a girlfriend showed up one night.

The next day I had to call 911 for the roommate. Thankfully it was the weekend. I kept her babies. I did not call social services, the baby daddies or the roommates parents. I did not exactly have an emergency contact list.

Still I did this to try and preserve her autonomy. I trusted the professionals she was in the care of to do their jobs. I expected her to come home serious about staying on the straight and narrow.

She came home flippant and that was enough to tell me there was no more I could do. To stay was to enable and that is not me.

I gave notice the following month. This is what set her off. Her first response was to scream

“You can’t leave me!”
Did I mention living with this stranger as a roommate made me feel smothered like I was in a bad co dependent relationship?


  1. oh boy. that sounds uncomfortable and unhealthy! glad you got outta there!

    1. hahahaah A learning experience for sure!

  2. Wow!! I had one difficult room-mate as a single mom, but nothing like that!

    1. You don't know the half of it. lol Still it was only a couple of months and we made it out with our sanity and most of our possessions...

      Living with strangers is such a crap shoot especially when it is either that or homelessness and there is little time for due diligence.