“Don’t move in with Ron, he’s a slob,” was one of the many warnings that I chose to ignore before signing six months of my life away to the roommate from hell.
I ended up living with Ron (named changed out of courtesy) because we were both equally desperate in our needs to move out. Neither of us could afford to live alone and everyone else who had offered to room with us, inevitably flaked.
Ron was a friend of a friend who was in the unfortunate situation of living with his ex-girlfriend, and I needed to move out of my parent’s house before my crazy aunt drove me to homicide.
I met him at a party and he seemed nice enough. He was a gamer of both the tabletop and PC variety, intelligent and seemingly sane. We also shared enough friends that I was OK having a house with a metaphorical revolving door.
After a month of searching, I found the perfect townhouse. It was near my derby rink, the freeway and my favorite neighborhood in our city. Plus, my closet was ten feet long; that was a necessity.
We moved in during August, and the first morning was a true test of friendship. I walked down the stairs, ready to head out of the door for work, when I eyed a huge cockroach on the landing that was definitely waiting to murder and eat me. Now, I can kill my own spiders and scorpions, but cockroaches are the spawn of Satan, and not to be messed with. I ran up to his room and woke him up to please come put to death or banish this vile intruder. He begrudgingly got out of bed, still in his boxers, grabbed a book, walked down the stairs, and dropped it. The roach died on impact.
“I guess I could’ve done that,” I said apologetically. I thanked him for saving my life and he grunted and returned to his room. Having this guy for a roommate didn’t seem so bad.
We had a Halloween party, a Christmas party and a New Year’s party. Our place became the hangout house for all of our friends. However, there were some negatives that presented themselves during this time.
He left dirty dishes “soaking,” as he called it, in the sink for a week or more. His favorite food was curry-powder-covered fish, so you can just imagine that smell. All of the silverware disappeared into the abyss that was his room and emerged crusty and bent.
He—knowing I was allergic and had asked him not to—dragged a rug covered with cat hair into our living room and shook it. But all of this was brushed under the dander-drenched rug. I would write him a note or confront him, then he’d apologize and clean up his act, for a while.
Some things to note about our house: Almost all of the furniture and dishes were mine. He didn’t even have a blanket when we moved in, so I gave him my least valuable one. He later commandeered one of my mother’s quilts from the living room, which ended up permanently in his computer chair; a place that he would frequently sit while in the nude.
We also had incredibly thin walls and he would loudly play online roleplaying games well into the night. I would text him to, please, keep it down at 4 A.M., and he would oblige, for a few minutes at least. He would inevitably not be able to hear over the sound of swearing 12-year-olds online, and turn the volume back up to max.
Also, our roof leaked when it rained. This wasn’t a tiny leak; it would run down the sloped roof and puddle in a sunken spot directly over our stairwell, then pour in. We had a rain bucket for this problem, which would be full by the morning if we sat it down overnight. Some days, Ron would forget to set up the bucket, and our landing would become sloshy. Luckily, where we lived, it didn’t rain hard or often.
Things escalated when I started staying the night at my then boyfriend’s house. I would be gone for a few days and return to the stench of rotting, curry-soaked hell. I’d immediately get to work bleaching the entire hair-covered—he was a hairy guy who didn’t bother cleaning up his shaving aftermath—bathroom and food splattered kitchen.
One night, I came home, sat on my couch—which felt less sturdy than normal—and cuddled in my living room blanket.
Ron came downstairs and immediately said, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Apparently, he had entertained a lady the previous night and they had ended up getting it on, on my couch, in my blanket. I later found out that they had completely broken the board that held up the cushions as well.
Coming home became increasingly nightmarish. I opened the door one time to see a strange man asleep on the floor.
When I asked where Ron had gone, he replied, “Ron went to work and just told me to lock up whenever I got my shit together.”
I only didn’t completely flip out, because the man also added that he had cleaned our kitchen and bathroom before passing out.
Ron’s friends being alone in our house became a normal thing. I came home to full LAN parties where Ron was nowhere to be found. I confronted him once, asking if one of his friends—the same strange man from the first night—was living at our house. He had become a regular fixture and was always “just leaving” when I came home. Ron denied it, but I wasn’t fooled.
Everything came to a head the night of a particularly violent rainstorm. I came home to find that the carpet actually splashed from the doorway to about halfway into the living room. I grabbed as many towels as I could find, and soaked up as much as I could. I opened all of the windows to get a breeze flowing, and started the dryer full of towels for round two. I repeated this as many times as possible until I had to leave for work. Ron was awake at this point and assured me that he would finish the job.
I returned two days later to the worst smell imaginable. The entire place reeked of mold and all of the windows were shut. The carpet was still damp, and the smell traveled all the way upstairs. I went to the laundry room to grab some towels and found a pile of damp ones that were thrown into a laundry basket.
Underneath the towels, were all of my whites, which were now covered in mold spots. I threw them in the wash with some bleach, but they were completely unsalvageable. I called my father, who promised to lend me his wet vacuum to fix the carpets as best as possible. Then, I went upstairs to find Ron at his computer.
The inside of his room smelled worse than the downstairs. It was coming from the closet. I went inside to find that all of his clothes were piled on the floor and all of them were drenched. The leak must have run down the back of his closet before pouring out above the stairwell.
When confronted, he told me, with a straight face, that he didn’t smell anything, but admitted that he had a poor sense of smell. He also told me that I must have done something wrong, because my clothes were fine and that mold is “super easy” to remove. No remorse, and no offer to compensate. He scoffed at me even asking for a quarter of the amount that he had ruined.
I left in a fit of anger, returning a day later to find that he had pulled the drenched clothing out of his closet, and threw it on the floor in his room. I made him take it to the washer while I cut open a corner of his carpet to search for mold damage. I didn’t see anything terrible, so Ron accused me of overreacting, but the proof was in my moldy clothing.
We shampooed the carpets and I packed my things. One of Ron’s friends who “wasn’t” living there, was the first to take over my lease. I asked him for my deposit back and he obliged. Thank goodness for that, because I’m sure those guys won’t see a dime back from the landlord.
The last I heard, five guys were living in that house. The living room had been converted into another bedroom and the place fell even more into filth. I’m glad that I got out when I did, and I will definitely heed any warnings when choosing a roommate in the future.