But perhaps I should start at the beginning.
Four months ago, I moved from my previous home of six and a half years; evicted as a punishment for the crime of having had a shitty room-mate. As completely appalled as I had been by these events, they were in their own way not particularly shocking; I had been at war with the strata council of my old building virtually since the day that I moved in – in large part due to the misdeeds and dishonesty of my even EARLIER room-mate, Aaron, which I had taken the fall for because I was a schmuck.
I decided upon a place some two blocks north of my previous home, unwilling to see my lifestyle too completely uprooted by forces beyond my control. The move was an expensive one; Vince had spent a year and a half carefully cultivating a thriving population of bedbugs and shielding them from my many attempts at extermination, and I was unable to completely eradicate them before I had to move out. Thus, I had to abandon all of my furniture which had any padding, including my bed and beloved couch and loveseat set. Not only did I have to abandon them, I needed to pay a garbage removal company to take them away, and then pay substantially more in order to have them replaced in my new home. The costs were substantial.
Gradually, though, in my new place, I was able to re-furnish, and was then content to start looking for a new (and hopefully superior) room-mate in order to defray the costs of rent. I could handle the rent on my own, naturally, but doing so was debilitatingly costly. And given how swiftly I was able to find a replacement room-mate in Vince, I imagined this would be a reasonably brisk process.
What a fool I was!
For reasons which have never made themselves plain to me, the manager of my new building insists that anyone who moves into this place go through a mystifyingly agonizing screening process. This includes any prospective room-mate of an existing tenant, such as myself. His criteria is a bizarre one: Anyone who wishes to live with me must be employed full-time; nobody on disability, on a pension, on financial assistance or employment insurance. In short, the only people who are allowed to move into my spare bedroom are people who are financially well-to-do enough that they could likely just get a place of their own anyways.
Nevertheless, I proceeded with the process, putting out a succession of ads on various sites. Many people expressed an interest in moving in, and many in fact gave me a firm “yes”, pending only their meeting with the approval of my building manager. Each of these people were flakes and liars; those who did not subsequently simply disappear, never to be heard from again, would take a week or so to get around to telling me they had found some other place they liked better.
Then there was the other group: People who were willing to move in, who seemingly met the exacting requirements of the building manager, who sent him their references, and then waited for a week or more for him to spend the half hour or so necessary for him to phone the people on their references list. These people, quite naturally, got tired of waiting as the clock ticked down to the end of the month, and went on to some other place that could and would do one of these background checks over the course of an afternoon.
And so for two months, I had no room-mate.
Finally, I found a fellow named Patrick, who seemed perfect in every way; a good temperment, similar interests to myself, who did steady contract work in the IT field, and who could move in immediately. He sent his references in, and waited. Neither he or I could see any reason why he would be told “no”, and so I invited him to move in straight away while we waited for the seemingly-inevitable “yes.”
A “yes” which did not come.
Instead, we were told that being a contract worker is the same as being unemployed; he cannot guarantee that he will consistently be able to pay rent, and thus is denied the right to move in. I argued – vigorously – that since MY ability to pay rent IS guaranteed, this hardly matters; Patrick was only making it EASIER for me to pay rent, but I could and would if necessary do so without him. But my building manager was hearing none of it. Finally, in frustration, I decided that I was unwilling to spend a third month without a room-mate (and without a room-mate’s share of the rent), and declared that there was nothing stopping me from having a GUEST for four weeks. Patrick thus stuck around till the end of the month, and a lovely month it was; at the end, we both expressed the sentiment that one another were the best room-mates the other had ever had, and we resented terribly the fact that it needed to come to an end.
During the month, there was a resumption of the parade of flakes and liars which had characterized the first two months of searching, until, towards the end of the month, I was contacted by a Hungarian fellow named Peter who was interested in moving in. Steadily employed, and with a good record of previous tenancy, it seemed perfect. About nine days shy of the end of the month, he sent his information to the building manager for his perusal. Eight days later, he finally gave what I presume to have been a reluctant thumbs-up, and Peter was allowed to move in. Naturally, I was relieved; not only was my endless and frustrating search at an end, but Peter had not done what any normal person would have done, as we were down to the last two or three days before the end of the month, and simply found some other place. He had run the gauntlet, and come out the other side reasonably intact.
This is where things get batshit fucking insane.
Peter moves in on the 4th of the month. We speak little, but he seems like a reasonable dude. He’s settling in, and neither of us are causing any trouble for the other. On the morning of the 10th, I get home from work, and Peter is obviously distraught and a bit in shock. He tells me that he’s just gotten some news from his family back in Hungary:
His father has died. Peter is being told to come back, and take over the family business. Tomorrow.
There was a small part of me – a small and essentially completely insensitive part, and a part which is possibly entirely insane, or else possibly... just possibly... a part which is capable of seeing a bigger picture that the rest of my mind refuses to acknowledge – which wanted to shout at him, “PETER. THE UNIVERSE HAS MURDERED YOUR FATHER IN ORDER TO PREVENT ME FROM HAVING A ROOM-MATE. DO NOT GIVE IT WHAT IT WANTS. THAT WILL ONLY ENCOURAGE IT TO KILL AGAIN.”
I stifled this impulse, with significant effort, though I had difficulty knowing exactly what to say to a man who I had known for all of six days, and had spoken with for probably a total of one hour throughout that period. It became a moot point quickly enough, however, as he had moved out less than twenty-four hours later.
And so now I am back to searching for a room-mate; a position I had been in just two weeks ago, and had, just one week ago, believed I had put behind me.
About fourteen months ago, I realized I was in a horrible living situation with Vince. In the time since then, I have experienced exactly six days during which I felt secure and comfortable in my living situation. I don’t mind telling you, this is beginning to take its toll on me.