Roach Motel - w4w (‘Our’ house)
While we walk in the same circles around town, and you avert your gaze in shame and cowardice, I sit here writing my own truths on this page.
I don’t think you’re a bad person, but I do think the world will fall on your head very soon for the mistakes you acknowledge, but refuse to fix. It saddens and angers me to see the direction our friendship has gone over the past four years. You were someone I thought I could count on as a friend and a roommate, but it appears that I was wrong as I can feel, hear, and see those relationships go out in flames.
With bitter honesty:
I used to stick up for you. Used to. When people talked about how much of a mess you were, piss drunk on campus at 11 am, screwing all of your friends, and skipping your classes, I would defend you. I would say it was your life. I would say you’ll figure things out, and straighten up eventually. I would shrug and say it was your own goddamn business. Those times were part of the descent.
We had so much fun our first year of college, and you were one of the most brilliantly hilarious and empathetic people I had ever met. We both listened to cool music, shared booze we found in the snow, gorged on ramen and hummus while we talked about our friends and boys and all of the things we hated and loved at 3 am. We fell in love with one another’s friends, families, stories and interests. In the end, we chose different roommates for our new homes and parted ways for a bit.
We both had our ups and downs. New friends, old friends, school, play, parties, rinse wash repeat. You became friends with people I had started hanging out with the summer I moved into my first house. Cool. We were at all of the same events, saw each other around, and eventually had the bright idea to rekindle our old living situation. At this time, I was defending all of the aforementioned claims and complaints people would come up and ask me about. I thought if you lived with me in a house a little off of the beaten path, you might get your shit together enough to cut down on the binge drinking that had stopped being cute or funny (psa: alcoholism is not either of those). Your parents were worried. They tried to get you to visit. They told me to watch out for you… for us to go hiking or something, rather than out on the town.
So I thought… it sounds risky, but I want to help her. She’s my friend after all. She spends her time with people who pretend to give a shit about her, yet at the end of the day only fuel the issues she needs to fight. Skipping class, blowing off work, calling out sick, drinking day in and day out. I can’t count the number of times I heard “Yeah, I’ve given up on _______” from people who had been your longtime friends. Some stopped talking to you altogether. I thought that seemed harsh, despite how many times they had tried to help and support you. I would never give up on a friend like you, I thought.
So one of my best friends and roommates moved out after December. The 5 months my prior roommate and I had lived together were fun, busy, and productive. Grown-up, I think they call it. You moved in and we were both excited. There was an old familiarity and nostalgic desire to relive the fun we’d had a few years back. You also made it clear to me that this was the time and place to get your shit together. You spoke of all of the mistakes you felt you were making, of all of the ways you hoped to improve and move forward. Your words resonated for about a month before it started going south.
You wanted a new job. You hated the typing palace, and it was driving you insane. “Do you think I could get a job at _______ _______?” you asked. Yeah man, of course. I’ll put a word in for you with the manager and with our friend so-and-so. And I did. I went out of my way repeatedly to do so. I pushed for you to get hired over and over with the manager, and finally it worked. Ha! How fun. Now we could even work together! You could get away from the typing palace, but work two jobs in order to have enough income to pay for food and bills and rent. The timing couldn’t be better, since you had at some point managed to lose HOPE, which in a matter of time drained your college fund. Man, a college fund? Must be nice.
Well, it wasn’t too long after until you had quit your job at the typing palace. It sucked, I get it. Logically, most people who quit one of their jobs find a new one or work enough hours to sustain themselves. You on the other hand, struggled to establish weekly shifts. When you did pick up a few, you never failed to get at least one or two covered last minute. And then you would complain you were broke. And then go out and drink. And then say ‘Sorry! I can’t pay you the bill right now! I have to wait another week for my paycheck. These DUI charges are killing me.’ They even talked about firing you. Pretty sure I talked them down and said you were just having a hard time, to keep you on and give you another chance.
You ‘being broke’ would generally be followed by me busting my ass picking up shifts at one of my three jobs so I could pay the entire bill and my half of the rent. I generally just ate at work. Our power was on the verge of being cut off maybe three times in a few months.
At this point, I was obviously very stressed. I spent most of my time typing papers in the living room or the library, when I wasn’t working. I killed myself most days to scoot by on grades. I looked like a wreck, and I rarely hung out with friends. I would get surprised looks when people saw me in public, let alone out having a drink. You on the other hand, never failed to be expected or recognized downtown. Not soon after, you failed out of your semester, and I managed to squeeze out of mine with mediocre grades. I can actually give you some thanks here, because you let me borrow your computer a few times since I don’t have one. I don’t expect any pity here, having a dead computer, no internet, and phone that constantly freezes and shuts off isn’t the end of the world. It really isn’t. I don’t have parents who bankroll to buy their princess that shit, and I don’t mind. So I appreciated you letting me borrow yours for that short window of time. Thanks.
When spring semester was over is when things really picked up. In a few weeks time we managed to get those little brown cockroaches with the black stripes behind our refrigerator. We would always see a few eating our cats’ food, which sat in a bag atop the appliance. 1,2,3,4,5 ok, too many. We need to get these roaches out of here. I kept asking you to help. Multiple times. Fiiiinally you made a space in your busy schedule to come see the horror I had uncovered. When I shifted the fridge forward, hundreds of German cockroaches surged from behind it, scampering across the walls and into other rooms. They hid under boxes, posters, bags, food, and inside of the sealed fridge. Everywhere in the kitchen. Not only were there live roaches crawling every which way, there was a thick layer of exoskeletons and egg casings about half of an inch thick on the linoleum in the shape of our refrigerator base. You and I were on the verge of vomiting from the sight and smell. To the internet: if you have ever had the chance to smell even a second of a few hundred (or thousand, counting roaches is sort of like making an estimate on a jar of sunflower seeds) dead roaches and miscellaneous detritus, you will never in your waking life (and otherwise) forget it.
With vigilance, hate, and disgust you and I attacked the masses with Raid. Many died, many scattered. It was imperative that we cleaned the house up and down and got an exterminator. No way around it. After inhaling enough chemical fumes to kill a small dog, you and I showered and got the hell out of the house in what was the beginning of the summer exile.
Unknowingly, we may have made the worst possible attempt at extermination that we could have. The roaches only sought other homes. One of them, thanks to you, was the rotting fruit you had neglected to eat or clear from our food cabinet. Within a day or so, the roaches invaded our food supply, our cabinets, our dishes, and part of your room. They entered your room not just because the cat food was nearby, but because it was filthy with old dishes, beer cans, and clothes all over the floor. I’m not saying mine was sparkling, in fact it was post-repeated-all-nighter-writing-reading-researching-being-miserable-in-general-apocalyptic mess with clothes and cigarettes, but there were no roaches. And so began the war… which you chose never to aid me in.
I sifted through countless extermination sites, blogs, and pesticide instructions to find a way to quickly eradicate the creatures that were rapidly reproducing and spreading throughout our house. In every comparable case I read up on, our place was described as a ‘full on infestation’ which would take weeks, if not months to actively exterminate. DIY efforts didn’t seem to yield effective results quickly enough, so I concluded that I would combine professional help along with what I found to be the most chemically effective (and least kitty-toxic) magic powders to kill the suckers. I looked up and called a few exterminators in the area to get prices and estimates, settling on the cheapest with the best ratings. I biked out to the hardware and drugstores to buy whatever it took to line every inch of our house that the professional insecticide may have missed.
The day for the exterminator to visit finally arrived. I adjusted my school and work schedule in order to be there, and to make sure we had every piece of info possible to get rid of the roaches. You spent your time endlessly complaining to our landlord. I spent mine asking Joe the exterminator countless questions, receiving every response I had hoped not to hear:
Yes, your house is fully infested
In fact, you’ve got three different breeds of roaches here…
*crushes one with his bare fingers*
"This is the main pest, the German cockroach. It’s one of the fastest breedin’ and hardest to eradicate from yer home. It will take weeks, along with multiple follow-ups fer yer house."
*crushes second cockroach*
"This here’s a female. Looks like I got one with an egg sac. They carry ‘em on their back, that’s what makes the infestation so quick and so fast. Each o’ these little sacs got about 50 babies in ‘em. That’s why you gotta try and nip ‘em in the bud"
****INTERRUPTION IN THE STORY: PLEASE REREAD THE ABOVE LINES ONE MORE TIME OVER. 50 BABIES IN EACH EGG SAC. TRAVELLING AND HATCHING OVER EVERY INCH OF OUR HOME. YOU COULD COUNT WHAT ADDED UP TO 1000 BABIES VIA EGG SACS JUST UNDER THE FRIDGE*****
*crushes third cockroach*
"Here’s a wood roach. They mostly live in damp wood nearby… getten’ worse from the rain this year."
*crushes fourth cockroach with his shoes, guts fly, and he picks it up*
"And here’s an American cockroach. Biggest ones. Mostly the German cockroaches you got around here though."
Great. Just watched Joe the Exterminator crush three different breeds of cockroaches with his bare fingers to explain how fucked I am. Where were you for that one? Busy I guess. So busy that I had to bike myself over to pick up your tips at the place I’d put in a word for you to get hired and not to get fired.
With those little gems of knowledge under my belt, the most important thing he said to do was “you just gotta clean up this big ol’ mess.”
Our house was a mess. Beer cans, blankets, dirty dishes, instruments, etc. etc. etc. I texted you about this. I texted you “please come help clean the house” like I did every few weeks. Inevitably, I had always scrubbed the grease out of my pots when you used them to deep fry. I had eventually cleaned out my moldy pans on the stove after you had made chili or whatever for a group of people (who would almost always leave their crusty dishes in the living room since you never asked them to rinse anything off, nor bothered to do it yourself). I would recycle the dozens of Milwaulkee’s Best cans crushed on the carpet, and sweep up cigarettes ashes and butts people decided to put out indoors the night or week or whatever before. I never forgot these things because of how many times I would desperately ask you to help, but to no avail.
All of that was in the past. The house was gross when the roaches came, because in protest, I stopped cleaning up after you. Of course, our house became infested and it was all thrown back in my face. I thought this physical manifestation of filth might get you to get off of your ass and change your ways, but somehow I overestimated the amount of respect you had for yourself and for me.
You never helped. You didn’t help me pick up ONE thing off of the floor, in our entire house. Not ONE thing. I texted, and called, and confronted you. Nothing. I spent the month of June ripping our house apart, throwing things out, coating every object we owned with borax powder, and living elsewhere when I wasn’t battling the roaches for hours. That was in between work and class.
I washed probably 10+ loads of clothes in our shitty washing machine that you have to turn the knob for every 15 minutes, sat around sweating and reading for class so the clothes wouldn’t stop moving in order to keep the roaches off of them, and slowly watched those fuckers die. I would shake out backpacks, clothes, drawers, letters, books, blankets, and mugs, and they would scatter, crawling up the walls. Eventually all of the pesticides I’d coated the house with sank in, and I became to reclaim the space. I put any food I could salvage in storage containers I bought at the DG, sealed clean clothes in trash bags and stored them with the neighbors, and didn’t rest until the roaches were all dead.
In July, I started to take back my home. I say my home, because I never once saw you there attempting to make it yours. You also found a place to stay, but I guess there was no room for your cat. Instead, you left him outside for about two months, MAYBE stopping by every couple of days to put food in his bowl. He managed to run my cat off after his fat ass relentlessly bullied her, tackling her and biting her whenever they would come into contact. You never made any effort to stop this. I watched it happen for months. I kept trying to get her to come back, but every time she saw your cat, she ran right back to the neighbors, who so graciously took care of her for 2 months of hell. Meanwhile, your huge, overfed cat remained neglected and shed pounds by the day. He was covered in fleas and mosquitoes, and ran up to me desperate for attention every time I showed up to clean the house. You claimed you had no place to put him, so instead he sat around the front door waiting for someone to care for half of the summer. Thanks to your negligence as a pet owner, I was unable to see my cat regularly, and yours was miserable and starved.
Anyway, once the roaches were dead, I had to sanitize everything. They decided to invade my drawer of photos, journals, and keepsakes, so it should be fun to scrub the roach shit off of each of those. I went ahead and bought a ShopVac to clear the bodies and waste from every nook and cranny. It took hours at a time. I tore apart furniture, hopelessly threw more things out, and scrubbed every inch of the walls, countertops, and every other surface with Lysol.
A highlight, I think, was sucking roaches out of the crevices of each VHS. If there wasn’t a God before, that event certainly confirmed it.
I inhaled enough Lysol, borax, roach shit, body parts, dust, and other chemicals to take a few years off of my life… more than cigarettes, I think. Certainly enough to speed up the inevitable onset of cancer. During this phase of the nightmare, the one thing I asked of you was simply to move your shit out. I gave up on asking for help entirely… in fact, it seemed like a joke to you that I had to do all of this myself. But my one simple request was to just move your stuff so my new roommate could clean YOUR room in order to start moving in.
Of course, that’s a lot to ask. You said no, my lease isn’t over. I have nowhere to put it. You even used my favorite: “I don’t have a car! What am I supposed to do????” Oh, I don’t know… maybe you shouldn’t drink and drive? I wouldn’t know how that works. I’ve never had a license or a car. I’m pretty irresponsible.
Anyway, after I spent two months eradicating a horror movie without the help of a goddamn soul (save my friends who assisted in cat care, storage, and housing… I am indebted on an entirely different level), it was just too much to ask for you to find someone with a car to help you move the few belongings you had in your bedroom. Anywhere. The apartment you were staying at a few hundred yards from your next house. A storage space. Our shed. Nope, all unreasonable options. You were waaaay too busy to spend an hour moving, anyhow. Not that I had dedicated more hours and I can count crying and huffing roach shit.
So, I admit, I was finally pissed. I texted you telling you how I felt. I was being honest, and told you that you had been a shitty friend and roommate. After reading everything above, I feel like that’s a bit difficult for anyone to contest. But hey, everyone can be a shitty friend or roommate at times. I went ahead and decided to cash in on that myself! I told you I was going to move all of your things outside, under the carport.
How could I do such a thing! This was your house too! All of those things you had so kindly moved from your room into the hallway were all that you had! Your name was LEGALLY on the lease for the next few days! I just had no right to do this. How dare I try and move your things out under the carport to make your move easier and allow my new roommate to scrub gum, dead roaches, and skunk beer off of your floor. The nerve.
Well, I never did that. I told you I would in the hopes that you would finally choose to be a decent human being after fucking me over for the better half of a year. I’m not sure if what ensued happened because you knew how wrong you were, or because you’re so overbearingly ignorant, entitled, and lazy that you truly felt that I was in the wrong, but… you told on me.
Amazing, I thought, when your friends (I have no interest in claiming them as mine any longer) barged into ‘our’ house, and came to scream, curse, and threaten me in my own room. “You can’t do this! This is her house as much as yours! She is legally entitled to be here! This is so unfair, you can’t just throw her stuff out! She is so upset she is crying at work!”
That’s really got to be the worse. Crying at work. God, I would never have traded ‘crying at work’ for the past 7 months of what I put up with. Especially not for having everything I own being shit on, licked, and infested with roaches. Especially not for exterminating the thousands of those indescribably nasty, stomach-turning things from my home by myself. Especially not for the crawling feeling I had for a week when I stayed with my friends, afraid roaches were still around, or had traveled on me. Especially not for huffing every chemical under the sun to reclaim the place that was my house and responsibility. Especially not for pissing away loan money and table tips to buy those things, and replace my own. Especially not to have my only pet run off by your neglected and shitty cat for 2 months.
Yeah, crying at work sounds just terrible. Glad it ‘never’ happened to me. Since I wouldn’t know how terrible that feels, I said “I just don’t care”. In response, your friends called me a bitch, and threatened to call our landlord. I was shocked that anyone could be so ignorant and aggressive simultaneously, but I guess it happens. In response, you went ahead and tried to talk shit about me to our landlord as a follow-up. It’s a good thing someone who pays rent over a month late and threatens to terminate her lease is a reliable source. Thanks for one last attempt to fuck me over! It just wouldn’t have been complete otherwise.
Anyway, I don’t want you to come away from this thinking I have any hard feelings. I was definitely internalizing them for awhile until I more or less exploded, but luckily I’ve got an unfathomably wonderful support network of friends who have been there when the going was rough. The house is being transformed as your eyes scan over this page, and I couldn’t be more excited to start over.
The real reason I wrote this is to go ahead and put out my side of the story so our friends can have a detailed rendition at their disposal, if there are any questions. They’ll probably read it and think ‘poor you’ all over again, because after all, I am sort of a bitch I suppose. Anyway, I hope you have a nice life and best of luck in your next home.
Your former friend and roommate
- Location: ‘Our’ house
- it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Posting ID: 3974606103
Posted: 2013-08-01, 5:51PM EDT