Years ago I had a couple of roommates. Nice guys. Got along with them. But one of them had a troubling habit. He worked an early shift so got home around 3PM. What would happen is he would sit in front of the TV, eat then go to bed. I know that doesn’t sound like a big problem, pretty much a perfect roommate you think. And it’s true, I barely saw him and when I would it was always pleasant.
But his habit was troubling. At first we just took care of it. He worked a ton of hours, it’s the least we could do. But then pissed off took over. So we mentioned it to him and he said he’d do better but that never happened. So I started doing things. Little things but, trust me, annoying things. I’d siphon gas out of his car, hide a shoe, I put the batteries on the remote in backwards. All kinds of little annoying things but I have to say that last one was my most enjoyable. Because I got to sit next to him while he pounded on the remote, pressed it like he was squishing a bug, slap it, he must have opened it a dozen times. All the while I sat there saying,
“Maybe the batteries are dead.” He knew they couldn’t be. I waited until he put in new batteries to do this.
“Maybe the remote is broken.” By the way he was slapping it he could have dislodged something.
“Why don’t you just walk to the TV and turn it on?” He wouldn’t do that, as he said, as a matter of principle. Funny how often the word principle gets mixed up with lazy.
“Maybe the batteries are in backwards.” This one I did to end his distress. And because seeing an innocent remote tortured made me almost call Sarah McLachlan.
So he opened the remote, looked at it, took both batteries out and put them back in. I figured he’d open it discover that the batteries were in backwards, swear at me then we’d both be able to get on with our lives. But nope. He just swapped them around and went back to remote bashing. I wished him luck and went on my way. When I got back many hours later I picked up the remote and opened it. The batteries were still in backwards. I laughed while putting them in the proper way envisioning him sullenly eating dinner while staring at a blank TV. That was almost torture enough for the piss poor habit he had.
When he’d eat his dinner in the living room in front of a usually working TV when he was done he’d put the plate under the table so he could put his feet there with no worries. And that wasn’t even the bad habit. The bad habit is he’d leave the dishes under the table. One, two, one may not even notice it. Six, nine, you have no choice but to notice it. All my pranks, talks, notes, once grabbing him and sticking his head under the table to see what others did had no effect. Oh sure, the physically putting his face in a dish had an effect for a while but soon he was back to his old habit.
So I had to find a way to make this go away. The other roommate had been his friend for years so wanted nothing to do with the actual event but he sure liked hearing about it. For that he was a pussy. So I had no alternative but to sign him up for free samples of feminine hygiene products and many woman related mailing lists. When he moved I made sure to update his address so he’d keep getting them for years to come.
One day the offending roommate was at work so I sprang in to action. First I pulled down the sheets of his perfectly made bed. For as sloppy he was in the common areas his room was hotel neat. Then I went back to get some dishes. And place one on every inch of his bed and under his pillows. Then I remade the bed (not as neatly but I had two weeks of dishes under there) and went about my day.
When he came in from work he went right into his routine. Kitchen for plate, empty out whatever food he’d purchased, leave the bag on the counter then wanders off into the living room. He walks past me sitting at the computer working. We exchange pleasantries and chat easily. He tells me he’s going to eat while his food is hot so I tell him to get right on that and go back to writing.
I hear the sounds of eating and the TV. After an hour or so I hear the TV shut off. Sounds of movement followed by him walking down the hall. He stops at my desk and we chat for a couple of minutes. When he’s done he bids me adieu and heads off to his room. A few minutes later I hear,
“What the fuck!”
Followed by my laughing myself into a stomach ache.
Naked and with food stuck to his body my roommate storms to where I’m sitting and asks a question I’ve heard so many times,
“What the fuck is wrong with you?”
“The dishes were piling up, I figured you didn’t see them so made sure you’d see them.”
He’s looking at me and doesn’t know what to do. I know the desire to hit me crossed his mind but that was fleeting at best. So he stood there, still naked with food falling off him, and tried to think of what to say. So he told me what happened.
You see, because he didn’t think he’d come home to a bed full of plates, he didn’t bother to check as he pulled down his blanket, sheets and tumbled into bed. If he thought that vision would cause me to rethink my sick and depraved behavior he was wrong. It only made me laugh harder and harder as I explained to him that, as sick and depraved as he finds me, I’m not the one standing there naked with pieces of veal cutlet sliding down my thigh.
I got up and walked up to him. I patted him on the shoulder and said,
“Don’t leave dishes out.” I started to walk away then stopped and turned to face him. “Because you know I have other ideas.”
He never even left a dish in the sink after that.