After Rob’s Creep Palace I kept hitting duds housing-wise and finally thought I’d found a good lead in a group house with two roommates looking for a third. Reasonably priced and super close to a stop on the subway line I use for work I set up a time to meet. Walking to the place after work I was happy to find a large townhouse super close to the subway that looked relatively decent outside. I rang the doorbell and before I knew it a lean, red-haired woman around my age opened up the door, introduced herself as Heather*, and welcomed me into the house.
She started showing me around beginning with a cozy living room with random old furniture and bookcases followed by a huge open dining room and then a small kitchen. In the kitchen she excitedly told me that the kitchen would pretty much be ours since Steve doesn’t really use it. Nonchalantly she proceeded to say Steve has his own kitchen set-up in his room. Well, that’s kind of fucking odd, I thought to myself. I continued my mini tour and began to wonder if I could really feel comfortable in this house. It was cute in the downstairs, but definitely had a sparsely furnished, creeky, haunted house type vibe going on that left my just a bit unease. The woman showing my around then led me upstairs to show me what my room would look like.
At the top of the stairs she pointed to the right and noted her room was at that end of the landing, then directly ahead she said this is the bathroom for everyone. She walked in and pulled a string attached to the lightbulb in the middle of the ceiling to turn the lights on. As the lights went on I quickly realized it was not only a stark, but dirty bathroom. Shit looked like it would be found in a haunted prison. At that point my mind was screaming “ABORT MISSION” and I pasted an awkward smile on my face throwing in a few “uh huhs” and “oh okays” until I could make a break for it.
Leaving the bathroom, she pointed to the door right next to it and noted that’s Steve’s room. He’s in there most of the time. Then on the opposite wall she lead me into what would be my bedroom. As she flicked on the lights I saw a creepy ass twin bed with SHIT all over it. Everything from old creepy, weird toys, to books and outdoorsy shit like tennis rackets. On a table and in the corner of a room were boxes with old clothing falling out of them. But the creepiest fucking thing of all was that the bed was pushed up against a door that had been bolted shut and had a bookshelf installed across the top of it. “This would be cleaned up before you moved in, she noted.” But I didn’t give a flying fuck about that point. “Uhm where does that door lead?” I stammered out. “Oh, that door? Hmm, I’m not sure actually.”
At this point I hear a door creep open and she goes, “This is my roommate Steve!” Steve, who is clearly 45 or older and sporting a long white creepy beard, glasses, and awkward skiddishness that embodies what I imagine the lovechild of Gandolf and Frankenstein to look like. Oh, FUCK no. Mentally at war between my emotional response and need to be polite, I quickly introduced myself. I imagine if it weren’t for social norms this is the point that I would run from the fucking house screaming like a cartoon character.
“Steve,” Heather asked. “Do you know where that door leads?”
“Oh, yeah. That goes to my bedroom.” He replied as if that was the most normal shit ever.
“Oh, really, wow!” Heather said like that was also the most normal shit ever.
Me? I’m sure I looked completely weirded the fuck out. They proceeded to lead me back downstairs and try to get my thoughts as I tried to lower their expectations and put the kibosh on our time together. Finally I thanked them for showing me around and got the fuck out of there. Lesson learned: if the ad just lists “fun, easy going, roommates” and doesn’t mention even the age range (e.g. roommates in their 20s-30s) and you are somewhat disinclined to share a wall with a creepy 45 year old man…you may want to ask that in your first email about the apartment. Also, consider asking, “Is there a bolted door between my room and the 45 year old mans?” or “Is there oodles of creepy shit sitting on creepy furniture in the room.” Apparently none of these questions are that irrational.