The poet whispers it quietly, and the careless ear misses it, hiding there in the background… “Anger is a Gift.”
Last Friday night, my roommate began to cook some fish fillets. You know the ones, the breaded cod you buy by the bagful. The ones which take 15 minutes, go fine with tartar sauce, but are kinda dry. They finished cooking, but he was too drunk to remember them. The next morning I woke up coughing, and discovered the two little lumps of coal in the skillet in the oven, which had been left on all night. My roommate snoring loudly in his room, blissfully unaware of what I only caught on my way out the door to work.
The oven door’s hinges were bent out by a previous occupant, so it never comes within a half-inch of actually closing. This means it will fill the apartment with smokey steam even while tended. It’s also why I have not used it. Something to look for when apartment hunting, since no landlord ever fixes anything the first time. It’s also worth noting that my roommate is not on any lease, and I’m letting him stay there for free. That also means I’m responsible for any damages that exist, which I was starting to worry about given my roommate’s propensity to pretty much set dirty food refuse down wherever he was sitting.
Fast forward to last night (a Wednesday), and my roommate is getting drunk again. I interrupt his YouTube time wastage to setup Xgl and compiz on the Ubuntu partition I had created for him, and he starts to put fish in the same skillet, and into the stove. I remind him of his last drunken fish escapade, and he swears that it will not happen again. I note that he is drunk out of his mind, and what happened the last time. I finish the Xgl configuration and install the BZFlag 2.0.8 LTS package I had laying around, and then slump off to bed.
Around an hour later, failing to sleep, and give in and go to check if the oven is still on. If it is, that’s OK, though it would be extremely unsettling to discover that your roommate is in the process of nearly burning the house down in the exact the same way he did a week ago. If only.
I round the corner into the Kitchen—hoping to check on the oven just on the other side—and discover my roommate standing over the sink, pissing all over the counter. Quite literally, all over the counter. Up onto the wall. On the dirty dishes. Everywhere. I cannot possibly describe my rage other than to note it began with “WHAT THE FUCK!?” and continued on to “CIVILIZED HUMAN BEING;” the closest thing he offered to an explanation is “I’m fucked up.” I told him I wanted him out. It was true, at that moment I did want him to leave.
I wake up this morning, and something is off. I go to the bathroom and discover black streaks on the white shirt I slept in. There’s a weird smell, but I’m still trying to figure out what happened to my clothes, which I just washed yesterday. Immediately I’m thinking “pen in the laundry.” But I can’t find anything else noticibly off about my clothes. The next thing I notice is something black on the back of my fan. After that, it’s noticing that the air conditioner seems black. Then its noticing the mass of soot on the front of the oven, above the door. Like the etched shadow of a nuclear victim, it records for posterity exactly where the now vaporized skillet handle and fish fillets floated by.
My roommate promises solumnly that it will be “spotless” by the time I get home from work.
11 hours later, I return from work, and it’s been gone over with a wet paper towel. The surface crap is gone, leaving the “stuck-on” burn marks on the oven, a fine dusting of soot covering everything, and the smeared soot marks on the tiles behind and to the side of the oven. There is a note explaining that he went to Wal-Mart to get cleaning supplies. I calculate the time I was out of the apartment. I’m exploding. I decide that he will be out of the apartment by the end of the weekend. I consider four days more than fair at this point.
And so I decide to check a former fuckup of his: Media (CDs, DVDs, etc.) that had ended up on his closet shelf, having migrated from a box in the front room. I figured it was his girlfriend that put them there, so I just informed him that I had found my stuff in his closet, and I’d appreciate it if he could treat my stuff with a little more respect. Come to find today, there are plenty of my DVDs and CDs laying among the food garbage and cigarette butts on his carpet. I begin to pick them up, and come across a picture.
The picture is of me and my ex-girlfriend, and on the back is written a very personal note to myself: a catalogue of the lessons I learned, and mistakes I would never make again. I had stuck this picture in my CD book so I wouldn’t loose it, and it wouldn’t get ruined. It’s the only picture I have of us together, and on the back is the closest thing to a “personal diary” I have ever kept. He had found and read it earlier, and came in talking some locker-room “yeah, right on, dude” bullshit. I yelled at him then, and coldly instructed him to put the photo in my room. He kept it and it has apparently been floating around his bedroom ever since.
So I yelled louder than I have ever yelled before, and promptly began throwing his stuff out into the hall. Speakers, computer (not thrown, set down) furniture, air-mattress, food, clothes, garbage, everything. Nearing the end, I call him up and inform him to return. He returns ten minutes later with a three-pack of paper towels and some wire sponges. I reiterate why exactly I am
I know I should feel like a heel for doing this. Hell, this whole entry is my own little self-justification (either that or a way to push all this venom onto you, gentle reader).
But I don’t feel sorry. I don’t even really feel guilty for throwing him into the street less than 24 hours after joking around with him. The cigarette-ash-and-moldy-tv-dinner ambiance which he extended over not only his own room but the front room. The dirty clothes scattered about the entire apartment. The spilt ravioli sauce on his bedroom floor, still not cleaned up. The requiring the door remain unlocked so he can avoid settling his debt with the landlord (and thus signing onto the lease). That’s the backstory. If you think I’ve a mind to deal with that stuff and the events of the last 24 hours, on top of my work schedule of 9 hours a day of tech support, others’ incompetance, and worthless meetings precluding the attainment of Programming Zen, you are sadly, sadly mistaken.