New York Roommate Hard Lesson Learned

IMG_7240Some posts ago, I mentioned moving into a great new spot – a room (haven’t made it yet folks) – in Brooklyn. It was great. Big, street side with a pretty decent view of the neighborhood. The woman who owned it loved on the building as much as she could afford, upgrading appliances, expanding rooms and apartments, and of course, new paint. I fell in love with the new spot, especially because my previous situation was toxic to my health.

Flashback When I first moved to New York, I had come on a wing and a prayer, like many do. I had a small savings and a one-way ticket to the Big Apple, hoping I’d land a magazine job within the first 3-6 months of moving (big dreamer… I’m a pisces).

As the time got closer for me to move, I hadn’t had a place to stay yet. I started to panic and reached out to a brand new friend (that I hadn’t met in person – connected through another friend) and asked about any leads.

Fortunately (so I thought), a friend of her friend was looking for a new roommate, desperately. The story is she (I’m going to call her Dog Face – not because she was ugly, but because she has a dog that curiously looks like her. You know how that happens) and her guy friend moved into a great spot with a backyard, spacious kitchen and living space and nice upgrades in Brooklyn. But after a few months into the year-long lease, he decided to bail because he wanted to move in with his girlfriend. I don’t think that’s the whole story based on my own personal experiences with Dog Face.

Anyway, so we chatted it up on Skype and agreed I could move in. At first I was going to get the bigger room. But closer to the move-in date, she decided to put me in the smaller room. I was cool with it, being that it still sounded like a decently sized space.

November 28th rolls around and it’s time to move in. I’ve got my boxes shipped over and a few raggedy, outdated, yard-sale finds of overstuffed luggage bags ready to go. When I arrive at the airport she says the room isn’t ready and the old roommate is still living in the apartment until the following morning. I’m thinking… oh no this bleep didn’t. Fortunately I had a friend who put me up for the night.

My alarms are going off and I’m second-guessing this whole sudden move from perfectly perfect Los Angeles to weather-stricken, small apartment having, crowded New York.

What was I thinking? Is this going to work?

Then I saddled up and decided it has to work.

The next day I anxiously went to this new place I’d soon be calling home. I’m dragging those ugly unworthy suitcases through New York city on a subway in the middle of the night. I arrived in the evening. The apartment was nice, well-kept.

My room, however, was… a closet with two windows; no carpet and dirty, naily wood floors sprinkled with paint dust.

I think the lack of expression was obvious to Dog Face. So she quickly reassured that carpet will be put in and the coat closet, located outside of my new room filled with her clothes, would be emptied during the week to make room for my California wardrobe.

I had an inflatable bed and brand new blankets. But nothing prepared me for the frigid cold that seeped through the cracks of the windows! I almost cried.

As time progressed, the relationship between me and my space didn’t get better. One of the windows was broken, a mouse lived in the wall and kept me up at nights with its scratching on the interior. I never saw it, #thankGod. But that annoying little animal almost forced me to bash open the wall and strangle it with my hands.

Horrified about this mouse/rat or whatever it was, I would share this terrible torture with others living in New York. All they’d say was, “Welcome to New York.”

Damn, I thought, my rodent-fearing Cali-based aunt’s teasing is starting to come to fruition. She’d say for months, “Why are you going to go live with all those rats?” and then she’d threaten, “Watch out for the rats.”

I digress. So there was the house mouse. Then there was Dog Face’s dog.

Over conversations via phone, email and Skype she asked if I was okay living with dogs. I said yes, but knew immediately a dog in the house is disgusting to me. They belong outside in the yard. Many don’t agree, but for me… they’re outside animals.

But her dog was little and allegedly quiet and well house-trained. She also said it didn’t shed and was people friendly.

All of that was WRONG! So wrong that I base 73% of my motivation to move out on the dog.

Working from home and talking on the phone became nearly impossible because that little weiner-dog was always yelping and barking at any living creature that would pass by the apartment. When Dog Face wasn’t home, which was a lot, it would cry all day and would act depressed. It’s fur was everywhere.

I didn’t let that pooch in my room because it shed so much. But no matter how much I kept that thing out, fur was on my clothes, my bed, my hair, just disgusting. Grossed out. Bleh!

Eventually the pooping and urinating in the house started happening. I was at my wits end. And do you know what Dog Face would say when she came home, “Oh, she had an accident.” That dog was not trained homie.

I stopped staying in the house altogether and would crash at friends’ houses.

Beyond the dog, Dog Face herself wasn’t the most pleasant and reasonable person in the world. We argued… well she argued, I spoke about things like renegotiating rent, being on the lease, keeping her animal in a restricted area, cleaning up after herself.

Once I came home and she had some friends smoking in the house.

I’m kind of square, but mostly care about my health. This chick …. Oooh this chick was right by my door puffing out loops of smoke of who knows what.

Dog Face comes to me, “Oh I wasn’t sure if you were ok with smoking or if you’re allergic.”

If you’re not sure boo boo, why give it the green light? Fortunately her friend took her happy smoking ass outside in the winter snow to finish her blunt.

Tensions were high in that place after just three months. I couldn’t stand being there. I really couldn’t have private conversations in my room with the door closed because the damned walls were so thin. Besides that, New York was cold. I think I may have suffered through depression in those months.

Actually, I started searching for apartments and rooms the first month I moved in.

One week she was gone off to Florida to visit family and that’s when I found the BK-spot. It was a better neighborhood, closer to the action and I could deal with the landlord directly. Yeah, that was a thing too.

I put a deposit down on the place and quickly packed my bags. I was basically gone before she came back. (Technically that’s not true, but I didn’t sleep there anymore).

She wouldn’t give me back my deposit. I didn’t want to fight it at first, but then I thought, “Hell no! I worked too damn hard for my money to let this dog-faced bleep hold onto it for safekeeping. #ByeFelicia!”

I took that trick to court and won! Woop! #YesLawd!

Now it’s a matter of collecting my prize. Another story…

At the end of the day, I learned that I didn’t have the worse roommate in the world, but living in New York, this was a hard lesson learned. Next time I need to ‘date’ my roomie and get some real references… her last roommate I’m sure bailed for personality conflictual reasons. But I’ll never know.

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