It’s the Little Things That Make You Crazy


I’ve made friends with a fellow writer who’s been here at my apartment complex for a few months. He’s 69 and looks younger than me, the bastard.

He’s already run into trouble with one of a couple of the German girls who have just moved in — and in fairness he was right but hell, they’re 19 or so and aren’t terribly bright. Ya gotta cut ’em some slack, right?

There’s one fan in the main living room and he’s kind of owned the space of this one desk for 3 months now. There’s an overhead fan that is completely useless and a small oscillating fan that he places on a counter pointed at him while he works. Now, one of these ladies (my direct neighbor — we share a bathroom) has been here three days now and already the two of them have what we might politely call ‘history’.

There are only about 3 decent-sized pans in the kitchen and on her first night here, she uses all three and leaves them sitting in the kitchen (one coated with burned rice which will, of course, turn to concrete by the morn). I end up cooking my pasta in a tiny-ass pot, refusing to clean up her mess.

Mike, the writer, being a just-barely-crabbier version of myself, takes the dirty pots and places them outside her door as a not-overly-subtle hint — it’s a house of 8 rooms and 7 of ’em can’t cook now because she’s too lazy to clean up after herself.

I miss the action, but apparently they have words after this.

So today it comes to a head. He gets up from his desk to go to the boy’s room (leaving his laptop, water bottle and associated doo-dads behind — it’s obvious that he’s returning) and she turns the fan so that it doesn’t point at him but at her and her friend.

He returns, sees the fan and points it back at his table. She –pardon my rudimentary French– loses her shit. A total screaming match ensues with her exclaiming that he’s not being fair because he isn’t ‘sharing’. “It’s a public place — why should you have the fan?”

I try to stay out of it — he’s pissed and loud and she’s purposely provoking a fight. I understand that this is the 2nd or 3rd time they’ve clashed already and in my mind, she’s being a spoiled little asshole and he’s not exactly being overly tolerant of that fact. I don’t think many would.

He keeps saying: “if you need a fan go to your room and bring it in here — that’s what everyone does” (and this is true).

Finally, I’m tired of listening to it all, so I spend the whole 20 seconds it takes me to walk to my room, grab my fan, carry it back, plug it in and point it at her. “I’m just sharing,” I say with a smile.

“You don’t know anything,” she snarls. “You didn’t see me move it and how he was being so selfish.”

“Oh, yes I did,” I replied. “I saw it all. And when you moved the fan, did you set it to oscillate, to move back and forth?” I pantomime a fan moving side to side. “No,” she admits, arms crossed, chin in the air.

“Then you weren’t exactly sharing either, were you?”

Five minutes later she and her friend are gone, hopefully to find a new place.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Turner March 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Had the same issue with a roommate who refused to clean up his dishes, leaving them clogging the sink and other people unable to cook. I kept leaving them in front of his door and he acted like I was the one creating the problem.


Hannah @ Getting Stamped March 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm

HILARIOUS! Some people just don’t get it….that’s ridiculous about the pots, I would have done the same thing! I would have maybe clashed them in front of her door at 7am gotten her a$$ up and told her to wash them because I wanted to make breakfast! Hopefully you won’t encounter them again!


Charli l Wanderlusters March 23, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Oooo dear :( this is a perfect reenactment of my first year at Uni. I lived in halls with six others and one boy refused to clean up after himself. Each night he would utilize every available implement in the kitchen and then leave them in the sink coated in whatever he had cooked. After two weeks I began depositing them outside his door with a post it note asking him to kindly wash them. This continued for almost a month. In the end I bought my own set of pans and utensils and kept them in my room. The pile outside his door continued to grow until someone else complained to the management office and a lady came round and forced him to wash the whole lot!

I’ll never understand how people can be so self centered, arrogant and down right lazy.


Tim March 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I guess it don’t matter were you go in the world some people just live to piss people off.


mandy March 23, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Ah the joys of shared living space. This is why I try to avoid those kinds of houses. I once shared a house with a guy who did the same thing with the kitchen – except he’d cook Thursday night and not come home again until Monday night. We discussed it twice. The third time I out all the dirty stuff in his bed for the weekend. He stopped being a problem after that. :-)


Gray March 23, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Dear God. How do parents live with themselves when they raise selfish creatures like that and then unleash them on an unsuspecting world? Love the way you handled it.


neale March 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Oh the fun of shared living :-) I would always try & find someone to eat with me offering to cook in return for doing the dishes, worked well every one likes free food :-)


Jeremy Branham March 24, 2013 at 12:45 am

Well that sounds like fun! What drama. I think I am too old for that. Good luck with it Wes!


Matthew Karsten March 24, 2013 at 1:31 am

I’ve had fan issues with a group of young Swedish girls in a hostel. They’d stay out all night, come back and turn my fan on themselves while I was sleeping when they had their own. It was ridiculous. So I began turning all the fans off when I left early in the morning, turning our room into an unbearable sauna while they slept through their hangovers. :D


wes March 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Love it!


Wrabbit007 March 26, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Clever! And cheeky. What a great combination! ;)


Arianwen March 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm

It baffles me how people in shared living spaces can be so inconsiderate of other people. Well done keeping your cool and pointing out their double standards in a civilised manner!


Maria March 25, 2013 at 5:45 pm

*laugh* Oh my – sounds like a story with my neighbors. It’s a challenge, daily, especially with ‘kids’ but I think you handled it very well. Kudos Wes!


Glenn March 25, 2013 at 5:53 pm

for some reason, when you described your fan pantomime, I could only picture Harvey Korman…


wes March 26, 2013 at 9:27 am

Drugs are bad, Glenn ;)


Jonathan Look, Jr. March 25, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Aren’t people so lovely sometimes? Reminds me of all the tourists around here, traipsing around, acting like the only people in the world.


Carlo March 26, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Crazy stuff Johnny! There are some really annoying people in the world who go out of their way just to make life difficult for others.


Red Hunt March 26, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Why can’t we all just get along?
Such an easy issue to resolve without problems, ahhh I’ve seen plenty of these kind of things happen in hostels, especially when it comes to cooking and cleaning, wow…meal time can be dangerous in hostels.


Wrabbit007 March 26, 2013 at 8:42 pm

No doubt her travel blog is filled with stories of how she is such a free-spirited, tolerant traveler who will regale you with tales of how to travel ‘properly’. Make sure to follow all her tips! ;)


wes March 27, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Agreed. She’s the kind of person who spends a few days in a country and then tries to tell you how she’s ‘figured out the local culture’. Expats sit there and laugh at such people. They’ve been here/there for 10-20.. sometimes 30 years and they *still don’t* know it. And they’re smart enough to realize that…


creative nomad March 30, 2013 at 7:09 am

HAHA love it! We had the same problem with a spoilt little girl, she would leave her dirty dishes on the sink for days and then complain that nobody cleans and she is the only one that does it


Shivangi April 1, 2013 at 2:43 am

It’s always the little things i tell ya. I had fungus grow out of a pot waiting for my then flat-mate to clean up. It went from yellow to green to purple to undescribable !


Jeff at Planet Bell April 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm

I had housemates like that before. I ended up keeping my dishes in my room and I let their nasty dishes pile up. Maybe that was week on my part – I should have put them outside her door.


Apryl April 6, 2013 at 2:08 am

The brat! Have zero tolerance for this type of people, we would have clashed at every opportunity too. Oh, but how you tell the story :D I always find myself lounging here and anticipating another crazy story!


Rob Danforth April 22, 2013 at 11:32 am

Just had a meal in one of the popular Miami steak houses that had almost the exact same paintings on the wall! Thanks for a great travel blog!


Perfect Travellers May 30, 2013 at 4:23 am

Hahah…reminds me of college days!