When I was 17, I ran away from home. My best friend’s parents were kind enough to take me in until school was finished. But as soon as my last exam was written, they started hinting broadly that perhaps it was time I got both a job and the hell out of their house.

So, I moved in with a girl I met in a coffee shop in the wee hours one morning after the bars closed. Her name was Robin and the whole idea of us being roommates had disaster written all over it from the very beginning.

Robin was a very old 19. For one thing she was DIVORCED. At 19.  (Which sounds even crazier from where I’m sitting now than it did from where I was sitting back then.) 

For another thing, Robin was probably psychotic.

She would have episodes where, for no discernable reason, she’d suddenly completely freak out and start screaming and throwing and breaking stuff and threatening violence against herself and others. Fortunately (or unfortunately) she usually did this when I had people over. 

Robin never did any cleaning.  Never. She’d just leave her dishes where she happened to be when she ate off them. She dropped her clothes wherever she took them off.  If I said anything she’d say, “Hey, I don’t care what the place looks like. If you want it clean, you clean it”

When she ran out of clean clothes, she’d “borrow” mine (without asking) — including my underwear.  Sometimes I had to look for my clothes in her room. It was really scary in there. The underwear I let her keep.

She also “borrowed” my food and my money if I was careless enough not to lock it up somewhere.

She’d bring home strange men from bars. Sometimes she’d bring home two or three and go to her room with one of them and “leave the rest for me.” I had a good lock put on my bedroom door.

One day while I was at work, Robin moved out. She took all her stuff and most of mine. I never saw her again.

I lived on my own for a long time after that.

Over the years, however,  I had four more roommates – two female and two male. Both of the female roommates were great. The males were more like relationships than roommates so those situations were all tangled up with stuff outside of sharing accommodations, so they weren’t quite so great in the long run.

Which brings me to the roommate I have now. Let’s call her “Jr.” She may be the second worst roommate I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong — she’s a lovely, lovely person – but she kind of sucks as a roommate.

She pays none of the bills, for instance. Ya, that’s right. I pay ALL the bills and pay for all the groceries and toiletries – I even pay for transportation, vacations, school, electronics, some of her clothes, and pretty much everything else.

But, since she hardly makes any money, I don’t really mind paying all the bills. The worst part is that she’s really, really messy.

Her room is 2-feet deep in clothes and who-knows-what else. I don’t know how she manages to emerge from there each day looking immaculately groomed, coiffed and dressed.

I don’t have to look at her room, so that’s not so bad. I keep the door closed and hope nothing ever escapes from there. But she’s just as messy in the rest of the house. For instance, her bathroom is also the main bathroom and the one that guests use. So it would be nice for it to not look like the toilets at Cleetus’ Highway 12 Gas-Up ‘n’ Go.

I ask, I tell, I beg her to keep that bathroom clean. She keeps telling me it is clean and yet it really, really isn’t. Does she just not see the green stuff growing in her toothbrush holder or the dark ring around the inside of the tub?  I don’t understand.

And she can just walk through the kitchen to turn it from tidy and shiny to sticky and smeary. Let’s say she makes a peanut butter sandwich. There will be a trail of crumbs from the toaster, across the counter and down to the floor. There will be peanut butter and jam on the fridge handle, on the cupboard doors and on the cutlery drawer. Sometimes even on the stove though she doesn’t, as far as I know, need the stove to make a peanut butter sandwich.

The knife will have an entire sandwich-worth of peanut butter on it still and will be stuck to the counter. The plate, I will find somewhere in the house —eventually. Or it, along with a stack of other dishes, will re-appear during the Annual Cleaning of Her Room Event.

And she never re-fastens the lids to anything. After using the peanut butter or the jam or the juice or whatever, she just gently places the lid on the jar. So the next time I go to take something out of the fridge, I end up holding a lid. The jar and everything in it end up all over the floor.

I’ve tried paying her to do the weekly cleaning in hopes that it will help her recognize what a pain it is when you don’t clean up as you go along. But I soon realized that things were actually getting dirtier when she was responsible for the cleaning. I’d pull dishes out of the cupboard that still had actual food on them – not streaks or crusty spots, but puddles of ketchup, smears of egg and once I even found a French fry on a plate stuck to some gluey ketchup.

I give up. I’m tired of arguing about it. I think it’s just easier to do it myself and then grumble and blog about it.

How is/are your roommate(s)??

Have you ever had a roommate from hell?

Any innovate ideas on how I can get mine to pitch in?