We were talking about the world’s worst roommates ever the other day, and my friend Eric mentioned a website called Passive Aggressive Notes that publishes creative missives between co-workers and roommates. I have only now started skimming the site, but I feel both inspired and sadly remiss that I no longer have a roommate to practice these techniques with.
I will share with you now one message I sent not with words, but in actions, and sometimes I wonder if this is why she broke the lease four months early, and left me hanging with the rent, and I would have sued her except I got all sidetracked with a bike accident and broken bones, and suddenly, it didn’t seem worth the effort.
Her name was not Veronica Gruen, but something very close to that, and she had answered a Craigslist ad I had placed. She said she was a writer and liked sushi and beer, the makings of a great roommate team, or so I thought.
I should have paid attention when she said she was a writer of erotica. In hindsight, I should have asked for writing samples, because her erotica wasn’t even good, I later learned after hours of Internet research.
It was about white flowing sheets and crap, nothing like what I write, excuse me, I mean would write, that is, if I were to ever write erotica, and I most certainly have not, no way, I mean give me some credit, you think I would write that fluff, I gave it up, I mean I don’t do that.
One source of conflict between us was her series of bounced rent checks, and that our landlord was growing irritated, and was threatening to evict us.
“I really need to find a way,” she wrote in an e-mail, “to ask (our landlord) to cash the checks sooner, because, sigh, he waits too long, and that is why they keep bouncing!”
Our other source of conflict was that she left her make up jars and bins all over the bathroom, with their contents spilling out onto the counter and floor.
Then another one — my personal ax to grind — were the balls of her curly hair, six inches in diameter, on the shower walls in one big clump. Each day, there would be a new one. I was amazed that one person could grow that much hair. What I missed collected in the shower drain.
As I reflect on this, that is what I disliked the most. Months of direct discussions, and then passive aggressive notes, were not bringing the message home. The water was not draining from the shower, leaving a bathtoom filled of stale, stinky shower water for days at a time. Fortunately, I could shower at the pool at Marin Academy, across the street, but I feared what was really growing in there.
I needed a stronger, more powerful approach.
A friend visiting from Seattle, passive-aggressive in her own right (I would only say this in writing in my blog, and never to her face), thought of a brilliant plan. Let’s cut the the hair out of the drain, and leave it on her pillow.
I wonder where Veronica Gruen is now, sometimes.