Saturday, August 28, 2010

People who do and people who don't

Mariana finally moved in on Thursday evening. We've been friends for 10 years or something, and I don't think there's anyone who knows either of us better than we know each other, save for perhaps our families.

She's not the industrious type and never has been. I've sort of gotten used to it, because for years now her idea of me coming over to visit consisted of us sitting on her couch and her watching TV. (I don't like TV in general.) When she visited my house, I always tried to be a good host, offering her things to do like playing games, heading down the street to the park to play frisbee, cooking something that she always said she'd like to learn how to cook, etc. But usually we ended up watching a movie or something. And I'm realizing that there are people in this world who do (who like to never sit still) and people who don't (who would rather just not do anything).

Mariana is someone who doesn't.

Living with someone like that is very different from being friends with them. When you're friends with them, you suck it up while you're together and then when you go home, you just do all the things you've been aching to do while you were with them. But when they are home, it makes it difficult. And it makes it impossible to get them to help you with things around the house that need to be done, because they don't really...do anything.

Yesterday I was up at 7am. I went into the kitchen and--as quietly as possible--ate a quick breakfast and started doing things around the kitchen. She didn't have much space in the fridge, so I thought I'd make space. That involved making some soup to get rid of some vegetables. Then, while it was cooking, I found the rest of some cookie dough in the fridge from her favourite cookies that I made on Thursday for her arrival, so I baked the rest of them up. By that time, I had a fair number of dishes, so I put away the ones in the dish rack and washed the new ones. The dishwasher was full but hadn't be run, so I did that. The living room was messy, so I tidied it. I took the linens out of the drier and put them in the linen closet.

At 10:30 my friend comes downstairs. She goes in the fridge, cooks herself hotdogs for breakfast (nutritious, much?), and goes to put something in the garbage. She says to me, "You need to put the garbage out. It's getting full."

I let her have it in no uncertain terms. I told her it was very nice of her to sleep in until 10:30 and then come downstairs and bark orders at the person who's been trying to keep busy all morning. She told me she'd been up for hours because I (very cruelly) woke her up, and that she'd been doing all sorts of things upstairs. But they're all personal grooming things (which, last time I checked, didn't count as doing any real work, and certainly don't benefit anyone but her). And yet she thought it was appropriate to tell me to take the garbage out when I hadn't even taken a break to shower yet. Rich.

She wanted to work out the problem with the TV in her room, so she called the cable company. While on hold, she devoured several of the cookies I'd made this morning and told me about how she should stay busy so she's not thinking about her ex-boyfriend all the time. I offered some suggestions of things that had to be done.  This included vacuuming, which she offered to do on Thursday night. (When she moved in, all of her stuff was covered in dust and my floor had been spotless, but now it looks awful and the landlady is coming tomorrow.) She proceeded to lie down on the couch and stare at the ceiling. "I'll do it later."

She told me she had to go to the mall to make a return, and that I should come with her and show her around the new neighbourhood and such. I agreed. I had to have a quick shower, so I did. When I had dressed, I went to her room and told her I was ready to go, to which she replied, "But Arthur is on. Can you give me half an hour?" Trying to be patient, I went back to my room and started killing time. I didn't want to start anything major so that in half an hour we could just leave, rather than listening to her complain at me for holding her up some more. But half an hour came and went. After about an hour, I knocked on her door and discovered she had fallen asleep. She tells me she has to do her makeup still, which will only take her half an hour.

So finally, at about 1:30, more than an hour and a half after I got in the shower, we finally left the house. At the mall, she couldn't make her return because she had forgotten one of the parts at home.

We get home and she puts on more hotdogs, because her aunt is bringing her two kids over and supposedly they like hotdogs. She asked me to join them and I felt strange saying no because her aunt is so wonderful, so I agreed to. When auntie got there, Mariana showed her around the house and in the mean time, the hotdogs were boiling over and making an unholy racket on the stove, so I had to watch them for her. 15 minutes later, she's still in her room with her little cousin playing guitar. I set the table and get everything out, and as soon as I sit on the couch to read, she comes down with her aunt, who's the one who said, "Oh my God, I'm so sorry, is there anything I can do? Thank you so much for doing everything..." The boys don't want hotdogs, so we eat and they play. And afterwards, her aunt is trying to do the dishes, so I have to practically wrestle them out of her hands and do them myself, because Mariana is still on the living room floor with her cousin.

When the troop goes home, I try to mention to her gently that the floor was considerably neater before she arrived and I'm a little embarrassed for the landlady to see it for the first time like this, especially when the whole time before she got there I worked so hard to keep it spotless. My friend gets touchy and tells me my idea of clean is exaggerated and that all it needs is a sweep, which she'll do if I really think this is dirty. I tell her it is. She says, "Fine, I'll sweep." She goes upstairs and starts watching TV. The living room is also full of her stuff that needs unpacking, but when I try to tell her, "touchy" is an understatement. At this point, I think I may have to physically force her to do something.

It's driving me crazy. I just don't get how people can sit in front of a TV all day and not feel like they're accomplishing nothing with their life. She's been surly with me since she got here, which I can't help but think has a lot more to do with her than with me. It's bad for the morale to feel useless, and with the number of constructive things she's doing (which is zero), she surely must feel useless. Or at least I would.

Our third roommate is a guy. She wasn't happy about it because she told me it would be difficult to get him to share the housework. Interesting, that.

I need him before the two of us kill each other.

3 Comments:

Blogger sfswebmiss said...

Gosh I just love this post! Whilst reading it I was constantly reminded that friends must remain friends you don't live with! Housemates will be housemates, and you must have a separate group of friends.

Quite a few of my friends would be agony to live with. But I love them for their flaws - flaws perhaps I wouldn't be so lenient with if I was living with them 24/7. I firmly believe housemates should be out of your friend circle as to avoid disaster should the way they live seriously get on your nerves.

You seem a wonderfuly busy person whilst Mariana (lovely name!) is obviously the opposite - can you see you guys living together for long?

August 30, 2010 at 1:40 PM  
Anonymous lucy said...

Hi Jade,
That was such a wondrous post you wrote in the sense that I read it almost like a story. I was kind of surprised that you and her have been friends for so long, yet she doesnt sound like she has many responsibilities in mind. I don't undermine her friendship with you as I'm sure she is a good friend to you, but as a roommate, it seems as though she does not treat you with much respect or care for anyone but herself. I have been through roommates like this where I had to do a lot of the work, but now that I live on my own, I don't have to bother with having to clean up after everyone.

I admire your thoughtfulness as I try to accommodate my former roommates as well, but sometimes you just can't take all of this. It's not fair to you and she should do some of the work.
I hope things get better for you, and that maybe you can talk to her about it.
10 years is a long time.

Have great rest of the week Jade!

August 31, 2010 at 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Holy mother of God!
Now, I'm a doesn't, myself.
I admit it.
It comes from growing up the way I did.
No one liked to clean, basically.
But yeah...this lady? Takes the cake.
And frosts it.

I think if I moved in, and especially if it was a friend or relative...I'd at least try to be on the clean-up crew. A household is a team, apparently she didn't get that memo.

I think things can only get worse, and maybe if you tell her that she needs to think about changing some bad habits, for the sake of your sanity and your friendship with her, in a nice but meaningful way...it'll be ok?
I hope so!

Sometimes it's just not a good idea to have roomies. I sho nuff found that out the hard way!

September 2, 2010 at 2:18 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home