Thursday, October 8, 2009

Housemates and "Housemates"

As some may know, I've lived in boarding houses before. These places will cram as many adults into one room as they can, squeeze as much money as they can from those adults, and serve ONE meal per day, and that's if "board" is included in the whole "room and board" thing. In the last boarding house I lived in, it was purely "fend for yourself," which wasn't easy when you don't even have the income of SSI or SSD.

The thing about a boarding house is that there are a lot of personality types crammed into one place. And that place may appear large at first, until you start jamming all those adults into it.

One example that keeps coming back to my mind is Tony. He was as nice a guy as his mental illnesses would allow. His key problem was that he was hyper-manic, and could talk your ears off all day. If there wasn't something new to discuss, he would drag out old topics to babble away about those. His favorite "old" topic involved finding his Bible, pointing to everything that spoke of "the End of Days," and then referencing all the current events that seemed to point to these prophesized signs. The first thing he would point to is "nation warring against nation," to which I would remind him that nations have been warring against one another for centuries, and Armageddon had yet to occur.

It was...tiresome.

Then there was my roommate...the one who attacked me in my sleep and made PTSD a permanent fixture on my list of issues. I thought I'd seen alcoholism, but I apparently had never seen it at its worst. Here was a guy who would get his SSI check at the start of the month, use the rest of the money to buy cheap vodka, and then be fall down, slip randomly into unconsciousness, and hallucinate regularly kind of drunk. To me, the guy who cares and tries to help when he can, the scariest part was watching his skin and eyes slowly turn yellow during those drinking binges. When the booze was gone, he would be nightmarishly ill for three days, sober up because his finances left him no choice, and then he went back to being a liar and a braggart. If this guy ever spoke the truth to me, I don't know it. And his lies were such a stretch of the imagination that they were simply impossible to believe.

My next boarding house was actually what was commonly known as a "sober house." People had to attend meetings to address their various addictions, be home by a certain time, and take care of other official needs as demanded by the State or the courts. Talk about a place I didn't belong! I'd sit and read the unabridged "Count of Monte Cristo," simply because I could, and they would cring at the over 1200 pages of story and footnotes. I would often wander off to the library, grabbing books or sitting to do research, and they simply didn't understand "that level of geek."

Now...Well, I find myself wondering and worrying over my current living situation. Experience has taught me that once you start living with other human beings, they find ways to get on one another's nerves without even trying. So far, Cody and Ray have been waging a "Nice Guy War" with me.

For example, at this moment, I am on Ray's computer, making this post, and I've turned on the volume to his speakers to listen to stuff. I've also adjusted the seat so I can sit comfortably. And yesterday, I had what could have been the start of a cold, (though I seem to be okay today). I'm bringing all of this into someone else's bedroom, and sometimes leaving without putting things back as I found them. It's not conscious...I just forget. And the paranoid, worrisome part of me wonders when and if this kind of thing will start to grate.

Time will tell. Meanwhile, I am being summoned to run off to tend to various errands. Like my old way of life, these guys tend not to supply themselves for weeks at a time, but merely days. So, for the third time since my arrival, we are off to gather our needs.

Be well, my friends. Always be well. =)

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