Life Lesson, Part 1: I wanted the roommate experience, right?

So after getting home from the Shuswap I decided to try to be positive about my new, weird place on Commercial. I got along really well with the UK couple, and the other roommate, Trent, was also very sweet.

But then, one fateful Friday night …

I had decided to stay home and relax, since I’d been moving all over and was pretty tired. As I settled in to binge watch Netflix on the couch, imagine, if you would, this scene unfolding …

1. This front door:
front door
2. The couch is immediately visible from the large, side window next to that door.
3. I am in my PJs, on said couch.
4. Two men walk up the steps and knock on the door.

I wish it had been a bad joke about how two men walk into a bar, but … it wasn’t. I briefly considered hiding and not answering the door, but then they waved at me … and actually, even then, I thought, “Maybe if I suddenly become narcoleptic and pretend to fall asleep, they will go away.” Or maybe a unicorn will come and head-butt them away … just as likely …

As you can predict, they did not magically go away. So I mustered my introverted courage and answered the door.

Meet Jake and Ryan.

Jake is about 6’3″, wearing black, paint-stained pants, beige steel-toe boots, and a dirty black graphic tee. He is carrying two plastic bags and a backpack, and has a surprised expression on his face when he sees me in my PJs answering the door.

Ryan is about 5’9″, has long, blonde dreads, is also wearing a backpack with black pants and a graphic tee. Ryan is sheepishly waiting three steps down and is basically hiding behind Jake. Our interaction goes something like this:

J: “Hey, is Trent home?”
Me: “Nope.”
J: “Do you know when he’ll be home?”
Me: “Nope.” (And also, I’m sorry what? I just met Trent two weeks ago. Why would I know where he is?!”
J: “Oh, hmm.”
*15 second awkward silence*
J: “Tricky because I was supposed to meet him here but now don’t know where he is and my cell phone just died.”
*I stare at him, waiting for …*
J: “Hey is there any chance I could charge my phone on your deck with an outside outlet? I really don’t know where else to go if I can’t get a hold of any of my friends”

For me this meant one of two things: first, that he was going to wait around my house, on my front steps, until Trent came home because he couldn’t charge his phone, or alternatively that he was going to charge his phone and let me get the eff back to my life. So next thing I know we are on the back deck, and I can immediately see how I was manipulated into this whole situation.

There is no outlet outside. Duh.

Long story short, yes, the phone ended up in my house. No, the two transient weirdos did not. They settled in on my deck and opened a couple of beers, instead. They offered me one, I accepted (I was going to get SOMETHING out of this). However mostly I was praying he’d put his phone on airplane mode or something to speed this up. Or that Trent would magically come home and save me. I had The Mindy Project to watch.

Regardless of Mindy, the two men launched into conversation, and I subsequently felt like I was teleported to an alternate universe. I’ll have to split this into two posts because boy, this … was fucking weird.

Part 1 – “I did not have sexual relations with … ahem, did not assault … that woman.”

So now that these strangers were settled and happy on my deck, they told me about why they had no where else to go. Jake recounts a tragic background tale about how was from Ontario but slowly made his way west. He bragged about how he had lived all over Ontario, panhandling and subletting where he could. Then, a few months ago as he was living in Kelowna, a friend of his in Vancouver told him she was moving out of her place and that he should come take her room. He had wanted to make a move to the city, so accepted, sight unseen.

Some time later, he and the roommates start having words. Turns out, he said, they are meth addicts.

My inside voice: Wait, what? Just like that? SURPRISE! We are addicted to crystal meth! 

Also, they were dog-owning meth addicts, and to Jake it seemed that they were always upset at him for not taking care of the dog. “But it wasn’t my dog, right?” he says to me, hoping for support. “Right …” I reply. But more importantly, my inside voice asked, “THEY ARE METH ADDICTS. Why do you live with METH ADDICTS?”meth

J: “Ya, I’m just glad they didn’t do any bad drugs otherwise.”

My inside voice: Wait, is meth like an intermediate, normal drug or something? This is technically my first encounter with someone whose lived experience causes him to think, “thank goodness they only do meth, right?” Am I out of touch with today’s youth? Is this normal? Oh shoot, he’s continued on with his story and I’ve forgotten to listen… 

As I caught up, I gathered that he used to store his bike in an area where the whole house stored its valuables. Laptops, speakers, bikes, whatever. One day he came home and his bike was missing, but the rest of the items were untouched.

J: “Had to have been them. Nothing else was missing.”
Me: “Why would they do that, though?”
J: “They were mad that I had left the gate open and their dog got out one day. But it’s impossible that I did it because I was only out for an hour getting graffiti markers and I closed the gate. I think. Oh, and I think because they were trying to score some Ice.”
Me: “Oh right, that old chestnut.”

His story goes on to describe a yelling match between him and the roommates. The meth-heads went to their room in a huff, and he followed because he wanted to know where his bike was. They yelled some more, and then, unable to withhold the injustice of it all, Justin slammed his fist into the door frame and took a chunk of the door frame with it.

The Crystal-addicted couple called the police, claiming assault.

J: “I only punched the door. Not them, I swear. But the cop didn’t believe me and I ended up in the jail cell.”

[At this point, I am staring blankly at guy-who-was-in-jail-last-week-and-is-now-on-my-porch …]

The police arrested him, but released him the next day because the Glass-addicted roommates couldn’t press charges. Drug addicts typically don’t have any money …

Now while Jake waited for the court hearing, he was evicted and wasn’t allowed to go to near the house. He sent a friend to get his things, and as it turns out, the Crystal-couple had poured liquid all over his laptop and other electronics.

J: “They dumped water all over my electronic drum set! I used to jam with that stuff on the corner and, man, I would make a killing.”
Ryan (otherwise silent) lends his support: “Heh heh heh … you’re so good at that shit man!”
J: “It was worth, like, $800”
Inside voice me: “Ya … right …”

So in summary the Ice-Ice Baby roommates moved out. He got evicted. His shit is all ruined. And now he doesn’t have a home, or stuff, including his extremely valuable electronic drum set thing. Hence the plastic bags and him now colouring with graffiti markers on my porch while Ryan rolls a tobacco cigarette. At this point I actually felt for Jake, because I couldn’t ever imagine what I would do if something like that happened to me. If I ever suddenly had no where to go.

Is the phone charged yet?

Read on for Part 2: Tupac, panhandling, and if I really wanted to …



2 responses

  1. Pingback: Life Lesson Part 2: I wanted the roommate experience, right? | Disclosed Moments

  2. Pingback: How Vancouver’s West End Healed My Soul | Disclosed Moments

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