If you’re just joining me in the recounting of the weirdest roommate experience of my life, please flashback for a moment and read here. Otherwise, I’ll pick up where I left off, with Jake having just told me about how unfair it was that his meth-head roommates screwed him over and sent him to jail.
Yes, you read that right.
The conversation was dragging on, bouncing from one intellectual (not) tidbit about the Bass Coast Music Festival, to another tidbit about how the two stoners could build a house on the Sunshine Coast “if they really wanted to.” To stay in it, I needed another beer. Even at beer two, though, I was behind, because by this point, 20 minutes had passed and J. & R. had drunk 6 beers between the two of them.
As I came back and opened my second beer, the two proudly began to show me their recent Hastings Market purchases. New shoes, an Atari with no connector cords, and a pair of socks.
Ryan, who until this point hadn’t contributed much more than a stoned laugh or a supportive statement to Jake’s woeful tales, told us about how he only spent five dollars at the market.
R: “I got these sweet pedals for my guitar. These cool lookin’ comics (you never know when they’ll be vintage, amiright?)”
Me: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
My inside voice: Was that too far in sarcasm? Oops.
R: “Ya, exactly! See you get it.”
My inside voice: Guess not …
R: “I don’t know if the pedals actually work, but the way I figure is if they don’t it was only a twoonie. If they do, I saved some serious cash.”
Then it was Jake’s turn. He pulled out one of his plastic bags and revealed a relatively nice pair of Dickies shoes.
J: “They are 2 sizes too small, and I haven’t tried them on, but I figured, if they do fit, it was a score for $5.”
R: “Ya, I’m not sure if the Atari works either, but I could make a killing if it does!”
My inside voice: I see a theme here …
As we moved on from the Hastings Shopping Network gallery, Ryan consumed more beer and began to share more about his life. He was originally from New Mexico, but moved to Cleveland, Ohio. When his brother joined the army during the 9/11 era, he decided to take a different approach and make his way to Canada. On his way up to Canada, he wound up passing through Detroit. While he described a desolate and abandoned Detroit scene, my thoughts turned immediately to the recession in which a broken auto-industry destroyed the economy and caused people to abandon Detroit. Before I could open my mouth to share that sentiment, however, Ryan chimed in with:
R: “All those abandoned buildings sure make for amazing places to have a warehouse parties.”
J: “That would be so sick man!”
Me: “Right … that …”
Our conversation then drifted on into other things, and I kept wondering to myself where my other roommates were. While my thoughts floated from wishing that I had Trent’s number, to wondering how far Jake’s phone was charged, I was suddenly brought back to reality by Ryan casually beginning a Tupac rap.
Mouth agape, I just stared at Ryan while he rapped. Jake, much more “in tune” with this sort of thing than I, began to tap a beat with his new, slightly-too-small shoes. Overcome with the desire to get out of this weirdo-twilight zone, I downed my beer and went inside to check on the phone charging.
When I came back out the two boys (men?) cracked open another and shared that this wasn’t the first time they had been faced with homelessness – they had once been unable to find affordable housing, so instead moved into the Occupy Vancouver protest at the Art Gallery and lived there for a time.
R: “It was the best. Living with all my friends in the middle of the city. Too bad they made us leave.”
J: “Ya man, some of my best friendships came from those weeks.”
If you’re unfamiliar, the Occupy movements across Canada were in support of the Occupy Wall Street protests, arguing that financial wealth is unfairly slated toward the 1% (the rich). In Vancouver, however, it seemed to turn into a party place, and was eventually disbanded when the scene turned sour due to drug overdoses.
It was at this point that I’d started to have enough, and also started to feel uncomfortable. Every 10-15 minutes or so (I was timing it) the conversation inevitably returned back to a Bass Coast festival, or a similar story of how they jumped fences to get into festivals but always got kicked out by security. An hour later, I stood up and grabbed Jake’s phone. At 32% charged, I handed it to him and noted that it had about 20 messages on it, but for some reason he wasn’t jumping to call anyone.
J: “Oh man, so many people! I wish I could call them, but I don’t have any minutes loaded on my phone.”
Me: “I didn’t realize pay-by-phone was still at thing …”
Then I waited for the inevitable next question, which was …
J: “Hey, can I borrow your phone to make a call?”
I handed him my phone, desperate for them to leave and unbelievably annoyed that I had been so manipulated by this guy, but no one picked up his calls. When he handed my phone back to me, he told me that he thought it was weird that no one answered.
Me: “My phone number isn’t local, so it’s likely people don’t want to answer that number.”
J: “Oh shoot! Is it long distance for ya?”
Um, too late Jake, try again.
This was the breaking point for me and I had finally had enough. I bid them both goodnight, knowing that I now couldn’t hang out inside and watch my shows. Instead I told them they could wait quietly outside, hoped that Trent (or someone) would come home soon, locked the door, and went to bed. I felt bad closing all the windows and doors while they sat outside, but I honestly didn’t feel comfortable with them knowing I was home alone.
Nothing happened of course, and the next day I ended up having a good conversations with the roommates about the whole situation (essentially about how this cannot happen again), but honestly … is this my life?!
I had to get out of there …