Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Bed to Fill

I’m trolling for a new housemate. I cast my ads into the waters of craigslist and hope for the best. After all, that’s where I found the philosopher.

Or should I say, where he found me.

Lucky catch.

Just like with that other ad, people don’t read the instructions. Guys especially. Guys don’t read instructions. The instructions say to tell me about yourself when you reply. I don’t think this qualifies:

I saw your ad at craigslist and I can meet the standards you're looking for on a roommate I'm looking for a room to rent in the silver spring area.
so if you are interested in showing me the place please e-mail me back with the address and a tel # where I can reach you.

This message was my absolute favorite so far:

im fred im 26 and work m-f
i work full time and all i can afford is 600 monthly.....

i could understand if u did not want me bring strange females home everynight

but if it was the same one everynight is this something u can deal with we need to clear this
up now......

besides that i recently quit smoking so im glad that u dont either....

and i hope obama wins to better our economy,lower gas and many more reasons

its just u in the house

I didn’t dignify either of these messages with an answer.

I’ve noticed that most guys who post housing-wanted ads don’t specify that they are men. They are used to being the default. Women always say they are women.

Jewish feminist bisexual submissive baby boomer seeks intelligent, considerate, open-minded housemate to share home with me and 2 cats and the occasional cane-wielding philosopher. Must understand the theory of loading a dishwasher. Bonus points if you know how to fix things and don’t mind getting up on ladders. Double bonus points if you will promise to leave the premises whenever the aforementioned philosopher comes to visit.

So I spent the unacceptably hot weekend scurrying around the house on two sprained ankles, cleaning and de-cluttering and vacuuming and laundering in a vain attempt to look respectable in time for this afternoon’s candidate.

He sounded promising. A real cat-lover and an NPR fan. We shared the names of our favorite panelists on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. And of course he supports Barack Obama. That’s a must.

He looked agreeably non-attractive when he turned up at the door. I’d rather have a female housemate, but it is mostly men who respond so I’m no longer ruling them out, in which case it is better for all concerned if nothing stirs when I meet them. He looked a little dorky, and came over as polite and somewhat sad. Marko emerged almost immediately, sniffed him out, rubbed against his legs, and stayed around. A good sign.

We sat and talked in the living room, the carpet no longer grey with cat hair. We traded stories of family and depression, cats and antidepressants. We talked about Tucson. We talked about the fact that he would probably be around for only a few months. I asked what other things he had been looking at. He said there had been a number of places, but he had a skeleton in his closet that made it really difficult. And he had to tell me about it.

“I’m on probation”

[my heart sank]

“for inappropriately touching my nephew.”


I tried to be generous. And sympathetic. He was clearly in pain, and mortified, and very very sorry. I wished I could help him out, and first thought well gee, pedophilia, at least the philosopher wouldn’t have to worry about there being any danger to ME.

But I knew it wouldn’t do. There was that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, and that was the real reason I would have to say no. There were all sorts of rational reasons that one by one oozed around my mind. I knew if I was considering it, I’d have to run it by the philosopher. He’s a Catholic, albeit lapsed. He’s VERY unhappy with the way the church handled the cases of pedophiliac priests. I doubt he’d be thrilled with having a pedophile living with his pet.

The guy said he was open to talking about it, and I groaned inside and thought no, I listen to people’s problems at work on and off throughout the day, the last thing I need is to come home to a guy who has to supplement his one-on-one therapy sessions and group therapy sessions by sharing his angst with me.

And then I realized I had no choice. Even if I wanted to give him a break, I had no choice. How could I look my wonderful neighbors in the eye if I let a pedophile move in next door to them and their 5-year old son.

He was ever so nice and understanding when I explained. I said I had enjoyed chatting with him, which was true. I shook his hand and saw him out.

It’s an interesting way to meet people, this housemate search. A little bit like, except there you’re not looking to immediately move in with the people you meet. And there I was definitely only looking for women. Plus of course it reminds me of that ad that brought the philosopher into my life. Except there I wasn’t planning on face-to-face (or even phone call) meetings with anyone at all.

After he left I took a shower. Not because he made me feel dirty but because I was all sweaty from the whirlwind of cleaning. I took off my clothes and stood under the spray and washed my hair and started to cry.

I already have someone I enjoy having around the house.
Someone I enjoy talking with.
Someone who cleans up kitty vomit like it’s
the most natural thing in the world.
Someone who inspires embarrassing urges to scrub the floor.
I already have someone.

I don’t want anyone else.

EPILOGUE: I wrote the above as a Word document, which I often do since I have to be naked to actually post here. Then I finished the laundry, put the clean sheets on the bed along with a light blanket, and folded them back to make the bed look welcoming.

It took a minute or two before I realized that I had turned back the sheets on both sides of the bed…

1 comment:

Paul said...

Oatmeal Girl, you are a woman after my own heart, always a pleasure to read.
Fortunate that you had such a serendipitous outcome to your first ad.
Love this line, "Double bonus points if you will promise to leave the premises whenever the aforementioned philosopher comes to visit."
One question? Feel free to ignore it if you wish. Why can you only post naked, just curious.
One person doesn't really fill a double bed.
Warm hugs,