How to Get Rid of an Unwanted Roommate Part 2
by, 05 Dec 2010 at 10:24 AM (10987 Views)
Continued from Part 1
The Five Stages of Grief
In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross outlined what she described as the five stages of grief. Jess, as if she had a checklist, went through each in cartoonishly exaggerated fashion.
The first stage of grief is denial. Jess arrived home that night at about 6:45 PM, to find the doors locked. I was on the other side of town at the time. She called me, threatened to call the police, and hung up. Immediately after, Charlene called me in what seemed like her best impression of a horror movie cliché, whispering and yelling at the same time, “She’s here! Come quickly! I’m scared!”
At this point, Jess sees the only obstacle to her continued residence at our abode as the door that is physically barring her entry. She begins by trying to break the doorknob off with a blunt object. Failing this, she proceeds to fling her tiny body into the door. I arrive on the scene as Jess has just finished splitting our door frame in half.
What is especially bizarre about this behavior is that Jess didn’t break the door with the intention of attacking anyone, claiming her possessions, or committing any act of vandalism. She broke the door down, because she actually thought that she’d be allowed to continue to live with us, barring that pesky door in her way. So deep was her denial that she even asked me for a key to the new locks the next morning.
The next two stages of grief are anger and bargaining, and Jess experienced both of these together. She tried every tactic she could to convince me it was ok to let her stay.
Jess, like most well-adjusted adults, has the ability to cry on command when convenient. This has proved useful countless times, including a recent incident in which she got caught driving the wrong way down a one-way street after about 12 drinks, and sobbed her way out of a DUI. She still drives drunk regularly.
After breaking the door down, Jess, of course, begins sobbing hysterically. “I wasn’t even in the house for two days!” she sobbed.
“What about those times you were in the house?” I asked, calling her bluff directly.
“Yeah, but I was only here [when I started the fight about the cat] and then the next morning at [exactly the time we know the fish were poisoned],” except she said actual times, leaving the deduction to me.
Jess would continue to alternate between claiming not to be here and placing herself exactly at the scene of the crime during every subsequent discussion on the matter, as if deliberately trying to undermine her own credibility.
“What else could have possibly happened, Jess?” I asked, trying to impart how obvious her crime was.
“Charlene probably did it herself to get back at me,” she said, spitballing wildly. I explained to her why this was impossible, since we knew how much the fish meant to her, and how relatively uninterested Charlene was in the fight with Jess.
“I bet Jake did it to frame me so you would kick me out of the house!” she said of another roommate, with whom she had been living for six years. “Everyone knows he’s been drinking again! You don’t know him, he’s a psychopath!” Jake is generally one of the mellower people you’re likely to meet and has been, with maybe one or two nights excepted, sober for the entire time I’ve known him. The wild conspiracy tale wasn’t working.
Throughout the course of the discussion, I caught Jess lying at least twenty times, most of which she admitted to when called on. I explained to her how this undermined her credibility, and I advised her that when she speaks with others in the house she try not to do this. I knew she wasn’t capable of heeding this advice, but I thought saying it advance might better help her to accept the reasons no one trusts her.
That night, Jess told us she needed to protect her cat from the “real killer.” We generally found this preferable to worrying that she would hurt him to spite her, but we recognized it was a blatant attempt to get at Charlene more than anything. We haven’t seen Rudy since, though I would assume he is safe.
The following day, I gathered the others in the house and called Jess down for a house meeting. She had her best “fuck you” scowl on, and seemed braced for combat. She vehemently denied everything, but wasn’t very convincing.
Now, if one had truly been framed for such a misdeed, or indeed if someone merely wanted to convince others she had been framed, it would seem reasonable that she might say something to the effect of “Charlene, I’m so sorry about what happened to your fish. I know this looks bad, and we’ve had our disagreements lately, but I would never let it come to this.” This is not how Jess rolls.
“Fuck you. If I wanted to kill your fish, I’d have put them on a skewer and left them on your door!” she shouted, as if to reinforce her insincerity and general insanity. She continued to insist on her innocence, and also to lie about everything she possibly could, including completely irrelevant matters. Charlene was having none of it, barking “Fuck you, we know you did it,” at every opportunity. While Charlene delivered the truth as bluntly as possible (to the quiet delight of the others present), I explained to Jess why it would be impossible to go on living with a person whom we could not trust to respect our property and well being.
Jess was still stuck in Stage 3, bargaining.
She insisted on talking to the landlord. We had already called the landlord, who was furious that I even let her sleep there the previous night and told us he’d give us our complete backing. Jess was also about eight months behind on her rent.
I called the landlord and handed Jess the phone. Her face transformed and she instantly began bawling. “I don’t know what’s going on!” she sobbed. “They broke into my room and messed everything up and they’re saying I killed fish but I wasn’t even here, and I picked the bottom lock and then just pushed the door in and it came open! I have no idea what’s happening!” The landlord reassured her and was momentarily convinced by the flurry of lies and tears.
I took the phone back and explained that exactly none of that was true, that she had used all of her might to damage the door for ten minutes straight, that no one knew anything about whatever “break in” she was talking about and that she was in fact home when the fish were killed. He groused at me for not getting the police involved and then I told him that the police were called and a report filed, but since it was his property, he would have to make the decision to press charges.
I gave the phone back to Jess, and he told her that if she didn’t leave, he would press charges. She said she understood, ran off, locked herself in her room, and refused to speak to anyone. Jess was entering the fourth stage: depression.
As self-pity and sadness set in, most of her rage subsided, except toward Charlene. She continued to seethe over how much she hated this woman who had been arguably her most loyal friend in recent years. She searched for ways to continue the fight, but didn’t find much. Jess asked me to tell Charlene she wanted three milk crates of dubious ownership returned to her. Charlene told me to tell Jess to get fucked.
Jess stormed down the stairs, screaming and threatening to call the police. “Don’t think I won’t do it over something so small!” she shouted through the door at Charlene, who was locked in her room. Jess did not appreciate the fact that the crates were stolen to begin with and marked as someone else’s property. When Charlene called her bluff, she said she’d give her until Monday before calling the authorities.
It’s been quiet since then. Jess finally reached the last stage, acceptance. No police were called to settle the milk crate custody battle. Jess overstayed her deadline by a day, and screaming ensued, but she left that night of her own accord and hasn’t returned. We were already able to fill her room for $100 more than she was paying, and went out and got two new cats from the shelter to fill the feline vacancy left by Rudy. Two days after, Jess was still delusional enough to ask if she could come to a house concert we were having, but I think she's finally moving on.
Jess has always spent about 95-100% of her breath talking about herself, and she is the hero of every story. This one is no different. After being fired from her job and thrown out of her home kicking and screaming, she posted this on her facebook: "Leave Tumulty's [her job]: Check. Move out of Townsend St: Check. Europe, here I come!" Where some see rock bottom, Jess sees opportunity. Bon voyage, Jess.
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