Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bahrry the Bizarre

Bahrry, as you all can now attest, was completely ridiculous.  In addition to the big themes running through my time lived with Bahrry (like smoking, marathon stints in the bathroom, and pseudo-rude/sarcastic e-mails), he did a lot of less notable (but no less funny) weird things as well.  None of these things can really sustain a blog post on their own, but together, they're pretty funny.  So, as my late Christmas gift, I give you the following list:

Bizarre Things About Bahrry
  1. We lived together during the fall of 2008, and when the financial crisis hit, Bahrry developed a new, annoying habit -- yelling at the reporters on MSNBC regarding the financial crisis.  I mean, I understood that the financial crisis was a terrible situation that was affecting us all.  However, I question the sanity of someone who is driven to yelling at pundits the way my dad yells at the Redskins when they're loosing . . .
  2. He slept with the doors to his room open, so essentially he was in the living room.  Luckily for me, he also frequently passed out fully clothed. 
  3. The moaning.  I thought I might write a whole post on this, but couldn't stomach thinking about the details.  Bahrry had a mysterious lady friend who would appear in the middle of the night, service him, and leave before the morning.  I never saw her, but unfortunately I heard her . . . loudly.  Bahrry, without shoes on, was shorter than I am and at least twenty pounds lighter, and despite his bathroom regimen, not exactly a looker, which begs the question, who was this girl and what exactly was she getting out of the deal?
  4. One Friday night I got home around 10:30 PM, which is pretty standard for me.  As I walked in the door, Bahrry said in a snotty voice from one end of the hallway, "In for the night already?"  I did not dignify it with a response.
  5. After cleaning the bathroom once, Bahrry took the candle I bought to relieve bathroom smells out of the bathroom and put it in his room!  This act of thievery was easily discovered, since Bahrry left the doors of his room open to the living room at all times.  This started the great passive-aggressive candle war of 2008.  As soon as Bahrry left the building I returned the candle to the bathroom and lit it.  He came back shortly and definitely noticed the candle, but didn't say anything, and how could he?  The best part about my little plot was that, in order for him to complain about the candle's return to the bathroom, he'd have to admit that he took it in the first place, thus making him look like a giant idiot.
  6. One day he left his own candles burning all day in the living room while we were all at work.  Luckily he did not burn down the whole building.
  7. One night Bahrry came home from work and before even taking his coat off, walked up and down the hallway spraying air-freshener.  Then he put his stuff down, went to the bathroom (for 20 minutes) and left again.
  8. He crossed his name off the cleaning schedule and put a date next to it, I assume to prove he actually did his job, as if it weren't obvious the once a month the bathroom got cleaned.
  9. On a separate occasion, Bahrry came home and sprayed air freshener in the living room for a solid minute or two, begging the question as to why he didn't just smoke outside?
  10. He drank my coffee without asking.  Do not fuck with my morning coffee.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bahrry and the Bathroom

Of all the extremely ridiculous things about Bahrry, his bathroom habits were the most perplexing.  He spent the more time in the bathroom than anyone I've ever met, although given the sheer number of hair products he owned, that's not terribly surprising.  How much time would you spend in the bathroom if you needed to utilize 23,418 hair products on your slightly thinning head of otherwise unremarkable black hair?

In addition to the ludicrous amount of hair products in the bathroom (I'm relatively positive he wanted a girl roommate to save face with friends who might have noticed the several different kinds of shampoo, conditioner, gel, hair volumizer, and mousse in residence), Bahrry spent roughly four times the amount of time a normal person spends in the bathroom.  I am not exaggerating this.  When my parents were in town and we were assembling a wardrobe in my bedroom, Bahrry was in the bathroom the entire time.  For an hour and a half my mom kept asking me if she could go to the bathroom yet.  Eventually, in the interest of time (and brunch), we went to the restaurant down the street.

Bahrry's bathroom antics became a running joke among my friends and I.  A friend spent the night once, and after 45 minutes of waiting so she and her hangover could use the toilet, she finally had to knock to get him to hurry up.  I quickly learned to use the bathroom as soon as I had an inkling that I might need to go.  I'm a teacher, so I know how to hold it, but this was ridiculous.  Anyway, I started sending friends updates of Bahrry's bathroom antics to amuse myself, so I have a remarkably accurate accounting of the time spent by Bahrry in the bathroom.  The month of October was a particularly fruitful time.  I will share this in the form of a bathroom log:

Time Started
Time Ended
Elapsed Time
(If known)
12:00 PM
12:48 PM
48 minutes
1:18 PM
1:35 PM
17 minutes
blow drying hair – please note that the above 48 minutes was the same day and did not include any hair drying
~2:00 PM
2:45 PM
45 minutes
1:45 PM
2:35 PM
50 minutes
11:30 PM
12:05 PM
35 minutes
~11:00 PM
~11:30 PM
~30 minutes
I don’t know, but I had to pee the whole time.
~1:00 PM
~55 minutes
Unknown, but I eventually had to knock to get a chance to shower myself
6:56 PM
7:28 PM
32 minutes
beautifying himself for a night out

On one of these dates (October 5th to be exact), I had a date.  It was on a Saturday afternoon to the Botanical Gardens.  Before I left, naturally, I wanted to be clean.  Bahrry, as noted, spent 48 minutes in the bathroom.  When he opened the door, both Dan and I sprinted out of our rooms to get to the shower.  Clearly we'd both been lying in wait for our chance to pounce.  Dan, being nice, said I could take the next shower if he could just pee first.  I then spent from 12:49 - 12:57 in the shower.  That's 8 minutes, in case you weren't counting, or about 1/7 of the time it took Bahry . . . and I was getting ready for a date!  Dan, since he'd been waiting as well, jumped in right after I did.  He took a respectable 9 minutes.  Together we took less than 1/3 of the time Bahrry did.  When Dan got out, Bahrry went back in to blow-dry his hair . . . which really throws a wrench in my calculations, but pretty much cements my argument that he wasn't efficiently using his time in there . . . 

One of my theories about Bahrry and the bathroom is that he took baths.  Frequently (even with the cleaning schedule!) there would be a ring around the tub, the kind you usually only get from a bath.  We didn't have a particularly stopped-up drain, either, which could have been another explanation.  Could Bahrry have been luxuriating in a bubble bath for all those hours?

On October 25th, as noted, Bahrry spent nearly an hour in the bathroom.  I'm not sure about the times, exactly, because he was in the bathroom when I came home from the gym.  After I'd eaten lunch and cleaned my room, I decided action needed to be taken.  I knocked on the door and asked if he were almost done, since I'd been waiting nearly an hour.  He came right out and said, "All you have to do is knock if you want to get in," snottily, as if it were my fault that I didn't take a shower earlier because I didn't tell him I needed to.  Ridiculous, but it gave me great insight into Bahrry.  He is inconsiderate and self absorbed, but doesn't feel guilty about any of it because he projects the "wrong" onto the other person . . . even when it's something as simple as three people sharing a bathroom.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bahrry and Noise

  • Fact:  Roommates annoy eachother, no matter how much they like eachother.
  • Fact:  Roommates often accidentally make too much noise and wake up/bother the people they live with.
  • Fact:  Roommates are usually remorseful when they do one of the above things, whether or not they think the other roommates should be annoyed with their behavior.
  • Fact:  Bahrry made an unbelievable amount of noise, far more than could ever be accidental, and was physically incapable of taking responsibility for his actions.  Somehow it always ended up being my fault that he was loud.
Way back, before I moved in with Bahrry and Dan, they sent me a list of notable things about the apartment.  Here's what they had to say about noise and my response:

we are usually up fairly late and a tv or music at reasonable levels is common (though obvious consideration will be given, just don't want someone annoyed every night)  I go to bed usually between 10 and 11, but generally read or watch a movie on my computer for a while after turning in.  The room seems fairly isolated in regards to the living room, and I'm a really heavy sleeper, so it shouldn't be a problem.  My past two rooms have shared a wall with the living room and I've only had noise problems with one roommate, who is quite possibly the loudest person alive and also maybe deaf.  I'm sort of used to my early bedtime and the idea that normal people are still awake and moving about.

All of that seems pretty normal.  People watch TV later at night than my bedtime.  I get it, and managed to live fairly peacefully with eight other people on completely different schedules before I moved in with these two bozos, so I wasn't concerned.

Boy, was I wrong.  These two might have been the loudest people alive.  I'm pretty sure the people downstairs hated us.  I kind of wanted to go down there and explain that it wasn't me, and then recruit them for my cause -- Operation Shut the Fuck Up.  

I should probably back up and explain exactly how loud Bahrry and Dan managed to be.  They had a gorgeous flat-screen TV hooked up to surround sound speakers and a subwoofer.  It really was an awesome setup.  The definition was so good that it really looked like the Sopranos were in the living room.  Despite actually not owning a TV now, I do appreciate watching on one, just not hearing the TV two rooms away at 2:00 am on a Tuesday . . . which happened pretty frequently.

I should back up again.  I'm not doing too well with the chronology of this issue, probably because the noise was so omnipresent it's hard to pinpoint specific turning points in our roommate relationship related to absurd loudness.  Never the less, there is this one time that comes to mind.  I'd been complaining to a friend about Bahrry for weeks when she crashed at my place after a particularly raucous night of dancing.  We got home around 3:30 and drunkenly inflated the air-mattress on the floor of my room, probably making an ungodly amount of noise of our own.  At 5:00 am we were woken up from our drunken stupors by Bahrry and Dan watching TV on full blast.  We could hear every word and, this is the kicker -- the airmatress was SHAKING.  Yes indeed, the subwoofer was so powerful that the bass could be felt two rooms away.  I also finally had a witness to the madness.

This kind of thing happened repeatedly.  I tried to drown it out with my ipod to no avail.  I actually bought earplugs.  That $3 spent at Duanne Reade was the best investment I made while living with Bahrry and Dan.  Unfortunately they didn't work all the time.  If I went to sleep with them in, I most likely wouldn't wake up, but if the boys were making noise when I was trying to fall asleep, I was in trouble.  Being sleepy, in case you have not yet experienced me in that state, does not make me any more pleasant.  Yet, Bahrry and Dan wondered why I did not want to be their friend . . . 

I did, several times, actually ask the boys to turn down whatever it was that they had on full volume (sometimes it was the stereo in the living room rather than the TV, and occasionally the stereo in the kitchen was a problem).  Dan, like most normal people, would say "sorry," and turn it down a little, probably while internally being a bit annoyed at having to do so.  Bahrry, however, would have an argument with me about it.  He basically blamed me for being annoyed, because how could he know that I was woken up by the noise if I didn't say anything about it?  Fair enough, but if the bass is shaking the floor boards, it is most definitely too loud for anyone, at any time.

The noise actually set off our final two confrontations and my eventual departure, but those stories are too juicy to be told out of context.  First we will have to finish exploring Bahhry as a character through Bahrry and the Bathroom, Bahrry and Sex, and Bahrry and Bills.  It'll be an exciting ride. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bahrry and Cleaning

As I've mentioned before, I am not a super clean person.  Right now my living room looks like a laundry bomb went off, my bed is unmade, and I have a bag of trash by the door that's been waiting for me to take it out for longer than I care to mention in public.  If cleanliness is next to godliness, then I'm definitely going to hell.  For all of my housekeeping shortcomings, I AM considerate.  I never wanted to burden my roommates with my mess.  The beauty of living alone is that laundry doesn't really need to get put away as soon as it's folded.  It can stay on the couch for as long as I feel like leaving it there.

When you have roommates, of course, you can't really be so lazy.  You sort of have to adjust your habits to the other person's threshold for dirt.  This is one of the reasons why I liked living with boys -- we have similar thresholds for dirt.  I thought Dirty Artie was an outlier, but even he (with the hording and stale towels) was relatively clean in common areas.  Enter Bahrry and Dan and their request for a "clean, responsible" roommate.

Bahrry, Dan, and I had a bit of an interrupted Getting to Know You period.  I moved in and was there for less than a week when I went off on vacation for the majority of August.  That first week the apartment was relatively clean.  In my rush to get out the door to the airport on the day I left, I made sure to wash my breakfast dishes because I didn't want to leave the new roommates with anything extra.  The dish drain was empty, and (being anal) I meticulously lined up my dishes to dry.

Flash forward three weeks.  I get home from Tajikistan and Turkey unbelievably jet-lagged and with a bit of gastrointestinal distress.  All I want is a nice glass of water.  The Brita is empty, so I go to fill it in the sink, but I can't.  The sink is so full of dishes that I can't even angle the Brita under the tap.  Try as I might, my effort is futile -- every way I try to tip the pitcher, the water just rolls right back out.  Then I notice that the dish drain is exactly as I left it -- meticulously arranged.  Neither boy has washed a single dish in three weeks.  Then I try to put something in the recycling bin, to find that not just the bin, but the entire cabinet under the sink is full of bottles and cans.  I give up on being friendly to the earth and turn around to put the item in the trash, and it's overflowing with pizza boxes piled on top of it.  I can't win.  I leave the trash/recycling on the counter.

Then I go in the bathroom.  After a fourteen hour trip, I was desperately in need of a shower.  Looking in the tub, I almost threw-up.  It was so full of dirt, grime, and hair that part of me wanted to clean it right then.  Exhaustion took over, though, so instead I went and got my hostel bathroom flip-flops -- the ones I wear while traveling so I can shower without sharing *things* with all the other backpackers flitting through the hostel.  My first night back in the U.S. and I couldn't even shower barefoot like a normal person in my own apartment.

The next day I cleaned the tub.  Then I started to think about a plan.  I thought I'd try to catch the boys and suggest we grab a drink and talk about apartment stuff.  Unfortunately, I kept getting up at 5:00 am and going to bed at 7:00 pm, missing them entirely.  After a few days of being on this ridiculous schedule, I sent them an e-mail:

So I'm finally mostly moved in (need to buy some hangers this afternoon and do a few more things, but not too much), and pretty much over my jet-lag (so no more going to bed at 7:00 PM and getting up at 5:00 AM).  I go back to work on Wednesday, sadly, but it should be a pretty laid-back week since the kids don't come until after Labor Day.  I was wondering if there was a night when we could all grab some coffee or a beer or something catch-up a little and talk about some apartment stuff, like maybe starting a low-key cleaning schedule, dish-washing, and buying household supplies.  I don't know what your schedules are like, but I'm free most nights this week (through Thursday).  

Dan sent back a perfectly pleasant e-mail suggesting a time.  Bahrry's was a little more . . . snitty?  I'm not even sure, but he didn't seem game:

Wow!...ur alive? was hoping to hear about ur trip or see some pics sometime... I was beginning to think that maybe you were locked up abroad, kidnapped by gypsies, or contracted some contagious form of eastern block isolationism?

I don't think i've seen or heard from you since your arrival, other than the subtle clues of mysterious furnishings....and bathroom cleanliness...i haven't even smelled any coffee!

i suppose its a sign of the times when writing an email to housemates is easier than knocking on the door & saying wats up? we need to have an agenda and sign in sheet for a meeting? i'd rather just drink...i don't think i really answered anything...

talk to u later..

So much for my efforts at being nice and congenial.  Did he just not want to talk about the apartment?  Did he just have a problem with me taking the initiative?  And if you noticed how clean the bathroom was, how could you have not noticed how dirty it was?

Anyway, Dan came home from work one evening and we went off to have a drink, not really knowing where Bahrry stood on the whole thing since he hadn't ever given a real response.  Dan was really nice and actually took me on a little tour of Park Slope on our way to grab some beer.  Hours (and quite a few beers) later, Bahrry finally showed up.  At this point I didn't really want to talk about cleaning schedules, and I wasn't exactly in the right mind-frame to figure out Bahrry's weirdness.  The night turned out to be fun, just not super productive.

Given that I brought up the cleaning thing and then didn't follow through, I felt like I should try to broach the subject again, I just wasn't sure how.  Then I woke up one morning to find projectile vomit all over the kitchen, the hallway, and the bathroom (including the bathmat I bought).  It was disgusting.  I left a note on hideously florescent paper asking for it to be cleaned.  I can't even remember how I managed to shower, brush my teeth, grab coffee, and get myself off to work in the midst of piles of vomit.  I must have blocked it out.

After getting an apology about the puke, I sent this e-mail (which I thought was fairly reasonable):

So, I've been meaning to sit down and talk about starting a low-key cleaning schedule basically since I got back from Tajikistan, but it just hasn't happened.  Since I know that this week will be pretty crazy for me, and I'll be out of town next weekend, I figured e-mail was the easiest way to get it done and to keep the filth at bay.  I have a pretty high tolerance for dirt, and I don't really like to clean, so I was thinking if we just did something to keep things under control we'll all be happy.  Basically, I think if we each take an area each month (kitchen, bathroom, hallway and living room), and give it a full, thorough clean at some point during our month (sinks, counters, stove, floor -- we might need to buy a mop, toilet, etc.), and take care of the other regular maintenance things (taking out the garbage, recylcing so the entire under-sink area doesn't get filled again, etc.) and be in charge of buying household consumables (toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, automatic shower cleaner), then it will make the apartment a nicer place to live.  What do you think?  I don't think it'll be too taxing as I've lived in apartments where we've done something similar before, and it's an easy way to ensure that one person doesn't get stuck with all the work and buying all the toilet paper.  We can rotate each month, but here's where I think we could start for September:

Kitchen -- Bahrry
Bathroom -- Margaret
Living Room and Hallway -- Dan

I'm an elementary school teacher, so I can make a pretty chart for the kitchen :)  Also, could we please impose a 24-hour statute of limitations on dirty dishes in the sink?  I definitely don't always have time to wash my dishes immediately after using them (you will almost never see my breakfast dishes clean before the afternoon on a weekday), but when the sink is overflowing to the point where you can't even use the faucet, the dishes have overstayed their welcome . . . and we're beginning to attract flies and I'd rather not bring any other creepy crawlers in.

 I didn't get a response from Dan, but did get this bizarre e-mail from Bahrry: could make one of those spinning pinwheels things like wheel of the unfortunate with caricatures of us all i.e., (me smokin outta my ears and ashing all over the house naked, dan hurling outta every orafice onto every surface imaginable, & you in a fetal position hiding under ur bed w/ a bowl of cereal & a bottle of wine...and maybe some arugula in your hair for good measure)....then there would be another wheel with all the required mundane chores i.e., (bathroom: streak removal,plunging toilets & sweeping pubes, kitchen: removing rotting meat products, maggots, & science projects from sink,living room: hunting dust bunnies, couch cereal,sock & condom removal)...we could all drink & take bets on who will get stuck with even if you get stuck w/ something u don't want to do u might still get best out of 23 or so
its win, win or it could be lose, lose....but i'm optimistic 
i think this worked on the brady bunch just fabulously...

It kind of sounds like he's trying to be funny, but by not giving me a straight answer, he's also kind of being a jackass.  I concluded immaturity was to blame.  I never got an answer from Dan, so after a few days of not seeing them or hearing anymore, I sent another e-mail:

So, I'm going to take the silence and the sarcasm as a "yes" and roll with this thing.  I can definitely make pictures if you need the visual assistance . . . sadly, I have no "under the bed," so I'll have to adjust mine, and Dan's promised not to make the projectile vomiting a habit, so his'll have to be changed as well.  In the lower grades we take pictures of the kids and stick them next to their jobs in case they can't read their names . . . I bet that could be arranged.  Anyway, in all seriousness, I think the cleaning schedule will just remind us all to clean.  I know I won't remember until I get really grossed out and then get annoyed about it.  Might keep us from running out of toilet paper too.  I should be home around 7:00 and I'm hoping not to pass out before 10:00, if you want to talk about it.

Dan sent me a perfectly reasonable response, adding some of his own apartment concerns (like buying two-ply toilet paper, which was probably in reference to my tendency to buy whatever's cheapest), and generally was positive.  Bahrry, of course, could already be counted on to be difficult:

Sarcasm, of course...u get that for free...Silence? what silence? i was almost certain we were going to get chastised for being too loud last night?...I'm just glad Dave wasn't hittin the sauce...and i didn't burn the house down!

In all seriousness, are you always this serious???...I don't think we need to have a major parent-teacher conference about this; the basic premise is not unreasonable & the tasks seem fairly clear & familiar. I think all of us by this point in time are aware ,in concept at least, with routine household responsibilities (but you can elaborate and educate, if you can make learning fun again)...Do you have sock puppets? in the end if the rigor of a set schedule for our social obedience is easier to swallow and appeases the authoritative animal be it, i'm sure we can all be clean and comply...

...damn, what a relief!...and i was totally thinking you were Already grossed out and annoyed....?

well...I can't wait to report to my kitchen duties!  

So, I have several comments:  1)  If you think you're going to get yelled out for being loud (which actually did not bother me that time, but more on noise later), why not just be quieter?  2)  Um, yeah I was grossed out and annoyed, hence the e-mail  3)  I thought I was being civil, more than serious, but I can be a giant bitch if need be, so stop being an asshole, and 4)  If you think a cleaning schedule makes my inner authoritarian happy, imagine how happy I would be if you would just fucking clean up after yourself.