Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Negotiations Part II, or When I Definitely Should Have Cut and Run

After the drama of the Meeting with Yvette, Kerri and I struck an awkward peace.  It was born out of necessity.  We were really both too busy trying to wrap up our lives before the end of June (her move-out date was June 26th, I left for Costa Rica on June 28th) to waste too much time and energy on being mad at eachother.  I believe too that Kerri is a person who finds value in relationships with other people, however fleeting they may be.  She might not see me again after she moved out, but it was important to her to make things right nonetheless.  I honestly strive to be that kind of person, maybe not the person she was as things disintegrated, but the person she was as she tried to rectify the problem.  Left to my own devices I might have just tried to avoid her for the last two weeks.  Not sure how I would have accomplished that, but I would have tried my damnedest.  Funny how avoidance was the mature thing with Bahrry and Dan, but not with Kerri -- probably has something to do with her not being the most insufferable person alive (attn:  Bahrry).

Anyway, after the rent got ironed out, I promptly tried to focus on the things that I needed to do before leaving for a summer of volunteering in Costa Rica, namely, buying things like a mosquito net, collecting donations (both monetary and physical), learning Spanish, and preparing my space for my subletter.  Sadly, this focus on actual important things wasn't meant to be.  Yvette was determined to create more drama.  I'm still not sure exactly what her angle was -- driving me so crazy that I voluntarily left the apartment, allowing her to move in at her leisure (and price point)?  getting her own way for the sake of getting her way?  making her friend hate her as a result of an act that should have indebted Kerri to her for life?  Any one of these scenarios is possible.  I'll let you decide.  In fact, I'm soliciting opinions -- the idea that gets the most votes wins!  In order for you to make an informed decision, I should probably continue telling you the story.

As you all know, Yvette offered to lend Kerri money to pay her portion of the June rent in exchange for moving in in July.  Another reason Kerri had wanted a friend to move in was that the lease was solely in her name at this point, and Kerri didn't want to trust just anyone to her credit.  The fact that she seemingly didn't trust me to do this after nearly six months of responsible roommatedom stung more than just a little.  I chose to ignore it in favor of just moving forward.  One Saturday morning after my disastrous meeting with Yvette, Kerri was discussing the arrangements with our landlord, Reggie.  It turns out that Reggie had actually forgotten to redraw the lease in December when the last lease was up, so instead of Kerri being the sole signer on the lease, there actually wasn't one.  I had about 6 seconds to ruminate on the fact that I hadn't needed to go through anything with Yvette before Kerri piped up, "Reggie wants to know if you want him to draw up a new lease with both of your names on it."  Of course, I agreed.

I wasn't exactly enamored by Yvette, but I know I can sometimes come off as harsh, and I was trying not to let my first impression of her color all of my future dealings (In hindsight I should have followed my intuition . . . but that's a story for another day)  I wanted to be a good roommate.  I had also just felt firsthand the effects of not being on a lease, and this seemed like the perfect solution.  Sign a lease for a year, and then, by June of 2010 I might be ready to live on my own.  I went off on my mosquito-net buying mission buoyed by the idea of legal protection of my housing rights.

Coming in the door leaden with bags from Paragon and Target a few hours later, I was greeted by an unfamiliar noise -- screaming.  It was Kerri.  She wasn't shrieking in pain, but more yelling into the phone.  I tried to make myself scarce to give her some privacy, but she got off of the phone pretty quickly and sought me out.  She had been on the phone with Yvette.  Yvette was being ridiculous.  Kerri was pretty sure that a three-year friendship had just ended.  She just couldn't f*@&ing believe Yvette.

Now, this is how Yvette made me feel when she came over that night to "discuss" our situation.  Except that I'm more of a crier than Kerri.  Kerri is apparently a yeller.  Basically what happened is this:  Kerri called Yvette to say "Good news!  Reggie can put both you and Margaret on the lease."  Yvette did not think this was good news.  In fact, Yvette replied with something like, "Bullshit I'm going to be on the lease with Margaret.  You have to tell her she can't be on the lease."  Kerri, in a redeeming role, did not take Yvette's nonsense lying down.  She said, "You can't do that.  It's not fair to Margaret.  She's been here almost six months.  You don't really have the right to dictate the terms."  I walked in as the conversation escalated into something really productive like, "Fine!  Be that way!"  "Goodbye!"  And then tears.

Kerri got off of the phone and gave me the run-down.  She was pissed.  Not at me, but at Yvette, who was suddenly deciding to have a psychotic moment in the middle of Kerri's crisis.  I, as usual, was the innocent bystander.  Kerri said we could just find a craigslist roommate who would sign the lease with me.  I was a little relieved.  Now I could start with someone I hadn't yet cried in front of.  Reggie the landlord was supposed to come over the next day so Yvette and I could sign the lease, and now Kerri was calling him back to let him know that he'd have to wait a few more days because we were back to square one on the roommate front.  

While Kerri was on the phone with Reggie, my phone rang.  It was Yvette.  "Hi Margaret.  How are you?  It's Yvette."  She's sickly sweet and calm.  Nothing like I was imagining her end of the screaming match with Kerri that ended, oh, two minutes ago.  

"I'm fine," I replied.  "Kerri just told me that you don't want to sign a lease, so she's talking to Reggie right now about how we're going to find another roommate."  

"Oh no, that's not what I meant!" cooed Yvette.  "I'm just really worried about the money and I didn't think I could handle paying $1200 for an entire year."  Ahh.  So what you really meant when you agreed to divvying up the rent $1200 for you, $1050 for me was that you would do it until you were the only one on the lease and then you could change things at your leisure.  Lovely.  FYI, what I really meant by being OK with that rent breakdown was that I was going to stay until I found something better.  Not being protected by the lease also means I don't have to be bound by it either, bitch.

Of course, I didn't actually say that.  Instead I mouthed "It's Yvette!" to Kerri, who was still on the phone with Reggie and then mouthed to me, "He says if she doesn't get her act together he doesn't want her living here anyway."  Yvette, meanwhile was prattling on.  I was saying a lot of "Uhuh"s, tired of hearing her repeated self-congratulations for her selflessness in saving Kerri from financial ruin.  That is, until she had an actual solution to offer.  She wanted a six-month lease.  She thought she could pay $1200 until December.  I said if we signed a six month lease, I would move in December.  Yvette said fine.  I relayed the message to Kerri who passed it on to Reggie in some kind of demented, high-stakes, adult game of telephone.

I thought we were finally done.  I went to sign the lease at Reggie's office with Yvette a few days later.  It was a slightly strained meeting, given what had led up to it, but we were both trying.  She asked me how I felt about dogs.  I professed my love for Elvis, Kerri's dog.  She said one of the reasons why she wanted our apartment was because she wanted a dog.  She was planning on giving herself one as a Christmas present.  As I signed the lease ending December 31st, 2009, I thought to myself, "At least if she gets a dog and is as ridiculous about it as she has been about this lease-signing process, I'll only be living there with them for one more week."

And that is when, in hindsight, I definitely should have cut and run.