I hope you like it.
As I round out my last few weeks living in this apartment I have a lot of mixed feelings. On one hand I absolutely love this place, and I will be extremely sad to move on. I will miss that huge balcony and all the naps I had out there on my balcony futon. I'll miss my cozy living room, and I will miss my neighbourhood. I can't imagine ever choosing to move away under any different circumstances. On the other hand I think maybe my feelings of happiness probably come from inside me and not from my apartment. I am still very reluctant to move, but very excited at the same time because I think that it is very possible that it won't matter where I live, I'll end up being just as happy anywhere. On the third hand, I am anticipating having a wonderful time living someplace without a roommate.
If you are familiar with my blog you may know that I have had troubles with my last three roommates. My most recent roommate Warren, well... he was just too 'Warren' for me (see previous blog article). The guy before that, Mark, didn't have a job, never cleaned himself, watched Lord of the Rings several times a day, and faked a suicide attempt one night for attention. Before that was Curtis. Curtis was my best 'guy friend'. We got along great. We had similar interests, we hung out, we fixed cars*, went camping and fishing, and played video games together. I miss him a lot... but he hated transsexuals, so he had to leave.
I believe the way to go, when choosing a roommate, is to move in with a stranger or semi-stranger. It worked out great for me when I agreed to be Michelle's roommate. She and I went from being casual work friends to being lifelong friends**. Living with someone really puts a strain on the relationship. Even though I knew both Mark and Warren before they moved in, it was only as acquaintances, so now that I've parted company with them I have no regrets. If I ever moved in with a good friend again, like Curtis was, it is scary to think that something might happen that causes us to never talk again. So despite my lack of success living with strangers, when it came to finding a new roommate last month I didn't think twice about putting an ad in the paper.
Aaron was one of the first people to respond to the ad and he was the first person to show interest in living here. He is a 20 year old native man who, prior to moving in here, lived on a reserve. I was sure he wouldn't have much in common with an ethnically unremarkable 36 year old transsexual woman, but at the same time his situation and mine complimented each other. He needed a room, and I had one. He didn't have any furniture and I do. He didn't need the parking spot, and I did. Best of all, he worked nights and I worked days.
I would spend my days quietly working, and he'd spend his days quietly sleeping. Shortly before I was off work he would leave for his. By the time he arrived home I'd already be in bed. I was a bit sad not to have the social aspect of having a roommate, but after a few weeks I realized this was probably the best arrangement ever. I had no complaints, and as far as I knew, neither did he.
As it turns out he did have a complaint, and it was a big one.
Aaron and I do have periods of interaction on weekends and on his days off. He would still sleep all day and stay awake all night, but we'd usually both be around in the evenings. It was during this time that I began to learn about some of his eccentricities. It started off one day last week when Aaron was telling me about how he had just spent four hours reading the bible. I'm sure you all know by now that I can't imagine any reason for reading the bible, but even I will admit that there are reasons out there that are way better than Aaron's.
Aaron sat down at the computer that day to check his Facebook page. For those not familiar with Facebook, you can add 'applications' to it that give your page added functionality. One of these is called Funwall, and it allows anyone on your friend list to post items to your wall. These items are mostly funny pictures or videos. What happened on this day was that someone posted a video about a Britney Spears' song that when played backwards reveals a hidden message. The video is intentionally quiet so that the viewer has to turn up the sound. The video plays legitimately for 20 seconds or so longer, then suddenly a scary face appears and you hear a very loud (because you just turned your sound all the way up) and terrifying shriek. This demonic face is supposed to scare the viewer and give him or her a good laugh, but in Aaron's case it scared him so much he had to retreat to the safety of his room and read the bible for a few hours.
When he told me a demon appeared to him on Facebook I didn't know what to say. Even if I did know what to say, I didn't get a chance to say it because he started talking about how he had to talk to his sister's exboyfriend, the drug-dealer psychic. I don't know his name, but let's call him Larry. Aaron explained to me that although Larry calls himself a psychic, he can't actually see into the future. What he can do is talk to animals, Dr-Doolittle-Style. According to Larry, the animals of course, can see the future. These animals then relay the future back to him and that is how Larry is able to counsel people in matters of the future.
I just want to pause here from the main story to talk about something very interesting and possibly scary about the animal kingdom. Aaron tells me that Larry is a very successful drug-dealer because he can never get caught. Oh sure, the police try to catch him, but the animals are always on the lookout and send warning with plenty of time for Larry to escape. Clearly these animals like Larry a lot, but why not just predict him up a winning lottery number? I think the animals want man to spread drugs around to bring about mankind's downfall that much sooner. Once we are out of the way, then they can take over. I can't imagine fighting a cocker spaniel as it is, but imagine fighting one when you're high and the cocker spaniel is precognizant! That'd be impossible!!
I just want to take another pause here to say that I am very disappointed with my lot in life. Not only was I burdened with being a transsexual, but my only super-power is being able to smell things from far away, and that is a really sucky super-power. I'd way rather be able to talk to animals than smell them.
Anyway, after Aaron spoke to Larry for a while he came out of his room with a worried look. The animals told Larry to warn Aaron to be on the lookout for danger. It appears they have spotted The Devil here in Saskatoon. It reminds me of a few years ago when Bill Cosby was scheduled to do a show in town, and a couple days earlier someone purportedly spotted him buying a pair of shoes from a store on Broadway. Was it really 'The Cos', or just some random black guy? Did those animals really see Satan, or maybe it was just a guy with a sunburn? I can't say for sure, but I imagine those animals are not all that smart. Whatever they saw though, it had Aaron on edge. (I should point out that the animals also saw God, but Aaron didn't seem concerned about that. Probably because who has God ever hurt eh?)
If things were not already bad enough Aaron had more troubles. I have two lamps in my living room that were putting Aaron on Spiritual-Def-Con 4. Yes, my lamps were stressing him out. I have one weirdly shaped lamp that doesn't really shed light, it just has a pinky-reddish glow about it. Aaron feels the glow is just too reminscent of Hell for his tastes. I figure Hell, being fiery and all, is probably more of a flickery-yellow-orange, but I don't read the bible, so what do I know?
The other lamp is one of my favorite possessions. It is an iron sculpture of a woman with stained glass butterfly wings that my mom gave me after I told her I was a transsexual. This lamp also casts a reddish glow, but the problem with this lamp isn't the glow so much as the wings. Aaron feels they look a little too much like wings of a demon. Personally, I feel that demons are probably less colourful and butterfly-y, but again, what do I know?
(I took a picture of both lamps, but I couldn't figure out how to turn off the flash, so everything looks bright and the glow is washed out. In reality the room is dark except for the reddish glow from both of these lamps. Note the evil spikes on the bottom of the demon wings. I've totally pretty much never poked myself with them)
Anyway, that night Aaron was distressed. He made a pot of coffee and started writing notes into a notebook. (Oh what I wouldn't give to read that notebook!) I left him to his zealous writings and came to my room to play with my cockatiel. (That sentence has a really unfortunate ring to it doesn't it?)
A few minutes later Aaron knocked on my door and hurriedly mumbled something at me. I had to ask him several times because he was not only using his patented mumble, but he was speaking really fast. Finally I understood that he was asking if I had any sleeping pills. He said his mind was racing and he just drank a pot of coffee, but all he wanted to do is go to sleep. I said I had some benadryl that would do the trick and I handed him the bottle. He asked how many he should take and I said one or two. He asked how long it takes and I said to give it an hour.
Ten minutes later he came back to my room and said that nothing was happening. He asked if he could take some more. I know that every now and then when I wanted to be particularly mindless for a night I have taken up to four of them at once, so I said, "I guess, but no more than four."
I guess he misunderstood me because in one lucky flick of the bottle four pills landed in the palm of his hand. I expected to see him put two of them back, but instead he swung his arm up and tossed all four pills into his mouth at once. I had time to say '... uh' and then I saw him swallow. About half an hour after that I heard him stumble into his room.
The next day I waited and waited for him to wake up. Aaron told me he hadn't paid his rent yet because pay day is Friday, and rent was due on Thursday. I wanted to make sure he paid before the weekend. Sixteen hours after Aaron went to bed he groggily came out of his room. He said, "There's something in here..."
I started sniffing the air. I thought he meant that he could also smell that empty can of tuna in the garbage. I was about to tell him that we should take out the garbage, but then he said, "... something evil... I can feel it... I felt its presence all night. I dreamed about it."
I am a smellophobe, so I would argue that the smell of a old tuna can is evil, but after last night's conversation about demonic lamps and facebook videos I knew that isn't what he meant. I told him there is nothing evil here, and that perhaps the six sleeping pills had something to do with his trippy dreams, but then he said, "No. That Facebook Demon came back last night. ... there's something here alright... I've got to get out of here. How much do you want for one day's rent? Ten bucks?"
I said "What??"
He explained that it was the second of the month, so he has only been here for one day, and he had to leave immediately to get away from whatever the evil thing was in the apartment. I was told him that he owed for the entire month and that he needed to give one month's notice before he could move out. He went into negotiation mode at this point and repeatedly gave me a firm counter-offer of "I'll pay half, not full" but eventually after an hour or so I managed to convince him that this wasn't a negotiation, and that there are legalities to consider. I got the entire month's rent out of him, but he was firm that no matter what, he wants to leave and get away from the demonic presence so he gave his one month's notice to me.
I didn't know when the place would be sold, but I understand I get several months notice if the new owners need me to move out. There is a chance they may have wanted to rent out the place too, but I didn't want to live with the uncertainty of it all. I called the owners of this place and gave my notice as well. It was a day late, and the owners grudgingly accepted it, as if somehow that one day was a huge deal to them but they are willing to throw me a bone***. Giving notice was a sad thing to do, but at this point I had to do it. The owners are selling this place, and I just don't want to sit around waiting for that to happen, and I certainly don't want to find a new roommate only to find out the place is sold a month or two later. I really have no choice but to leave now.
I've had a lot of good times here. This place just gives me a happy feeling all over. From the huge balcony to the cozy red glow in the living room, and even, believe it or not, to the experiences I've had with roommates, this place means a lot to me. There is nothing about living here the last five years that I won't miss. I know I should look at the bright side, but right now I'm having trouble finding it. My new place is bigger inside, but it costs almost twice as much to rent. It does have a balcony, but it is tiny with a crappy view of the parking lot. About the only thing I can definitely say is positive is that my new place is a one bedroom and has no room for any roommates.
Aaron is the last one.
I'm so relieved.
* When I say Curtis and I fixed cars together, it was more like Curtis would ask for a tool, and I'd hand it to him. If ever the engine needed to be turned over I'd do that too.
** I think that we are closing in on 14 years since I lived with Michelle, and I still talk to her every week. Thanks for sticking around Shelly!
*** Yes it is true. Rent must be given on the first of the month. He is within his rights to our notice was too late and force us to stay another month. I just have to say it was almost sickening to hear him use that tone with me, as if he is doing me a huge favour. He bought the place three years ago for $75,000 and is selling it for $190,000, and in the process making me leave my home of the last five years. I'm sure not being a stickler on a technicality isn't going to be a problem financially, in my opinion it is the least he could do.