We have a rodent problem…
…I say rodent, but I feel bad doing so because they are just little mice and they are actually kind of cute. Nevertheless they aren’t my pets, they scurry under the oven as I enter the kitchen at night and scare the bejaysus out of me because they are so fast and I can’t always be certain that what I’ve just seen is a mouse and not a giant, black, furry SpiderRoach. So I did the right thing by my neighbours and got some poison.
Last night as I was lying in bed watching the fourth RomCom of the evening a mouse ran under the door, under my bed, back under the door, then back under my bed. Was this the mad dash of a mouse who, having ingested poison and suffering from the inability to vomit, knew he was about to die? Is it weird that I felt simultaneously horrible for this mousemurdering and also terrified to get out of bed in case the tiny little mouse attacked me?
This is the first time I’ve ever had a mouse problem, and the first time I have ever lived in a unit rather than a house. Coincidence? Doubtful. I don’t think I keep my home filthy enough to attract vermin and so, neighbours, it must be one of you. And I think I am well within my rights to throw this accusation out there because, in my experience, people can be absolutely disgusting.
Most of my friends have a flatmate horror story: John never did the dishes, Jessica had night terrors, Jemma left her socks in the hallway, Jerry never held the flusher down long enough and always left little floaties in the bowl. Some of the time I think the problem is down to us all thinking our shit don’t stink. Something your flatmate does, they may not see as an issue – perhaps it never even occurred to them to hang the bath mat up so it’s not soggy for the next person who uses it, but to you, this is the single most irritating thing you deal with each day – they are the flatmate from hell. You, on the other hand, sometimes use their toothpaste when you run out. They know when you do it because you always leave a tiny trace of toothpaste around the edge of the cap. You don’t think this matters and/or they’ll notice and/or they’ll care. But they do notice… they do care… and though they pretend everything is fine (after all it’s just toothpaste) they actually kind of hate you for it.
The passive aggression surrounding cleanliness in a shared living space is palpable because it always goes both ways. Well, almost always…
You guys haven’t lived with Evgenia.
Evgenia (name changed to protect the truly disgusting) was what you might call an ordinary girl. She showered daily, brushed her teeth, washed her clothes, always looked presentable. On the surface she’d fly straight under your radar – just a normal 20 something with a master’s degree and a fiancée.
But Evgenia had a secret.
I moved into the sharehouse with Evgenia my first year of uni. The living areas had been closed off to make additional rooms so what was a technically a three bedroom house was shared between five girls. There was a tiny dining room table adjacent to the kitchen and beneath the table, a hole in the floor which led under the house. Frequently, a chair leg would fall down the hole and our latest guest would collapse from the chair, slamming into the boarded up fireplace. We’d laugh and apologise profusely.
Sorry, we should have warned you about the hole. Don’t worry, it happens all the time.
A few months back I drove past my old place to do some reminiscing only to find it had been torn to the ground… so the house wasn’t much to begin with. But it was cheap, the flatmates were nice… and then there was Evgenia.
Evgenia loved to cook. She didn’t love to clean. I know this because not once in the year we lived together did she wash a single dish. As you can imagine, we got sick of picking up after her so, as a group, we decided to see just how much mess she would be willing to disregard in order to avoid cleaning. Unfortunately this meant that a wok filled with paella sat on the bench for long enough to no longer look or smell like paella. We gave up, threw the whole rancid wok in the bin and, after a few more “house-training” attempts, decided she was a lost cause.
The five of us had our own cupboards in the kitchen, plus a few more spaces for shared items like cutlery, cups, tea, coffee. At the very top of the coffee shelf was a large blue ice-cream container. I’d been living in the house for about 6 months when I decided to investigate just what was inside that container. Imagine my surprise when, upon looking inside I found, not sugar or tea bags as I had expected, but wriggling maggots and the worst smell I have ever encountered.
Obviously I have no concrete proof that the container belonged to her but I have a year’s worth of anecdotal evidence which strongly implicates her as the culprit. Evgenia, why are you so dirty?
Until I left home I didn’t know people could live in such filth. I’m really not a crazy clean freak but some of the things I have read about on this wonderful internet of ours and experienced personally really make me disappointed in our species. So, somebody in my building lives in an Evgenia-like state and that somebody is responsible for my rodent infestation and thus, my mous-i-cidal tendancies.
To the mice – I’m sorry
To Evgenia – Get help
To you – Respect your flatmates
Do you have an Evgenia story of your own? Please, share.