My Roommate From Hell on Capitol Hill

Once I started working for the conference I was able to move out of my sister and brother-in-law’s condo in Dupont circle.  Around that time a staffer named Kelly in my brother-in-law’s office found an apartment and was looking for a roommate.  Per his suggestion, I contacted Kelly and we arranged to meet up and get to know each other.  We met at a bar in Adams Morgan and it seemed to me like we got along pretty well.  She was kind of pretty and seemed fun and easy-going.  So we agreed to move in together.

The apartment was a dumpy two-floor, white brick town house with two bedrooms and one bathroom.  As soon as I moved in Kelly presented me with her rules about cleaning.  We were to rotate cleaning the apartment weekly.  Cleaning included vacuuming the common areas and cleaning the kitchen and bathroom.  I thought this was pushy but reasonable and being eager to please I agreed readily.  As time progressed it quickly became apparent that Kelly intended to be the dominant person in this relationship.  She criticized my cleaning and accused me a few times of not cleaning at all when in fact I did.  This reminded me of my prior roommate Collin in Burlington and made me wonder if it was worth it to clean at all.  At first I tried to keep things peaceful and I asked her if there was anything I could do to be a better roommate.  She said, “Well, you stop flooding the bathroom.”  I’m not sure what she meant by this because I was careful to clean up after myself but I realized I had made a mistake putting myself out like that.  I was such a people pleaser back then and to predators like Kelly I was an easy mark.

Kelly did not want us to use the air conditioning to save money on our electric bill even though Washington DC was ungodly hot in the summer.  I used the air conditioning in my room anyway.  I knew it pissed her off but I did not care.  Later in an argument she said she let me use my air conditioning as if she was doing me a favor.

When I first moved in she had this creepy boyfriend that reminded me of my RA freshman year.  He had some political job on Capitol Hill and my brother-in-law knew him but did not like him.  At one point Kelly told me that he had not filed a tax return in several years.  My brother in law took delight in hearing that.  He would often stay the night and I could hear them having sex from my room.  This made me uncomfortable but I never said anything.

After she broke up with her boyfriend these guys started calling and leaving messages for her.  One time I had forgotten to give her a message.  The guy called back and yelled at me saying, “Make sure you give her the message this time!”  Later I told her about it and she indicated she did not even like the guy.

She also had an asshole, judgmental friend who would stop by from time to time.  He was a slim guy with dark hair.  They would exchange snide glances with each other whenever I entered the room as if they had been discussing what a terrible roommate I had been.  They both struck me as typical Washingtonians at the time who only liked you to the extent you could do something for them.  A person without an impressive job or pedigree was looked upon with disdain.

At some point a leak developed in the ceiling.  The bathroom was on the second floor and every time either one of us took a shower water would drip through the plaster ceiling into the living room below.  The management sent someone to fix it.  He cut a hole in the ceiling and then left it that way for a few weeks.  The shower still leaked the entire time.  He eventually came back and did a half-assed job patching up the ceiling.  It still leaked every time we used the shower.

Furniture was scarce and we did not have a table and chairs to eat at.  One day I came home to find these crappy chairs and table.  At this point I was fed up with her and wrote this nasty note to her telling her that I lived there too and did not appreciate her moving furniture in without talking to me.  I later apologized to her but I’m sure she used that as evidence to all the people she complained about me to.

Around that time my college girlfriend Allison moved to DC. She visited one time and turned the air conditioning on in the living room.  I was out and Kelly came home and told her to turn it off.  Allison spent the rest of the day in my room with the air conditioning on.  Later Kelly told me Allison came over too much.  I protested that she used to bring her boyfriend over all the time and I never said anything about it but she did not seem to think that was a valid point.

One time my cousin Phil and his friend Betch came to visit.  We went out to the bars and got drunk.  I started yelling at some bums on the street, which made Betch upset.  Later on I apologized and explained that I was angry living with this bitch Kelly.  Phil said that there are always two sides to a story and I was probably doing things that bothered her.  This annoyed me but I did not say anything because part of me agreed with him. I had used her laundry detergent from time to time if I ran out.  I guess this bothered her because she filled a detergent container with bleach.  I of course used it and ruined some new clothes I had bought.

Phil and Betch stayed with me at the apartment for a couple of days.  Kelly was cordial at first but I could tell them being there annoyed her.  At the time I worked a second job at this shitty restaurant around the corner.  I gave Phil and Betch my key to the apartment and told them to be back by the time my shift was over so I could get in.  Late that night I came home and the door was locked.  I knocked a few times but Kelly either could not hear it or ignored it.  I sat on the steps in the rain and waited for Phil and Betch to get back.  I was angry because I had to go to work in the morning.  Finally a cab pulled up and they ran up apologetic.  I was pissed and did not say much to them.  They slept on the living room floor and left an apology note on the steps.  The next morning Kelly woke up and took the note.  I left after she did.  Phil and Betch were still asleep on the floor.  Later when I got home they told me Kelly and arrived home before me and they confronted her about what happened to the note.  She said she thought it was trash and picked it up.  They then asked if the note was in the garbage can and she stumbled saying that she probably put it in her briefcase or her car.  Phil and Betch told me they did not feel comfortable staying at my apartment and went to stay with my sister and brother in law.  Phil said he was wrong when he suggested my roommate problems were the fault of both of us.  Betch said that Kelly was pure evil.

Later I confronted her.  I told her living together was not working out.  I want to live in a place where my friends feel welcome.  She said she did not give a fuck about what my friends thought of her.  I told her that was pretty evident.  I then went on to say that I thought we were two different people and were just not compatible.  I remember saying that she live in a “Kelly-centric” universe.  She protested that we were not that different.  I’m not sure how that furthered her position.

Later Kelly moved out and Allison moved in.  I had been gone a couple of days and when I returned she had moved all her furniture out.  It felt so liberating and freeing to not have her around anymore even if there was even less furniture now. I saw that Kelly left her scarf in the closet.  I threw it in the trash.  Sure enough a week later she knocked on the door and asked if I had seen her scarf.  It was obvious she left it so she would have a reason to check the place out after she left.  I told her I had not see it.


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