Roommates in New York Suck

I’ve only shared two places since I arrived in New York. I shared the first place in Williamsburg with a great girl who ended up moving to Portland. I was in the other girl who lived there’s room while she traveled around Europe, and moved to the other room when she came back.

She was away for most of the time I was there, which was great. At the time, I found her a little intense but this was nothing compared to what I would go through with the next roommate. Oh, by the way Australians “roommate” = “housemate.” I was not sharing a room with anyone!

It started out fine in Park Slope. I was sharing with one other girl, who’s around the same age and has a similar job to mine. She liked to read a lot, and she liked the same TV shows I did, so while I knew we wouldn’t be besties – like I was with most of the people I lived with in Australia – I thought we would get along.

  • The Kitchenware Debacle
    I have shared houses for about ten years now. I understand the importance of bringing things into the house when you move in. The Park Slope girl… let’s call her ‘Loser’… told me I could use her kitchen things and didn’t need to buy new ones when I first met her.
    Seeing as I had arrived with basically nothing, I spent most of my time and money decorating my bedroom. I did intend to buy plates, cups, cutlery, etc eventually but this wasn’t a priority since you can’t sleep on a plate, I don’t cook often, and she’d said I could use hers.
    One night, she was watching ‘Nashville’ in the living room, and I sat down and joined her. She looked at me and said “You can use my plates and cups for now until you get your own,” in a very passive-aggressive way.
    I got up, finished my meal in my bedroom and ordered plates, cups, and cutlery online immediately. Something I was planning to do anyway and something she hadn’t said was a problem previously.
  • The Amazon Fire Stick Incident
    Loser had an Amazon Fire Stick (a device you plug into the TV that gives you access to Netflix and other fun things) set up in the living room. I used it maybe three times and she had said this was fine.
    One night, I felt like watching ‘Friends.’ I’d watched maybe ten minutes and she came out of her room, all cranky, telling me to watch something else because she was watching ‘Pretty Little Liars’ (ha, see, ‘Nashville’ and ‘Pretty Little Liars’? LOSER) but had paused it because she was on the phone. About three days later she told me her Fire Stick had broken, (*sneeze* BULLSHIT *sneeze*) so she’d moved the one from the living room to her bedroom. And if I wanted to use the TV, I could get my own.
  • The “Call the Super!” Night
    I got home late one Friday night – she was already home – and the toilet was running. Yes, this is annoying, and yes, it’s something you think you can fix yourself but you can’t. I went out again on Saturday, and most of Sunday, and on Sunday night she yelled at me for how I hadn’t called the Super about it, and suggested I had broken it again after she had “fixed” it.
    This is despite the fact maintenance people don’t usually take kindly to you asking them to do things for you on weekends, and she had already texted the Super (the guy who fixes things in the building, for my Australian friends playing at home) to come in the next day.
  • The Secret Vacation
    One morning, when I was getting ready to go to boxing at 5:50am (YES, this is what time I get up. YES, it’s insane. YES it’s also worth it) I could see light coming from her bedroom. Since she is a Loser, she gets up at the same time every day and anything outside of this routine is weird. When she wasn’t there that night, I assumed she’d gone home for the Holidays (Christmas, New Year) for a while. It was great to have the house to myself, but it’s also great to know how long you’ll have it for. And to, you know, communicate with the people you live with so they don’t worry. Not that I would – but she didn’t know that.
  • The Surprise Moving Day
    The day of the Oscars was great. I got to see ‘Moonlight’ take out Best Picture over ‘La La Land’ after they’d all thought they’d won – haha – and I found out Loser was leaving. I, being an organized Type A person, started looking for new furniture immediately. I contacted people about couches, ordered a coffee table, a new bed with storage so I could move my bookcase into the living room, a toaster, and a microwave. When I asked on the Tuesday if she knew when she was leaving, she told me she didn’t have an exact date yet, but she would keep me updated.
    Thursday night, I got home and saw piles of boxes in the living room. We had been texting and emailing about potential replacement roommates, so I asked her if she was moving on the weekend in one of those texts. No reply.Next day, I was supposed to have a bed delivered, so I organized to work from home. Loser had left at her usual time, so I assumed she was just getting really organized to move on the weekend, or early the next week, since I hadn’t heard otherwise.

I logged in to my computer, and Loser walked in the house. “Oh, hey, just so you know the movers are coming now,” she said in her stupid voice and walked into her room. I went and hid in my room, wrote a hilarious Facebook update, and waited.

My hilarious Facebook post

When I couldn’t hear anyone any more, I went into the living room and it was empty. Completely. Empty. Of course, I don’t expect someone to leave their own things they need/want in the house when they move. But I do expect to be told when said things will not be in the house any more.

She came back to the house that afternoon, and the next day. And decided to lock her bedroom, so that when a girl I was showing the room to was on her way to see it, I had to tell her not to come because I couldn’t open the door.
When I asked Loser why she locked her room, she said it was because she’d left things “including a jar of money” in there. I got very mad, and sent her the below.
No reply, but by Monday night her room was completely empty.

“If you don’t need to be here when people are seeing the room, then you don’t really need to know when they’ll be here. I can do all of that to save you time, and direct them to you to work out the official stuff. By the way, I really doubt anyone would steal money out of your bedroom, and if you’re that concerned then maybe take it with you. I have my own money and I don’t think a person looking at the room with me there with them would try to steal anything.

I also didn’t really appreciate you not telling me when you were moving everything out when I asked about it a couple of times last week, and you leaving a huge garbage bag of your old food in the kitchen that started leaking everywhere. If you just wanted to get out ASAP, that’s fine. You don’t need to be petty about it though.
If you can make sure the door is unlocked so I can show those two people the room tomorrow at 8pm and Tuesday at 8:30pm, it’ll make this whole thing a lot quicker.”

The day she moved out, I went and bought some cushions to sit on.
I had this setup. Luckily, I only had one night of feeling like I was in ‘Trainspotting.’

Life imitating art imitating life










Is there a moral to this story? Choose life… wait, not that story. My story.

I recommend being more discerning about people you’re going to live with, and never assume anything. That, and make enough money to get your own place so you don’t have to deal with other people’s personality problems.




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Justine McNamara

I'm an Australian living in New York. I work in marketing but I write about music, New York, and my own personal experiences.

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