Housemates from hell

by Evans Yonson

i have always dreamt of living away from home, away from family. living on my own. earning on my own and keeping myself busy with my own life. from 1993 onwards, i have lived with all types of personalities that would last me a lifetime writing blogs about them. i don’t consider my place a house. i always call it home away from home. i try to do all the things that i normally do back home, i mean all things.

if you’re cash-strapped, which i always am, you would prefer to have somebody to share the rent with. you even go to the extent of sharing rooms, especially if you’re from the same province. so, enter the idea of having housemates. some were confidantes. you share secrets and stories about guys and families. you exchange anecdotes from work and all the daily mundane things that you encounter when you’re away from family. but not all housemates are fun to be with. there are really housemates from hell.

how do you qualify a housemate from hell?

housemate #1 is from a city outside of manila. came to the big city to try a new life. i have been raised with the adage that cleanliness is next to godliness. this housemate is simply the devil incarnate. he collects all things recyclable – books, newspapers, paper cups, posters. i appreciate people who make use of other things into something of higher value. but not this housemate. not only collects all these, he collects DUST. i hate dust. i am allergic to dust. after so many years, i bet all my savings (as if i have it) that he is still into gathering more dust up to this moment.

Jennifer Jason Leigh as Hedy Carlson in Single White Female (1992).

housemate #2 is your typical intelligent looking person. very well groomed and highly informed. a walking encyclopedia. what he has in looks and appearance is contrary to what you’ll see inside his room. his abode is like new orleans minutes after hurricane katrina. food stuff everywhere. empty plastic bottles of water. papers. folders. toiletries. dirty clothes. clean clothes. shoes – one here and the other nowhere. hangers. and the smell of his room? it’s simply beyond description. i would always remind him that everything should be in its proper place. i bet he’s still looking for his passport up to this day.

Damien in The Omen (1976/2006) was cared for by an evil incarnate nanny.

if i want to share my food, i display it. it’s for everybody. if i don’t want to then it means i’ll hide it away, away from everybody even the roaches. if food buying and sharing is a great idea, then i am for it 100%. and if it means i’ll cook it then i will.

housemates #3 buys the idea of sharing because she doesn’t cook at all. since i volunteered to cook on weekends, i requested her to thaw all the meat hours before i cook it. when i was still going to up-diliman, i had to live my place as early as 7AM. then i would be back shortly before 12 noon. and what do i find in the kitchen? nothing. and #3 comes home and complains why i haven’t prepared lunch yet. solution? one day, i cooked everything in one sitting. what was to be a two-week food became adobo for two weeks.

the best way to judge a person is to see his toilet first before going to his living room. but not housemate #4. the garbage bin is not cleaned for weeks. empty shampoo sachets are here and there. soap without a dish. rusty shaving cream cans. dirty razors. smelly sanitary napkins. and i could go on and on.

since it’s our home, we share in its cleanliness. i sweep before i wax. after an hour, i scrub with a coconut husk. but not housemate #5, she’ll do it on her leisure time. when will that be? god knows when. even if there are assigned dates for each one’s cleaning schedule, she’ll still do it on her own time and terms.

if there’s a party – birthday or any celebration – expect everybody to invite somebody. but not housemate #6, he invites the whole town. and he doesn’t even buy his own drinks. he acts as if it’s always his party. my party, his music. my preparations, his fun. he always feels that he’s the life of the party. but i doubt if he will ever have a party of his own life.

these are collectively my housemates from hell. but i don’t have regrets that they were from hell. i am even thankful that i met them in this lifetime. it’s one chance that i would never bargain with anyone at all. they made me experience what hell is without going there at all.