It’s funny how something as simple as a dirty plate can tip you over the edge. One minute you’re whistling the theme tune to Family Guy, the next you’re daubing yourself in red marker, tying a tea towel around your head and starting every sentence with ‘your move motherfucker’. Or maybe that’s just how I deal with bad housemates’¦
Oh why must I toil the lonely wilderness of the renter? Well that’s obvious; I have no money to buy a house, no desire to live back at home and no inclination to get a 100% mortgage. Whenever I think of the latter, I always imagine a broker fixing his stare on my 2,000-page contract, producing a pen made from boiled baby bones and asking me to ‘sign this my pretty, then you shall have your wish’.
Personally, I can’t wait for a property crash; it’ll be nice to meet people of a similar age without the conversation turning to inheritance, with some gimps seemingly counting the days until their parents shuffle off this mortal coil. In the meantime, I rent, taking the risk with random strangers in a house that is barely taken care of by a landlord who always calls me Jim. That’s once I’ve trawled the web, looking for any home that’s within my pay range and doesn’t include the phrase -no time wasters’: hardly a place for a journalist then, is it? This hatred for the renting process – welled up during the four years I have handed over dead money to overlords, sorry, landlords – began with my first -interview’. That’s the ten-minute snippet where you arrive in a home and either (a) realise you’d rather live on a bird sanctuary daubed white in blackbird shit, or (b) want to move in and, therefore, lie about how easy you are to live with.
Considering that the latter tactic won me a place in several homes, it’s odd that it’s always a surprise to me when I’m the one offering a room and somebody lies to me. There was the Kafka fan who was a -clean freak’ and -loved to cook’. He now heats microwaveable ready meals every night and gives monosyllabic answers to questions about bills, while staring at Championship Manager’¦ in his pants. Meanwhile, the snail that escaped our pathway, dragging hints of dust from our front door on his back, has done more to keep the house in good nick.
What about the -easy-going Tipperary fitness freak’ who picks his nose and eats the contents while talking to you, or the couple who fight daily, resulting in the male playing the K-Pax soundtrack at top volume and telling me ‘I’ve broken up with her once and for all’ for the fourteenth night on the trot? Meanwhile, she’s making his dinner, using my wok, my olive oil and drinking my beer.
‘I’ll pay ya back’ is one of the dirtiest phrases when sharing a house with the collection of fuckwits, child-men and raving lunatrons that I’ve ended up with in the past. Instead, they occasionally leave you half a bottle of wine that was going to go off anyway and believe this somehow means they’re contributing. You tiptoe past the cigarette butts left outside the back door. You ignore the clump of hair at the bottom of the shower. You empty the dishwasher, again. You try and end up in the home of that one-night stand instead of your dingy gaff, which is two nights of Guinness abuse away from becoming a fart academy. You learn to survive.
Has the easy road from university squalor to highly paid jobs left a workforce that is too stupid to take care of itself and too rich not to leave home? It certainly would explain the mammy’s boy who left his room in a smelly heap for three months before his mother visited to clean it up.
Daft? It’s a fuckin’ valley of lunatics out there. Do I sound anal? Come on, you know you’d live with me. One ten-minute interview where I lie about how easy-going I am and I’ll be in that boxroom of yours before you can say -is it alright if I have one of your beers?’ Your move motherfucker.