NOTE: The Worst Roommate Ever series is drawn nearly verbatim from the sprawling, stream-of-consciousness-esque notes I recorded during the events of the WRE saga. I wrote these notes primarily as a form of cleansing therapy, and they are exhaustive in their length and detail. So if you are the type of reader who goes for the “TL:DR”, this series is not for you.
Allow me to introduce the first character study of the three irritants and assholes that comprised The Troika, whose machinations produced the spectre of The Worst Roommate Ever. Here, we meet B3, who was more of an irritant than an asshole. Of the three members of The Troika, B3 was by far the most innocuous. This, however, does not suggest that she was all hearts and flowers, or that she was anything even remotely close to being a decent, kind human being. She was less of a daily, direct part of the various shenanigans, and a large part of this was due to her not being around, having sublet her room to MD, Milquetoast Doormat.
I first became aware of B3 because she was friends with a girl I knew, but wasn’t particularly close with, from the “Nightworld” of DJs, promoters, and bands. Although I’d often been in the same bar, club, and house party as B3, she was extremely aloof and cliquish, with the air of someone who wanted you to know that she was choosing not to engage you.
Physically, B3 was like that awesome quote from Clueless, “like a Monet: from far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.” With severely bleached platinum hair styled like a mix of Jean Harlow and Kim Novak, and heavy heavy 50s style makeup of thick pale pancake foundation, heavy black eyeliner with dramatic wings at the corners, and red red lips, B3 certainly stood out from a crowd. She favored a fashion style that was a cross between 50s Betty Page pinup and 90s Goth Girl. All of this would have been quite fetching, if very artificial, on someone without the party-wrecked complexion and the lumpy, slack figure of one who never ever exercised, and sloshed her liver on a nightly basis with buckets of red wine and vodka.
B3 worked as a receptionist at a downtown salon, and during her time living at our flat, spent more than 3 years lackadaisically attempting to finish Beauty School, after deciding that Community College was too demanding. As I’ve mentioned before, there was a steep divide in the Nightworld scene between the well-educated smarty-pants aesthetes who held fancy tech jobs and were the over-achiever DJs, promoters, and band members in their “spare” time, and the largely uneducated party monsters who were the consumers of said DJs, clubs and bands, (though most of this crowd were far more interested in looking the part rather than any actual interest in music/film/art), who stretched out their getting their A.A. degrees indefinitely as they partied their way with druggy abandon through a succession of low-level retail jobs. These aging “kids” were the type who saw becoming a terrible bottom-feeder coke dealer as a cool career advancement, despite the fact that many of them got rolled up by vice, then mysteriously got out of jail “free” by welshing on their friends and suppliers. Lots of unsavory stuff went on amongst the dull and the partied-out, and B3, along with MD and GS were firmly in this strata of the Nightworld.
B3’s biggest failing was her phenomenal snottiness. If you weren’t someone she could use or exploit to her advantage, or a brand name personality like a popular DJ, promoter or band member, B3 was summarily dismissive in an almost amusingly Machiavellian manner. She had a put-on haughty tone of voice that, combined with her ability to judge people based solely on their fashion, looks and popularity, made her an aged–not grown-up–Mean Girl of the sort that everyone dreaded in high school.
B3, like MD and GS, and many of the rest of that hipster strata, was utterly uninterested in literature and music, and possessed no books whatsoever, and no stereo or even boombox to listen to her nonexistent music collection. For people so wrapped up in the nightclub party scene, it always amazed me how little B3 and her buddies cared about music. So essentially, B3 was an uneducated, shockingly unworldly (hailing from backwater Salt Lake City, she’d never left the country), one-dimensional snotty snob. All of this would have been merely annoying if she didn’t also have a mean streak coupled with a weak moral character.
B3, like MD and GS spent the majority of her time on the phone or out at night viciously gossiping about everyone around her. She was perennially at war with this or that unlucky target, and sometimes whole groups of people, and was constantly creating drama out of the smallest of situations. She also wasn’t above spreading utter fabrications about her “enemies” in her constant live warfare.
As an example, I caught her in a really mean lie. A girl known to both of us had abruptly left SF, leaving behind a job, apartment and boyfriend, to care for her mother who had been in a nearly fatal car accident and was in need of round-the-clock care–a tragic tale. But somehow I wasn’t surprised to hear B3 on the phone one day, calling up numerous friends and telling them that G (the girl) had a heroin habit, had been arrested, and went to rehab in an effort to avoid jail time. I’m not sure why B3 started this nasty rumour other than that she was bored and loved being at the center of intrigue.
She told this story to each person with obvious pleasure that you could hear in her haughty voice, and she punctuated her load of bullshit with lots of mean laughter. B3 shared a complete and utter lack of a sense of humour with GS and numerous others in her set of lazy uneducated fashion clones, but you’d hear B3 and GS cackling away with gales of fake-ish over-the-top laughter always at the expense of others. It was yet another facet of her Mean Girl persona.
When I first became aware of B3 and she of me, I was dating a member of a well-known band, which passed as “cool” in her book, and thus was initially immune to her intrigues. She moved into our flat because the Scene Queen DJ/promoter who occupied the room next to me was abruptly leaving, and had to find a replacement on short notice. She put the word out, and eventually found B3 to move in. Unfortunately, I didn’t yet know enough about B3 to say no. As I began to get to know her close-up, I found her haughtiness and endless nasty gossiping irritating, but not to the point of complete toxicity. That is until she showed her true colors in an unfortunate event involving another roommate left over from the days of the all-dude household that occupied our flat when I first moved in.
This dude, whom I’ll call “Cokey” for obvious reasons, was grumpy and unpleasant whilst sober, and wildy moody and nasty coked up. Cokey also had a stupid crush on B3, and was eye-rollingly decorous and chivalrous around her. One evening around the holidays, Cokey was in a rare state even for him, bustling and twitching around the flat in a fit of speedy cleaning before some out-of-town friends arrived to party and crash in our living room for 3 days in and around Christmas. I was recovering from a major, painful surgery performed 2 weeks prior, during which my left ovary was removed and my abdomen was sliced open into a deep 8-inch long incision that left me barely able to stand upright, and with a long 8 week recovery.
Cokey loudly banged on my door at around 1:00am, then burst in and started railing on about how he was the only one cleaning and I’d better get my lazy ass out of bed and into gear and clean the goddamned bathroom. Pissed off, I reminded him that I was in the early stages of surgical recovery, but this only served to enrage him, now yelling that he wasn’t going to take any of my goddamned excuses.
B3, to whom he magically gave a pass for the housecleaning, heard the commotion and came out of her room to stand in my doorway and watch the action unfold. I thought that maybe she was there to help me. I stared Cokey down, and in a quiet monotone, told him to fuck off out of my room. He lost it completely and lunged towards my bed and actually grabbed my arm and started to pull me upright. I then screamed at him to FUCK OFF and feebly tried kicking at him as I looked up into the doorway hopefully at B3, thinking that she’d at least attempt to talk Cokey down. But B3 merely stood in my doorway and continued to take in the scene, now with an amused smirk on her face.
I was livid–at both of them. I quietly and firmly told Cokey to get the fuck out of my room and leave me the fuck alone, and something in my voice and manner made him do just that–leave. Then, as he left, I coldly told B3 to close my door, as she was still standing there, waiting for the next “entertaining” scene. The next morning, Cokey had left the house to go to the store, and I had a chance to address B3 about the night before. I gave her the benefit of the doubt, a mistake on my part. While making coffee in the kitchen as she ate breakfast at the kitchen table, I commented, “I can’t believe what an asshole Cokey was last night”, expecting perhaps a nod of commiseration. Silly me. Instead, B3, with glacial coolness, replied in the most dismissive tone possible, “Whatever”.
That incident pretty much sums up B3’s inner moral workings. But what was B3 like as a roommate? As mentioned before, B3 was aloof and snotty, and while she didn’t actively taunt me like GS later would, she created a tension that made her unpleasant to be around. I rarely engaged her in conversation as past attempts had produced one word answers along with meaningful stares of boredom. Again, kind of like dealing with a high school Mean Girl.
Unpleasant day-to-day personality aside, B3 was chronically late with both rent and bills. Every month, she’d stretch out the due-on-the-1st date sometimes as far as the 10th. She was also extremely late on bills, and it wasn’t unusual for her to pay me, as I was in charge of most of the household bills, every other month. When I asked her to pay, she’d respond with scathing attitude, and didn’t appear to feel the least bit guilty about putting her fellow roommates out.
With this history, I should have known better than allow her to take over the PG&E bill. When Cokey left, someone needed to take over the PG&E bill. B3 volunteered with uncharacteristic eagerness. I soon found out why. Each month, she’d collect cash from the rest of us roommates as payment towards the bill. But unbeknownst to us, B3 was pulling one of the oldest tricks in the scammer book, and was taking the cash without ever paying the bill. She had been able to make off with a fairly large amount of loot, because when she took over the account, her spectacularly horrid credit made it necessary for a sizeable deposit to be paid on the account, a sanction we’d avoided in the past.
She was at work the day when S (the 4th roommate and the only really nice and decent person living there) and I were treated with a loud “click” as all of the appliances simultaneously switched off. After PG&E curtly told us that we had been disconnected due to non-payment, I called B3 at her work, only to have her respond in the usual snotty and put-out manner that she couldn’t do anything about it. With some heroic scrambling on S’s part, we got the power turned back on. But when B3 got home, I was stupidly amazed that she didn’t offer the least bit of an apology, and left S and I to figure out what was owed on the delinquent account. We ended up putting the bill in S’s name and leaving the delinquent amount under B3’s name to follow her into perpetuity. S, being the nice person she was, chalked this cock-up up to B3’s “forgetfulness”. But I’d had more than enough of B3’s crappy attitude, and I saw her “forgetfulness” as out-and-out thievery. Besides that, there was the matter of the numerous reminders that PG&E sends you before they get to the extreme point of turning off your power; B3 had been stealthily removing any trace of their existence which might alert the other roommates to her little scheme.
B3, true to form, surrounded herself with an entourage of equally intellectually and morally lightweight “friends”. (I use the term ‘friends’ in quotations because B3, along with MD and GS specialized in acquiring gangs of look-alike fashion clones who were really merely acquaintances rather than actual friends, and were eminently replaceable. But B3, MD and GS were all so obsessed with image and the appearance of popularity that they all constantly bragged about all of their “friends”, treating them like status symbols. My lack of a huge entourage of these “friends” and my act of leaving behind the Nightworld and its denizens was seen as the ultimate personal failing by The Troika, and was a popular subject of their gossip. GS in particular was convinced that taunting me about my lack of “friends” would surely hurt me deep down inside, so he taunted me regularly.)
B3 was 100% responsible for MD and GS’s occupation of two rooms in our flat. GS came along to replace yet another financially flaky party boi twink that B3 had unilaterally chosen to live in our flat–and who’d skipped on last month’s rent and bills, leaving his room a squalid mess. (He’d left a disgusting mattress that had recent, as in still wet, pee stains, and his carpet sported numerous poorly-cleaned puke stains that, combined with the pee, filled his room with the odor of a particularly nasty men’s room.) MD arrived 8 months later when B3 decided that she was going to move in with her boyfriend, but wanted to keep her interest in her room in our flat alive, and so she sublet her room. At the time, I was happy to have B3 leave, thinking I would enjoy a respite from her tension-producing aloof snottiness. Little did I know that by filling the vacant rooms with MD and GS, B3 had set into motion the makings of a personal chemistry between those two that would create tension and general havoc in the flat on an unimaginable level.