I've shared lots of houses with lots of people over the years, and for some reason have always had crazy housemates and evil landlords. This is just one of the stories. There will be more. Many more.

In my second year at college, I shared a house with a girl we never saw, and two classmates who I liked to call Brad and Janet. Janet was a bit odd. She didn't smoke, didn't drink, had never done any drugs, and liked eating healthily. All this I found deeply suspicious (and still do). Our first week in the house, we all decided to share in the food buying and cooking. Janet had a rice cooker her mother had given her, so she decided she'd get some rice for our first meal. Cool, I thought, I like rice, I love Chinese food, looking forward to that.

When she got back, I nearly had a fit. She'd bought two industrial/restaurant-sized sacks of rice - they were the size of large pillows, and weighed more than I did. Her explanation? "Well, we all like rice, and it'll be cheaper." Oh, okay. Cheaper if the house had a larger population than China, yes. We were there a year, and only partly dipped into the first bag. And we had a lot of rice. This was over ten years ago. She probably still hasn't finished it.

She cooked a huge meal that night, in portions. The only trouble was, we only had one pan, so she did each portion separately, putting them on the table when she was finished. When we sat down to eat, there were 20 different types of rice-based food. 19 were stone cold, and 1 was boiling hot. Shortly after that, I decided to buy and cook my own food.

Anyway, to get back to the title... we had a heating system in the house that was all included in the price of the rent, which was cool. Winter duly arrived, and I got home one day to find the heating switched off. In the kitchen, Janet was taping large binbags (garbage bags for the US folk) over all the doors and windows. She had finished the back door, and had nearly covered all the windows too.

All I could manage to ask was "Er... why are you doing that?"

"Because it's cold", she said, as if I'd asked why water goes white and hard in the freezer.

"Okay," I said. "Just checking."

It all went downhill from there. In hindsight, I should have realised that it was all bound to go horribly wrong.

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