Carol was without a doubt, the only roommate I would consider to be psycho. Not meaning that she was nuts, but that her behavior was erratic and inconsistent and even those who knew her well and loved her told me she was a bit off in the head
. I met her at church and she had heard that my current living situation was less than savory
, so she asked if I wanted to move in with her. She had a two bedroom but hadn't had a roommate in a long time and thought it was time to get another one. I didn't know her very well but having been more than sanely adventurous with moving around frequently and in with people I had known in even less time, I didn't think much about it.
Carol had a dog named Tuscan, a puppy I think, who very seldom got to leave the house. His hair was everywhere; she had hardwood floors. On more than many occasions, he had been left in the kitchen too long and had to relieve himself on the floor. Poor dog. He also had a habit of digging Carol's underwear, socks and shoes out of various hampers and piles on the floor and chewing them up. The apartment was a shotgun so you had to go through every room to get to every other room, so it was seldom I could even keep my door closed without Carol trudging through, streaming the phone cord and Tuscan behind her on her way to her room which was next to mine. My room was between hers and the bathroom, and so you can imagine.
Carol worked for a Christian outreach programs for kids called Young Life. She was always taking a bunch of black kids somewhere and lots of kids in the program had her home phone number. She was to some of these kids, their only role model, the only person who cared for them. She had a tendency to over-commit herself to projects, so she was seldom home, which was fine with me. I keep to myself when I live with people out of respect and also because I am just like that. I get into your life only as much as you want me there.
So far, she doesn't seem all that psycho, right? Well there were 3 instances that will maybe change your mind. The first one came when Hurricane Georges threatened to blow New Orleans off the map a few years ago. I came back from a birthday party that the people in my church hold for me every year to find that Carol was taping up the windows and storing all her electronic equipment in the closet. I may add that the night before some friends of hers who were from Atlanta originally were now moving back there. They had stayed with us the night before: Amber and David (married) and their roommate and good friend, Daniel. Carol wasn't around the night before, so I hung out with them and found Daniel particularly attractive. Now I knew that Carol liked Daniel but he obviously didn't like her back because she had had a near stalker attachment to him, one I had only heard about but had yet to see.
Carol, upon hearing about the hurricane warning, decided that she would drive to Atlanta to ride out the storm and take her friends back up to their hometown at the same time. In a two door Jeep Cherokee, she was going to pile four people, two dogs and everything the other three people owned that they could fit in the car and drive 8 hours to Atlanta. Amber had told me how much Daniel liked talking to me the night before and that he was interested in me. Since it may be the last time I saw these people, who I had really enjoyed hanging out with the night before, and I had no where else to evacuate to, I asked to tag along. I took a couple changes of clothes, an entire paycheck, and came along. Carol had wanted Daniel to sit up front with her, but he wanted to sit in the back with me and Amber. And we were off.
So Daniel and I started talking. It was tight back there and we were pressed against each other. And, well, we ended up kissing once. Upon seeing this in the rear view mirror, Carol began swerving the vehicle
then sped up to 85 and stayed at that speed for a long time, not speaking to anyone when they voiced their concern at our safety. She kept adjusting the mirror to make sure that we didn't kiss again so much that she finally broke it off. I knew we were all in deep shit.
When we stopped at a gas station, she followed me into the ladies room and asked me sarcastically if he was a good kisser. I just retorted how immature she was being. We all got back in the Jeep and proceeded. When we were nearing Atlanta, I had this strange feeling that when she dropped her friends off at their house she was going to leave me there. And it's a good thing I brought my back pack with me because that's exactly what she did. I was there for 8 days, never knowing if she would come back to get me. She had said she was heading up to her aunt's house in South Carolina just before she helped them unload their stuff. I had to sleep on the floor of Amber's mother's apartment and nothing but two changes of clothes with me. Thank God I had a whole paycheck so I was able to eat and at least enjoy some of my stay there, even though I was constantly searching for ways back home: bus, train, plane. No one was being let back into the city yet; it had been fully evacuated for days.
She did finally come back to get me and we made peace, though secretly I began to plot a new residence. Daniel started writing me letters from Atlanta and mailing them to my place at work so Carol wouldn't destroy them. Eventually, I dropped my interest with him but not until I knew for certain Carol was ok with how all that went down. She said she was, and apologized, but I never really believed her.
Then maybe 3 months after that, she disappeared for 2 weeks after getting a big advance from her mother that was supposed to pay off some bills. Her boss called me, then her mother, frantic, then her father (they're divorced) wanting answers I didn't have. I was worried for her but also mad that she didn't even finalize to her boss that she was quitting before she left, that she had told no one, not even me, what to tell people. Then she came back like nothing had happened.
Before they left for Atlanta, Amber told me that Carol was bulimic, but she guessed that Carol wasn't anymore, since she hadn't shown any signs in a while. But even before the Georges incident, I had noticed things that seemed questionable. She had nothing but junk food in the fridge. The medicine cabinet had way too many throat lozenges and diuretics for one person. Her face was always broken out, her eyes with even darker circles under them than mine. She was always hyper and was prone to mood swings, but that was also just Carol. I didn't confront her until I actually heard her vomiting in the bathroom at around 2 in the morning. I followed her out into the kitchen and asked her why she was doing this to herself. She said that it used to be a problem for her, but now she's ok, but it's such an automatic response for her body to vomit that she couldn't help it on those days when she ate too much.
Like all the other times, I didn't believe her. Her lies wore more and more thin as my stay with her continued. Not long after that I moved out with a sane roommate. She tried to hit me up for bills I didn't owe for, and she never got a dime from me. She was born of rich parents who likely pushed her too hard to succeed. She had been given almost everything she had and played the spoiled brat in hemp bracelets almost too well for it to have been a front. I cared for her deeply and wanted her to love herself, but it seemed that she was even worse at it than I was. I call her a psycho because she was at a level that I had never been, even in my lowest moments, I never flew off the handle like she did. I know I have my psycho moments, but I think the craziest thing I've ever done was stay with her even after all that stuff had gone down. I was nuts for ever believing a psycho. Now I know how you men must feel.