Dear Housemates Circa 2001,
Hi. It’s been a long time and I’m sure you may not even remember me, and really, why should you? I lived beneath you in the old house on Elizabeth Street in Denver, Colorado for a short time–5 months. It was July, 2001 and I had just rented my first big city apartment in the lower half of the house where you lived. You were somewhat of a mystery to me, as I never saw you, but heard you clearly at odd hours of the night as you galloped up and down the rickety wood staircase from your balcony outside. (Did you realize that the staircase was a kiss away from my bedroom window?) There are some things that weren’t a mystery: I knew it was early morning when you came and went and came and went. I knew I dared not look at the clock as you came and went and came and went as I would freak if I knew the ungodly hour that you were smitten to arrive home, turn on music and stomp around only to then…leave again. I knew that if it wasn’t the outside staircase, then it would be the inside staircase—and I knew that sometimes one of you used the outside staircase and one of you the inside staircase at the same time. Did you do this for a reason? “I’ll lock the back door when I leave. You can lock the front door when you leave. Ready? Set? Go!”
Well, back to my purpose of this random letter. I want to thank you for a lesson that you taught me. I’ll get to that in a minute–but I’d love to know– do you remember the early October morning when we finally met for the first time at 3:00 a.m.?
I was fast asleep after hearing you come and go and come and go and come and go…and then finally stay. I had no idea of the time until I woke from what I thought was a dream where I was in a rainstorm. Alas, it wasn’t a dream; water really was dripping on my bed/head from the ceiling. Which meant it was coming from your apartment. Which meant I had to think fast as it was dripping heavily into the light fixture before trickling over and onto my bed/head. I had no idea what to do in my groggy state, but I mustered up the confidence to run up the stairs (okay, perhaps I galloped as well) to knock, knock, knock, on your door. And then I knocked, knocked and knocked some more. And that was how we first met: you, bewildered, and me trying to explain that your apartment was, well, raining on my head/bed. When you finally came to your senses (I think you may have been a wee bit drunk… and one of you never even woke up)…you put two and two together and invited me in. We decided to search for the source of the water. I could have gagged (fainted? puked? died?) as we entered your bathroom. Nope, it wasn’t the bathtub or sink overflowing…(although maybe that would have been a good way to clean the filthy fiasco!) Next, I followed you into the kitchen where what we found was a sink soooooooo piled high with the dirtiest dishes known to man that the drippy faucet had finally caused the sink to overflow. It was enough to drip, drip, drip down on the floor (my ceiling, mind you) and thus onto my bed. Obviously, this had been going on a long time. Ew.
We found the water shut off for the entire house (as there was so much crap in the way that we couldn’t find the shut off at the source) and I knew my day, if I were to be lucky enough to go back to sleep, would now be without a shower. I remember how when I left you said “thanks”…and I wanted to say other things…but I replied “thanks, nice to meet you.” I went back down to my apartment at not quite a gallop, but with more of a dread. Now I was the fortunate one who got to put two and two together and realize that the water dripping on me–on my brand new bed/head– was dirty, skanky and filthy water from your dirty, skanky and filthy sink. And I couldn’t shower. And I couldn’t go back to sleep. And I started right then devising a plan to tell the landlord that I was terribly sorry, but I needed to move right away before my six month lease was up and really, shouldn’t he let me break the lease because of the water damage?
Okay, enough of the jog down memory lane and on to my lesson learned:
Never, ever, move into an apartment in a house without a) meeting your housemates and b) knowing that if you choose to live beneath someone you best be a sound sleeper!
Anyway, thanks. I know this was random. I know you could probably care less. It was nice to meet you back in 2001.