I recently went to see the stage production of He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, an adaptation of one of my very favourite books.
"Oh god," I muttered after watching various actors dance around giant joints, passing out on the couch with empty bottles of scotch and singing the praises of milk crates. "It's our house."
In case you haven't seen/read it, Felafel is an autobiographical story by John Birmingham about all the nutty housemates he's lived with and their crazy antics. Drug addicts, militant vegans, a dominatrix, porn addicts, crap rockstars, moon tanners, etc.
It's easy to think it's an entertaining work of fiction. When I read it at the tender age of 17, while I was still enrolled in private school and living in my mummy and daddy's house, I merely thought it was a very funny story and there's no way people could be that weird.
Now that I live in a sort of share house situation and found half a bowl full of mould, flies and ash sitting on the sink, it suddenly hit home that the myths of weird housemates are ALL TRUE.
Take my housemate who lives with my boyfriend Josh and I. Let's call him Dexter (for he enjoys watching the show)(and has significant social problems).
The first time I met Dexter I thought he was a nice chap, but gave off some weird vibes. Not watching-you-shower-creepy, not I'm-going-to-kill-you scary, just...weird. He kept bringing up his ex-wife randomly in conversation. Apologising, he explained that they'd been married for a few years but had since gotten divorced. But he was over it. Totally over it. Yeah right.
We felt a bit sorry for the lad, so his weirdness and tendency to sit on the couch for days on end and never actually sleep in his bed was excused.
Until I found out that they'd separated years ago and he had since gotten a girlfriend, so my sympathy went out the window.
It was the little things at first. Like the way he'd walk past me while I was sitting at the computer in the middle of the house and make a succession of clicking noises every time he walked past.
Or that he watches Fox News and actually believes every word they're saying, especially Bill O'Reilly. As an aspiring journalist who subscribes to the the idea of objectivity, ethics, and sanity in the media - plus I think Barack Obama is adorable - Fox News offends my intelligence more than A Current Affair.
Or the way he'd leave food out, or start making a cup of tea, and completely forget about it until it was crawling with flies.
Or when Josh decided invited him out to the pub with us one time and, for some odd reason, he ran off without telling anybody. I thought he'd gone to the bar or to the loo, but he was gone for some time so I went to look for him. I found him round the corner, talking to some completely random people.
Trying to be sympathetic to the guy who is letting Josh and I live in his house for very little rent, I decided to overlook it. But it just got worse.
The first thing that happened that seriously annoyed me was running out of milk when I was trying to make a coffee. Not really a big deal, except that I'd bought a litre of milk the day before and the next morning it was completely gone.
Considering I'm lactose intolerant and barely drink any milk and my boyfriend doesn't drink it either, I concluded that Dexter had drunk an entire litre of milk in less than 24 hours.
No milk and no coffee makes Ellie a very angry, cranky, lethargic person for the rest of the day.
The next thing that shot my blood pressure through the roof was when Dexter was talking to his girlfriend, who is from the Phillipines, over Skype.
As he strolled through the house, carrying his laptop, he nudged me conspiratorially and giggled. "Doesn't she sound funny?" he asked.
"Um. What?" I replied.
"She has a funny voice."
"... Why do you say that?"
"Cuz, um, you know, she has an accent."
"Isn't she Filipino and lives in the Phillipines?"
"I don't understand why that's funny."
In case you didn't know, I am Australian but of Korean descent. Not terribly sure why he thought that making fun of his girlfriend's Asian accent to his Asian housemate would be a good idea, but it wasn't.
And then I saw this sitting on the sink the other day. It is not mine. Josh uses an ashtray when he smokes, as opposed to a bowl half-filled with food. I was so enraged that I left a note. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of it, so here's an MS Paint representation of what I saw on the sink.
Amazingly, he washed it.
I have never seen Dexter clean in the three months we've been living here. Ever. I wash the dishes most of the time. After I finish washing piles of dishes that have accumulated over the last few weeks, Dexter will sail in with a pile of dirty bowls, plates and coffee mugs, plonk it on the sink and go back to the couch.
I don't mind washing dishes. But I draw the line when the dishes are not mine and encrusted with something that looks like, and will cause me, to vomit. So I was very, very angry that he actually expected me to wash his disgusting bowl of mould.
My friends reckon I should just dump it on his bed (well, couch, he never sleeps in his bed) the next time it happens.
Then the other night, I heard Dexter talking to his friend on the phone. I couldn't quite hear what he was saying, but I sort of got the gist that his friend was upset about something. To cheer him up, Dexter decided to blast cheesy Neil Diamond ballads to him from his stereo over the phone.
At 1 in the morning.
Apparently Dexter's girlfriend is coming round to stay soon. He described her as "stubborn", which I hope means she is a martial arts expert who will kick his arse and make him get his shit together before I commit housemate-icide.
But on second thought, perhaps I'm being a bit too hard on Dexter. Perhaps we are the shit housemates.
We constantly get intoxicated next door and occasionally stumble back into the kitchen and play Iron Chef: The Near-Empty Fridge edition.
At the moment I can see empty bottles of tequila, scotch and a Tooheys New tallie sitting on the table.
We are goon enthusiasts. Last weekend we held the Drinklympics. I did not participate because I had to work later that night, but it basically involved noisy beer pong, using a nasty mix of fruit salad and Coolabah dry white. A larger friend of ours broke a flimsy chair, which my mate Bob tried to fix, failed, then threw out the window.
To top it all off, we're noisy. It's not uncommon to have all three radios on, all playing Triple J. Either that or Dutch hardstyle techno blaring from Bob's subwoofer speakers. Josh also recently acquired a turntable for some vinyl-scratchin' good times and plays the drums. Prefered style? Heavy metal.
And Josh and I are, um, a couple. We're both fairly young. You can figure out the rest.
Dexter came round to me the other night with a big box. It was full of peanut M&Ms. And they were for me! Perhaps it was a peace offering.
"Oh, thankyou!" I said. "That's really nice of you. Where did you find them?"
"Well, they're from my vending business. They've been sitting under the house for a while."
I checked the date on the side of the box.
Then I ate one of the M&Ms. It tasted like cardboard and the peanut had gone squishy.
Who knows. Maybe funny ol' Dexter wants to commit some serious housemate-icide too.