Passive ‘un aggressive, sittin’ in a tree…!

pas·sive-ag·gres·sive adj.

“Of, relating to, or having a personality disorder characterized by habitual passive resistance to demands for adequate performance in occupational or social situations, as by procrastination, stubbornness, sullenness, and inefficiency.”

I have a roommate who is so passive aggressive that he manages to wrangle, squeeze, wring a twisted excuse out of every situation. With sweat on his brow and blood from his knuckles, he pushes that bitch out with unerring efficiency. And the excuse generally involves how everything is my fault.

Please review the past evidence of this behaviour: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

After you’ve processed all that passive-aggressiveness (in case you’re too lazy to read – my roommate blames me for a) his drinking, b) his not locking the door, c) breaking my ironing board and d) generally anything in his life), move on to this:

All of the bills for the apartment are in my name – the cable/internet/mobile phones and the Bell Canada bill. In a not entirely timely fashion, I prepare them and divide them up with a program I created in Excel and print them out, make a colour photocopy for the roommate to review and keep for his records. I did this the last time at the beginning of September, presenting him with 2 cable bills and 2 phone bills because we’re behind a month. He paid the cable bill, left out a receipt and took the copies. I didn’t hear anything else. Then I noticed when the new phone bill arrived that it had not been paid. I left him a note* reminding him and the $60 was left the next morning.

*you may be wondering why there are so many ‘notes’ to my roommate. He is an alcoholic, but fortunately, he doesn’t really do it at home, he always does it at his local bar. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. Fine, I really don’t care, but he likes to blame me for his drinking. So, in turn, he blames me for the lack of communication between us. Fact is, I can’t talk to someone who isn’t there and I don’t think I should have to go to a bar to ask my roommate to pay his bills. My notes are never rude, they’re politely assertive, and the only way I can communicate with someone who doesn’t ever hang out at home…

On a related note, my roommate and I have lived together for nearly a year and a half and he has cleaned the living room LITERALLY 5-6 times and the bathroom LITERALLY 3-4 times. No exaggeration. He occasionally cleans the kitchen, but it is generally just the cup, dish or silverware he just used. Despite the living room being filled with my furniture (not out of domination, out of necessity – he has NOTHING. He also uses my futon as a bed).

Two weeks ago, I went to Waterloo to visit my boyfriend** and just generally hang out, get away from Toronto, etc. When I returned, the apartment was…gasp!…clean. I was shocked. The living room was given a once over, as well as the kitchen. The bathroom was given a very cursory cleaning, but it’s the effort that counts…I guess.

**my roommate also has an issue going to his boyfriend’s place. He never does – either because he isn’t allowed or because he doesn’t want to. In any event, he NEVER goes there and the last time we spoke about it (maybe 5 months ago), he hadn’t been ever. Personally, this would tip me off to some kind of issue, but then again, it’s probably my fault his boyfriend doesn’t allow him to go over…

Anyway, anyway, anyway – this was all well and good and hunky dory, fuck you, too.

Then this week, I get a call from Rogers, stating that money is owed to them. I ask how much and…BLAMMO! Guess what? It’s the exact, to-the-penny amount that my roommate owes. Shock of shocking shocks.

I sent an email to the roommate. Here it is:

I don’t know if you remember or not, but I requested that you pay the Rogers bill on October 15 (the bill was supposed to be paid by the 15th of September, according to Rogers*). The documentation regarding this particular bill was given to you already. I assumed, since you took the note and left $60 for Bell that the cable bill had been paid and you forgot to give me a receipt.
I just got a call from Rogers (at work) asking where this money was. If it’s not paid, our cable, internet and mobile phone service is being cut off tomorrow. Please ensure this is paid and that future bills are paid on time. I know that I’m behind in giving you the Rogers bill for September (*we’re actually a full month behind since 7-8 months ago, we both skipped a month of paying. I’ve been paying $200 every month since August to cut down the one month behind, but you still are 1 month behind since you’re paying the amount of the bill only).
I have the phone and cable bills for September and will divide them up tonight, but this other bill needs to be paid ASAP.

I think it’s rather calm considering Rogers had just phoned me to cut off our service. It’s assertive, no doubt, but c’mon – it’s money he’s known about for a month and a half.

So…brace yourself. This was the response (please note, this is unaltered, unedited and unembellished):

I got the email, I was planning on paying it tonight. If you actually took the time to talk to me once in a while, I would have told you that Bell hired me full time this month, but my pay was held back for 3 weeks as a result (I used to get paid every week) So I had to borrow money from my folks just so I could go on frikin my vacation, I finally got paid so I will take care of it.

Let’s break this shit down, shall we?

1) It’s rather convenient that he was going to pay it ‘tonight,’ n’est pas?
2) I don’t talk to him ‘on purpose.’
3) It’s my responsibility to ask him if he’s got a new job.
4) It’s my responsibility to ask him if his financial situation has changed.
5) What does having to borrow money to go to Las Vegas have to do with me?
6) Through an unnamed source, that my roommate knows I’m close with, I found out that he’s not working FULL TIME, he’s still a temporary employee. Also, his pay was shifted for ONE WEEK, not THREE, so he only needed a week’s extra cash.

The real problem is, he wanted to go on vacation – I mean, not cleaning your apartment and basically passive-aggressive behaviour makes you long for a break, no? To go on vacation, he was going to have to skip paying a bill AND borrow money from his ‘rents – this, to me, would mean I couldn’t afford it. Instead of coming back (he returned on a Sunday and got paid on the Friday just before – not the day he wrote the email (the Tuesday after he returned), which he implied) and paying it before Rogers had a chance to call me, he waits until I make an issue of it and then acts like the victim, as always.

I was flabbergasted at the dillusional, passive-aggressive nature of his reply, but all responses seemed too mean and too rude, so I didn’t bother writing anything. I figured, fuck, he’s paying the bill, why make anything more of it.

Then…I come home the next night from work and WOAH! The living room and kitchen were clean – twice in 30 days. Shocking! That trip to Vegas certainly rejuvenated him! The bathroom, however, was untouched (as per usual). Ah well, perhaps we’re finally making progress.

This morning, I get up, open my door and walk through the living room. I look over at the shelf under the window and…it is populated by every tacky, ugly, chintzy knick knack EVER conceived in a gypsy’s insane mind. A pack of tarot cards (HELLO, 1973!) was opened and cut in the middle – in other words, it takes up 3x as much space as before. Not passive aggressive at all, huh? His trying to assert some kind of ownership over the shared space is making him go mental – mental to the point that good taste and common sense no longer have a foothold in his decorating sense.

Do we truly need a crystal ball in the middle of the coffee table?

I cannot wait until he goes crazy enough to move out. I think we’re getting closer.

Also, I know where this all started. It started when I quit smoking. My roommate and I quit smoking on the same day. He lasted less than 24 hours while I will never smoke again (Free and Healing for One Year, Twenty Nine Days, 17 Hours and 7 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 34 Days and 6 Hours, by avoiding the use of 9868 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $3,109.19.). When I quit smoking, I told my roommate that I didn’t want smoke in the shared spaces (for any number of reasons – it’s all my furniture, my curtains, my electronic equipment, and not to mention the health factor). He, of course, played the victim and claimed later on that making him smoke in his room was the equivalent of making him break his back to build the trans-Canada railroad.

I told him that my not smoking won’t ever give him cancer. The subject was closed, he knew he was defeated. But, unfortunately, like most passive aggressive people, he cannot let go of the fact that throughout his life, he’s felt hard done by and blames everyone else. Of course, I don’t know this for a fact – but the evidence speaks for itself.

I won’t even start on the time he got angry with me for not saying “Hi!” to him in a crowded bar when we’d just seen each other 15 minutes before at home…


He also enjoys slamming doors and ignoring my “Hey” when he walks in the door. Just this Tuesday, my buddy and I were watching TV. He came in. I said “Hi!” He doesn’t acknowledge. My friend says “Hi!” and he goes, “Oh, hey!”

Anyone so desperate to be a relationship that they’ll tolerate their significant other never letting them even set foot in their house…you got some issues that need dealing with. And the problem ain’t your roommate (see live-in maid).


~ by seangstm on October 28, 2005.

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