I have lived with all sorts of people, from students to old women, but my housemate from hell was a drunk. I once thought that a mummy’s boy was the worst person you could live because they are not used to doing things for themselves. However my view changed after I had a terrible experience living with a drunk. An alcoholic is an irrational person who spends all their money on drinking and has no consideration for others. Whilst you can teach a mummy’s boy how to wash dishes if you are persistent, the alcoholic will never care to learn.
Let me take a few steps back and start at the beginning. I first moved out of home when I was 18 years old and lived in student accommodation in Newcastle. I had two housemates. One guy was a student at the local university and played the guitar. The other guy had tourettes and swore loudly as he played video games all day. There was a permanent pile of dishes in the sink and a constant odour of Marijuana however we lived together harmoniously. The only misadventure was when we discovered a big spider in the house and both boys were so frightened, we needed to call the neighbours to help catch it. After Newcastle, I lived with various other housemates and boyfriends in Sydney before moving to London.
When I first moved to London I lived in shared accommodation with a DJ. Aside from the filthy bathroom, it was an ideal arrangement as he slept during the day and was working late at night. I went on to become a busy Airbnb host in London and I welcomed more than 100 different guests from over 30 countries. My visitors included families with young children, working professionals, and young and elderly couples visiting London. A year of opening my home to Airbnb guests taught me a lot about myself. I recognised I was a very flexible person who could live with everyone, but I was also sensitive when guests made unreasonable demands. I also started to realise that living with other people can be an inconvenience. When you live with others you cannot leave leftover food on the bench, lie on the couch or walk around undressed.
But when a friend in need asked if they could crash at my place, I was more than happy to accommodate. After all, I had years of experience living with others and I wanted to help. At the time, I was living in a trendy neighbourhood of London in a two bedroom and two bathroom apartment. There was plenty of space and a big outdoor area so privacy was not a problem. For the sake of this article, let’s refer to the friend as Sam.
Sam was new to London and had moved from Eastern Europe. When he moved into my home he spent the first two weeks getting drunk in his bedroom. At first I rationalised that he was simply excited about being in a new city and drinking was his way of coping. I encouraged him to go out and explore London but he said he needed to be careful with his money until he found a job. He only started to venture outside to attend interviews and I was very happy when he finally landed his first job as a restaurant porter.
However things did not improve once he started working. He would not receive his first paycheck until after a month and he complained of having no money. As the days went by, he continued to drink in his bedroom and his level of drunkeness each night became worse. I calculated he was spending at least £15 a day on alcohol. He would begin his drinking around 1pm and by 8pm he would be staggering and incoherent. The kitchen and backyard became full of beer bottles that were attracting fruit flies and a weird smell.
Sam was a big, strong guy but when he was drunk he would lose his balance and sense of accuracy. He started to accidentally break things like the coat rack, the bathroom door, crockery and he even managed to break the keys to the house.
When he was paid his first salary I secretly celebrated, expecting that the drinking would stop and he would start going out now he had more financial freedom. To commemorate the occasion, I invited him to join me and a group of friends for dinner at a Spanish tapas restaurant. Between the time I extended the invitation and we arrived at the restaurant (approximately 1 hour) he magically became inebriated and I was embarrassed by his behaviour. He repeatedly banged his fists on the table, called the other diners stupid, and he demanded the waiters bring him more beer. I hoped when the food arrived he would calm down, but after he ate most of the shared dishes he then threw some cash on the table and left us without saying goodbye.
Living with Sam became a burden as he was a housemate from hell. Sam was always drunk and aggressive. He would slam the doors, shout at people and say rude things. Sam also liked to eat dinner with us but his manners were appalling. He would start eating before everyone sat down to the table and he used his hands to eat salad directly from the shared salad bowl. I never saw him use a napkin during a meal.
I tried my best to tolerate Sam and I tried to understand his position, but no matter how hard I tried I viewed him as the housemate from hell. Things came to a head one weekend. I had arranged for a cleaner to come and deep clean the house with agreement from the rest of the household. That morning at 9.30am I was woken by loud heavy metal music blaring from the kitchen. Sam was already drunk and his face was bright red. This provoked me to shout at him! When the cleaner arrived we were supposed to vacate the house so she could do a thorough job but Sam refused to leave. I became scared he would manhandle the cleaner and it took great exertion to make him leave her alone to do her job. After this incident, we stopped speaking for a few days.
The last straw was when I came home one night after a long day at work. Sure enough Sam was drunk and as soon as I put my handbag down he asked me if he could borrow £100. I apologised that I did not lend money and explained to him that if he wasn’t spending so much money on alcohol each day, he wouldn’t need to borrow money from people. I then went to my bedroom and heard him shouting over and over again to himself that I am a f@%king bitch. The next morning I asked him to leave.
I do not know what happened to Sam as we have never spoken again. Perhaps he thought I was the housemate from hell because I was boring and did not drink. Perhaps Sam found a better place to live with more like minded people. It was a terrible experience and it made me appreciate how enjoyable it can be to have a quiet house to yourself.