When I moved to Chicago, it took exactly ten months to find a job that didn’t put me in my car for 4+ hours a day. Let me be clear here, I was so bull-headed against spending so much time in my car that I accepted a $6/hr pay cut and a shady AF job, just because I’d be able to walk to work when I felt like it. Unfortunately, this meant I needed to spend less on rent. At the time, I was being charged more for rent than I’ve since paid to live alone, and being asked to pay it in cash. But that’s another story for a another time.

After finding the job, I was desperate for a new, more affordable place to live. Not knowing a ton of people, I ended up being introduced to an acquaintance’s ex-girlfriend’s brother who needed a roommate because both of his just up and left. He was staying in a 3-bedroom place and was like, 19 years old, maybe 20, I just remember that I was 25. Now… here is the red flag that I chose to ignore. Roommates don’t just up and leave, with no notice, that’s not a thing. Unless you’re a complete douche-bag. But.. the rent was a third of what I was paying, so I did it anyway.

I never unpacked my kitchenware because the girl I lived with had an overabundance of things in the kitchen, my shit wasn’t necessary. So, it was weird when I moved into this place and the kitchen was completely empty. Not exaggerating. Empty, no dishes, no pans, no silverware, no food, empty fridge. But whatever, this is why I didn’t ever get rid of my cookware. I lugged all that crap across Iowa and to every apartment ever. I was clinging to the idea I’d eventually live alone again and I’d need it. And I was right, so I’m now glad for that.

I’m rambling about the importance of cookware, back to this new roommate.

This kid was constantly “borrowing” forty bucks from me and promising he’d pay it back. Pretty sure he was just buying little bags of weed over and over again. I mean, at least be economically about it and stock up. Me, trying to just keep the peace, and relieved at the lower amount I was paying for rent, it’s another thing I chose to ignore.

As mentioned, I had this car that I hated. It was the first car I ever bought, completely on my own, and it was a lemon. It had kind-of-broken windows? They weren’t really broken, but if you weren’t gentle with them, they would get stuck half way open. A variety of other little issues, but whatever, I woulda hated it even if it was perfect. For some reason, in my mid-twenties, driving just started making me an anxious ball of nerves. This was part of the appeal of moving to Chicago, driving is completely unnecessary. But I wasn’t yet confident that I could live without it. All the temp agencies kept sending me to the burbs just because I did own a car, which is rare among their clients. So when I finally found this job in the neighborhood, I decided to just keep it parked for like a year and see what happened. Basically, test myself on carless living.

Because I was never really using this car, and because I am a fucking nice person, dammit… I told my roomies they could borrow it, if they absolutely needed. The one guy never touched it, didn’t even care. I think his girlfriend actually had a car, so they never even considered using mine. But this kid, man.. Of course, every time I sat down in that car, the gas was on E. But that’s still another thing I chose to brush off.

One day in February, he decided he “needed” it to drive his girlfriend literally one block away to a walk-up restaurant. Let me explain something here, there’s no parking lot, it’s street parking only, in a heavily populated neighborhood, where tons of people are walking around. And 90% of these streets are permit parking only. It would take you longer to park the damn car than it would to just use your legs to get there. People driving to this place, would probably park near our apartment and think they got some rockstar parking. This kid was an idiot.

But that’s not even the frustrating part. As I was leaving to walk to work the next morning, not even aware he had taken it at all… I walk by my car and see the window stuck half way open. What in the fuck? It’s fine that the car’s a piece of shit, it’s fine you’ll never put gas in it, it’s fine you’re going to drive it 1 block away, it’s fine that you’re opening the window in the middle of February when it’s snowing (why, just why?!?!), it’s fine that the window even got stuck, whatever! What is not fine is not even mentioning the issue to me. My car sat outside, in the snow, overnight, with the damn window open. And when I went inside to grab my keys to fix it, I can’t find them, because he has them in his bedroom while he’s sleeping. When I mention the window? The fucker denies it!

After only two or three months of this charade, when I finally say “fuck this, I’m out”? As I’m packing my stuff up, he tries to claim all my dishware, especially the drinking glasses were his. At this point, I think he was just trying to push buttons because it was working. I regret that I forgot my little bear shaped spice holder there, for cinnamon and sugar. That kid does not deserve my bear shaped cinnamon and sugar.