A luxury I cannot afford

by erics1100paces

The Donut King meeting was cut short for me tonight.  Unfortunate, but I had to come home and make sure the house wasn’t filling up with natural gas.

So, anyhow, where to begin…

The backstory:

I live with a very fussy housemate.  I’ve been exceedingly considerate across the board – walking on eggshells, more or less, making sure I always do all my dishes right away, not leaving any sort of mess in the shared area, etc.  But the one issue that has caused the most conflict is my smoking.  We have a patio, and an enclosed laundry room.  When I first got here, it was cold and rainy most of the time, so I’d smoke in the laundry room, with the door to the patio open, and blow the smoke outside.  He didn’t like that.  He could still smell the smoke inside, because the seals on the doors are shit.  So I took to inserting a piece of squishy packing material (I can’t think of how better to describe it) when I closed the door from the laundry room to the inside to ensure that no smoke came inside.  When it wasn’t raining, I’d smoke on the patio, regardless of the cold.

Unfortunately, the window to his room opens onto the patio, so one time, he left his window cracked, and I was smoking on the patio, and believe me, I heard about it.  Henceforth, I made sure to close his window before smoking on the patio, if it was open.  But in general, I just started leaving the building and smoking out front, provided it wasn’t raining.  The path of least resistance, you know?

The story:

Today, I wake up from my nap and he isn’t home.  I make myself a cup of coffee and go outside to smoke on the patio, since he isn’t here.  I notice his window is open.  I go back inside and close it.  Then, I close the inside door, and the laundry room door to make sure no smoke whatsoever can get in the house.  Then I sit down with my coffee and light a cigarette.

He comes home quite abruptly.  Out he bursts onto the patio.  “I don’t smoke, Eric!” he says and starts ripping his clothes down from the thing where we hang clothes out to dry.  I honestly hadn’t thought about the fact that his clothes were hanging there.

I pause, watch this little tantrum for a second, then say, “Yeah.  Well, I do.”

“I guess I have to dry them inside!” he shouts, and tears into the house with his laundry, slamming doors behind him the whole way.

I sit there for a bit, quite awake now.  I go inside.  “Do you want to have this fight?” I say through his closed door.

“Sure, Eric whatever you want!” he shouts back.

I take a seat at the kitchen table with my coffee.  A couple minutes pass.  “I’m waiting,” I eventually say.

He comes out of his room and goes in the living room.  I follow him in there.  He berates me some more.  When I try to speak, he says, “Just walk away Eric, before I say some things I’m going to regret.”

I say a few things about him being extremely fussy.  He more or less shouts me down.  He says I’m stuck with him.  Yeah, I know that.  I ask if I can talk now.

“Just walk away, Eric,” he repeats.

I stand there a few moments, nodding my head, thinking.

“Alright, I’ll walk away,” I finally say, and I do.

I ready myself to leave for the Donut King meeting early – Big Book, wallet, keys, phone, cigarettes, lighter, jacket.  One problem.  I’m cooking beans again.  So I put them on low and figure they’ll be alright.  But I can’t quite walk out the door before leaving a note.  Here’s what it says:

“I’m going to let this one slide.  This is the second tantrum in which you’ve said your mind, and then not allowed me to speak mine.  Next time, be prepared to listen.”

I put it on the kitchen table, and return to my room to put my pitcher of tea in there, just so he can’t fuss about me leaving it on the table.  When I come back out, the note’s gone.

“I got your note,” he says.

I nod, and am out the door.

When I get to the meeting, quite a bit early, I sit and chat with a fellow who’s also there early.  After chatting about random stuff, I’m calmed down.  I start fretting about the beans.

I take a deep breath and send the following wechat message:

“Hey, I’m a bit concerned I may have left the fire up too high on my food.  I left in a bit of a huff.  Would you mind turning it off and I’ll deal with it when I get home?  Thanks.  Also, I’m sorry I didn’t think about your clothes when I went outside to smoke.  I’ll be more aware of that in the future.”

His reply:

“Just getting this in the cab.  I think it is off though.  I just assumed it was how you left it.  I wouldn’t light a match when you get home.”

The denouement:

So, I decided to leave the Donut King meeting just after it started to come home and make sure the house wasn’t filled with gas.  In fact, the flame was out, but the stove must have a sensor or something, because even though it was still on low, no gas was coming out.

But that’s not the fucking point at all.  I’m a little perturbed here.  I understand from the Big Book that anger is not a luxury I can afford, but it’s something I am feeling nevertheless.  What complicates matters is that he’s under me at work, though I don’t like that expression.  I’m management is the point.  And he’s really, really good at his job.

Sigh.  Let’s see…  What non-intoxicant shall I consume to address this…  Ice cream?  Snickers?  I just had like four donuts at the Donut King, so I’m kind of sugared out at the moment.

Ah yes, I’ll smoke cigarettes.  In his fucking room.

😉  Just kidding.  I’ll go out front.  I feel somewhat better now that I’ve vented.