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Scott Hardie | September 11, 2001
Suddenly I'm living with Torrance and Gary in the dorms again.
Back in the fall of 1997, I shared a small dorm room for four months with three men: Torrance, Gary, and Tierre. Torrance was my actual roommate, and he was an okay guy at first. He went to the first day of class and never returned, and liked to go out clubbing and sleeping with his many girlfriends most nights. For the first two weeks or so, he played Final Fantasy on my Super Nintendo, kept the room clean, and was very agreeable. Then Gary arrived.
Gary and he were good friends who had grown up together near the school. While I think Torrance was an evil man, he could be more than civil, and could hold a conversation. Gary on the other hand, was dumber than shit. He was a bumbling oaf, a child in a giant's body, a buffoon. He had a job at Wendy's, but left the room ONLY for that and bathroom breaks. Otherwise he played GoldenEye on my N64 (erasing my save files), ate all of my food, and made a mess of the place. He also didn't leave for weeks. We had two couches in the room, and I slept in the loft, so there was room for all three of us. Gary was stupid and annoying and occasionally mean, which I suppose I wouldn't have minded, but the man just didn't leave. The first time he came over, he spent every night and day in our room for three straight weeks, and his departures were sporadic even after that. While no women ever stayed the night (thankfully), Gary's brother Tierre would often sleep over, cranking the TV up and watching it until they'd all fallen asleep, and I was left lying awake in the loft listening to infomercials and wondering if I'd miss yet another day of class the next morning. Torrance would often leave at night to fuck the female teenaged population of Peoria, and Gary and sometimes Tierre would stay overnight like it was their home, completely uninvited by me. One time Torrance was gone for a weekend, and Gary showed up and started making himself comfortable, acting like he was going to stay the night, and he was surprised and hurt when I told him that I couldn't let him stay in the room if Torrance wasn't there. There's a lot more to this, but I wanted to establish all of that.
So why am I telling all of this information when I'd just as soon forget it? Because an uninvited guest is sleeping on my couch in the next room of my home, and I'm not happy about it.
Kelly and I game every weekend with Dave, Jon, Jesse, and Kat. I like them all a lot, and I enjoy spending time with them. I'm also glad that Kelly and I are able to provide the environment of our home for the gaming sessions, free of parents and other negative influences. (Not that D&D sessions turn into parades of debauchery, just that parents like it if, you know, the guests leave by three in the morning.) Anyway, these friends of ours are starting to take advantage of our generosity.
Jesse is the only one with what I see as a legitimate excuse to stay with us. His parents live in Nevada, the rest of his family lives on the New England coast. He's out here by himself in college in Galesburg, with no job and a few friends, and he got suspended from school for one semester. So, Kelly and I invited him to stay with us for a few weeks until he got a job and apartment, and he accepted. While we like Jesse the most of the four of them, we would have made the offer to any of them if they were in that place.
Jon is 26 and just moved out. His parents said that he needed to start being a member of the family (ie. doing things with them instead of gaming with us all the time) or move out, and he moved out. While he was given a stash of money to get him started, he has made seemingly very little effort to find an apartment or job, and has been staying at Dave's. As for Kat, she also lives around here, and is on good terms with her parents, but for some reason (unknown to me), she also doesn't go home. As Dave's girlfriend, she also stays at his house. Dave himself gets along very well with his parents, but they are weary of the guests. They temporarily kicked Jon and Kat out (they already have their daughter's husband and baby living there with them), and Dave was so mad at them that he left too. They spent the weekend here, gaming for three days straight with Jesse in the living room while I hid in the office and tried to get some damn work done, turning them down every three hours when they asked me to make a character and join them. I made it clear to Dave that, while I liked all of them, I couldn't tolerate that many guests in my home, and the biggest reason was the probability that they wouldn't leave. They are all astoundingly lazy about getting jobs and apartments, and I knew that if Kelly or I said they could stay here, they would move on in and not go away.
On Saturday, taking a break from those three days of gaming, Jon moved some boxes of stuff into our living room. I didn't really notice them until Sunday night, when he was leaving. He didn't ask me if he could store some belongings at my house, and he certainly didn't ask Kelly because she was gone for the weekend. While I would have said yes if he asked, presuming anything like that is rude.
Tonight, Jesse and Kelly and I were goofing off, when Jon showed up uninvited. He played video games with us for a while, and when Kelly joined me in bed at the end of the night, she asked, "Is Jon staying here?" Sure enough, when I got up in the middle of the night, Jon was asleep on the couch.
The difference between Gary and Jon is that I like Jon. But I will not let guests move into my home uninvited, and I will not let them move in indefinitely. I think that Jon senses his perilous standing with us and is afraid to ask if he can stay here out of fear of rejection, but the fact that he isn't asking us will be the surest cause of us telling him to leave. I'm prepared to offer him the opportunity to stay here for one week and no longer, because I think such a clear deadline would prompt him to find his lazy ass a job and an apartment, but I can't say for sure. If I come back from class tomorrow afternoon and he's still here, eating our food and making himself at home, I'm going to have to talk to him. Jesse and Kelly, sympathize as they do, certainly won't. I can say that if I don't kick Jon out, it will only be a matter of time until Dave and Kat show up uninvited with some boxes full of their own stuff, prepared to sleep on the floor.
I really hate being cynical, but in this case, generosity has led to abuse. Kelly and I let them come over every week, and they were here so often that they came to think of this place as a second home. When the first home was taken away, the choice to them was clear. Jesse is still welcome here (and will be unless he does nothing to get on his feet again), but because they don't have a valid reason for not staying with their parents, and unless they're willing to try to support themselves, Dave and Jon and Kat are not welcome to live here. My father, ever the Republican, taught me above everything else to never let someone take advantage of me, but such cold-heartedness goes against my own philosophy of being generous whenever feasible. Damn it, I have having to be a dick to my friends.