Part one here.
I have a disability. And it is so fundamental that it expresses itself in a myriad of ways. I say autism and people think social awkwardness and counting toothpicks. But on a daily basis it is me remembering to close the refrigerator and not dropping things and having my hands free when I climb stairs so I don’t fall and hurt myself or over extend my knee and end up out of commission.
It is remembering to drink water and eat food and shower regularly. It is knowing how much I can do out in public before I have to go home. It is employing a cleaning lady so that the mess doesn’t get out of hand. It is writing everything down so I don’t show up to appointments on the wrong day or at the wrong address. It is including a cushion into every trip out of my usual patterns because I will get lost.
It’s overwhelming but I can do it.
I just can’t keep doing that and living with a 27-year old child for a roommate who laughs when I’ve burned myself, refuses to take any initiative to manage apartment issues like changing lightbulbs and setting mousetraps, who still cites the one time I left dishes in my room when I left for Arizona (and did not bother to clean them when I couldn’t get a flight back for two months), and who is cowardly and passive aggressive in a way that is obvious.
I’m not going to indict him. He is who he is and generally I can maneuver around him. But I’m burning the candle at both ends just to survive myself without accommodations. I can’t carry him on my back. It’s been over a year. In that time I’ve taught him not just how to cook but how to turn on the oven. And how tools work. And counseled him through a lot of issues. I’ve bought him food and given him medicine when he was sick. He has made jokes that I’m a hoarder for having medicine and food in case I get sick.
What does he give in return? He takes the trash out if I put the bag in and take it out and leave it in the hallway. He puts clean dishes away. But he doesn’t or can’t take initiative.
This year, when I was stuck in Tucson, I made sure he had provisions before I left. And then, from Tucson, I made sure to send him things that were in short supply, I told him he could have anything in the pantry, I made him a really great Covid birthday present, I walked him through putting out mousetraps.
When it came time to renew the lease, he vacillated between looking for a new place or going month to month. It’s a sword of Damocles over my head having to wonder when I’m going to have to find a new roommate. But he never cared about how that would affect me.
He applied for a residency in Iceland starting in January and took months to decide if he was going to go and for how long. And he threw out the idea of AirBNBing his room so he could make money while he was gone. During Covid. When we might be going into a lockdown. And I’d have to babysit a stranger so he could make money. Not because he needs the money, but because he’s that cheap that he wants his cake and be able to eat it too.
But his indecisiveness, which rises to the level of cowardice, meant that he let time tick down before he bought his ticket and before he lied to his work about why he was taking time off and in looking for someone to take over his room, imposing on a bunch of people without considering them even a little bit.
All this would be fine if he could admit that he lies and manipulates to get his way. A self-aware sociopath is better than one who lies to himself. But he perceives himself as an innocent little baby who’s helpless. In his head he is thoughtful and kind. He doesn’t see how his coldness and thoughtlessness impacts others and for that he lacks friends.
But his character is plain from his actions. He will lie and evade to get his way and then play stupid. He is so proud of these things that he brags about them. So why, when it comes to me and my well-being, would he behave differently? He certainly doesn’t feel any sense of loyalty to me. He will consider my feelings and then dismiss them. He doesn’t think I rise to the level of a friend and you can imagine how he treats his friends.
And so, when I blew up at him after over a year of this act, and me giving like the tree in the Shel Silverstein book while having to use so much energy to do just that, and he came back with being a condescending asshole, I told him I was done. And also that he can’t use a single thing of mine. He hasn’t respected them. Because when things are done and I stop pretending to not notice bad behavior, I have no fucking chill. Les jeux sont faites.
So now we wait…for his cowardice and indecisiveness to paint him into a corner and force a decision upon him. I might not be good at life, but I am a wizard at game theory. I can play the game out in my head to its logical conclusions. And I don’t work from fear.
But yeah, he’s been kinda yellow and I’ve been pretty much blue.