Friday, March 21, 2008

On My Own

Well, I believe we are way overdue for more of my reflections on how I got to where I am, so I think I'll bore you just a little more.

When we left off, my roommate was moving out! I finally had a job, though at the time it was a temp job, and I wasn't making enough to pay rent on my own. I needed a new roommate, or I'd have to move out too.

I had at least three friends who were still living with their parents, so I went to them first. One was making payments on his car and didn't want to make rent payments as well, so that was a no-go. The other two didn't want to move out either, but didn't care to explain why. I'm sure they had their reasons, and I don't fault them for that. For the record though, two of those three still live with their parents to this day. Anyway, with my acquaintances exhausted, I was forced to resort to (duh duh duh) Craigslist. Actually, I had had good experiences with Craigslist before. I don't think I've mentioned it, but I actually found my job on that site, so I was willing to give it a try for a roommate too. Several people called me saying they were interested (it was actually good timing; this was a month or two before classes started at the nearby university). I eventually settled on a guy who was moving in to town from Chicago, and already had a job in the area.

Rule 4: Stay Vigilant.

My fourth rule for getting into space stems from my experience with this guy. Looking back, yeah I was naive, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt when they run into tough times. To cut a long, depressing story short, he disappeared without a trace five months after he moved in. He had only paid rent once, he used my social security number to open a credit card to which he charged $500, He stole a collection of rare items that I had been working on for ten years and that was worth at least another $500, and he left his room in shambles. Two weeks after he disappeared, my friends and I decided he probably wasn't coming back, and we went into his room to clean it out. A glance inside is all it took for us to realize that we needed to go buy some thick rubber gloves and one of those long trash-grabber things. A few minutes inside was all it took for us to realize we needed to call the police.

Here is an abridged list of items that we found inside his room: at least twenty drug needles, two social security cards (neither of which were his), criminal conviction paperwork from at least two states, a stained blanket that my mother had given me (that alone was worse than the drug needles), an autographed copy of Lies and the Lying Liars that Tell Them by Al Franken that my brother had given me (throughly stained with something red), a stack of my bank statements, various other ruined posessions of mine, various other drug paraphernalia, at least a hundred used Q-Tips scattered on the floor, at least five sets of womens' clothing (most of them stained), and the list goes on.

Yeah. It was bad. And it was really sad too; the guy was a damn good cook. He could have opened his own restaurant based purely on his handiwork with pasta and his social skills. Looking back on it, I saw the warning signs, and decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I should have kicked him out at least two months prior. So remember Rule 4: always be vigilant! You don't have to be an ass; just pay attention to warning signs and investigate. If I had done the slightest bit of digging when I saw those warning signs, I would likely have uncovered all of this and saved myself a boatload of trouble. But it could have been a whole lot worse for me if he had been out to do more than just finance his drug habits.

So I'm going to skip about a year here. My parents bailed me out of my rent issues caused by that incident, and I never had any more trouble with that, because I soon got hired on at my work and got a big raise. I used some of that raise to (finally) start my space tourism savings, and my retirement savings. I convinced one of my friends to move out of his parents' and move in with me, but we weren't really compatible as roommates so he moved out a few months later.

I started the hunt for a new roommate a third time, but then I realized that that huge raise had left me with a ton of extra money that I wasn't using. I was sticking a lot of it in my space tourism savings, but I thought to myself, why can't I ditch the apartment altogether and find myself a house?

So the next (and final) installment of my personal story will detail the Quest for the House! I'm sure you're looking forward to that.

Progress: 3.89%  Flight Time: 0:05:50

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