Thursday, July 26, 2007

Take Note

I’m flabbergasted. I moved into a new house a while ago, and I remember in the first few weeks I found it totally perplexing at how unforthcoming my new housemates were. No introductions, no cups of tea, no nothing. In time I got used to it, but for that first initial period I couldn’t help but take it a little personally and suffer from a touch of paranoia. Now though I’m used to a situation where essentially I’m living by myself, only with the toilet roll being used up at a faster rate than it otherwise might.

So when a new housemate moved in last week, I felt a bit sorry for them, appreciating that they might not get the first month of being in a new house they were expecting. As it happens, paths have yet to cross, so if anything I’m just perpetuating the frosty welcome, but I certainly intend to be unnaturally chirpy when we first meet before sinking into eventual antipathy or even dislike, as is the housemate custom.

My pity for her – I assume it’s a her for reasons we will get to soon enough – was today swapped for the aforementioned flabbergasted state. I was walking past their/her room today, and noticed a note had been attached to the door.
“Ah,” I thought, “a note of welcome. How uncharacteristically nice of someone.”
I had a magoo at it as I am a nosey person, and got a bit of a surprise. It was a note complaining in no uncertain terms about the amount of hair that had been left in the bath that morning. Miaow!

I’d seen the hair myself, and sure there was a fair bit but, well, I’ve lived with girls before, and have even been fortunate to find one or two willing to fraternize with me for a time, and so I appreciate that they are a species with malting tendencies. But, to me, even that’s not the point. A note to a brand new member of the household, and written by someone I wouldn’t be surprised to learn hasn’t met them either, is so… glacial. There are two types of notes you can rightly write: ones to people you’ve known for ages, and ones to people who you despise so much you therefore don’t care if you come across as sounding arsey. Writing them to strangers after a first offence though…?

So, I went downstairs and mulled on the matter. It was unpleasant, it was unfriendly, but it was also something to do with girls and bathrooms, and those two issues combined are far too fractious for the likes of me to get involved with. I would stick my head in the sand for now, but resolved to turn the chirpiness up to 8.5 at a later to try and compensate for it.

And then I walked past the note again and saw something I’d missed the first time, and that’s when my gast truly became all flabbery.

The note’s author had sellotaped some of the offending hair to the note. Hair. Stuck to the note. Just incase there could be any mistaking what was being referred to.
“No bleeding way,” I thought. “That’s the note equivalent of a shove to the chest, surely?”
I mulled further. Aside from the voicing of your own displeasure, notes are, in a way, an act of public shaming if other people might see them. It’s not a quiet word; it’s a public dressing down. To go as far to stick hair to the note (I still can’t quite believe I’m typing that) is just so humiliating. It is essentially saying “see how grotesque and sickening you are? Aren’t you ashamed? Aren’t you, clumpy icky hair girl?”. Really, really not cool in any situation, and in no way okay to do to a brand new housemate.
“I’ve got to act,” I decided, “I can’t let this happen. I can’t let this person be degraded like this. They may turn out to be my mortal enemy with time, but for now they are a fellow citizen. I shall have to have a word!”

I soon wimped out of having a word. It’s just so awkward to broach the subject: “hey, you know how you’re being totally out of order? Well, I was just thinking….”. No, not a conversation I can be doing with.

I crept back to the note, and began peeling the clump of hair from it. My heart was pounding: I didn’t want to be caught by the author, nor did I really want to the new housemate to come home and find me halfway through this act either. Not the best first meeting I could envisage, whatever my intentions. Mercifully it came away quickly, and I scarpered to my room and sealed myself in. The worst of the note crisis has been averted.

Reflecting on that sellotaped hair, I decided I am just glad no-one took issue with my skid marks.

12 comments:

Monica said...

You should have taken a picture and posted it here:
http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com/

deanne said...

Oh man. That is truly truly awful! Some people *tsk tsk tsk*

Props for at least taking the hair away.

Sister Zaria said...

Hope you've managed to meet the girl by now and be extra chirpy! Your housemates seem a real friendly bunch!?!

Sister Bridget said...

Oh dear Huw, your housemates sound like a right bunch of wierdos! If I was you I'd get out of there asap. You've forgotton what it's like to live with normal people who actually SPEAK to each other! Unless of course, this unmet 'girl' is actually a psycho herself and the author of this offending note was driven to it?! Do you know who wrote it? Was it a girl or a boy?!!

Huw said...

The unfriendliness is actually growing on me; there's never any need to make inane conversation. Or, at least, I subject my friends to that...

This was girl-on-girl bathroom politics, which is why I was reluctant to involve myself. It's a bit like the Middle East in some ways. I've met the new person, and she seems kind of timid, so my intervention was justified. Like Kuwait.

Shane said...

Huwbert,
That's not the note equivalent of a shove, it's the note equivalent of a horse's head in the bed. What kind of a 'house' is that? Is there a big sign on the outside that features the term 'Social Services'? Christly almighty, man, I fear for your safety. Buy padlocks, buy them at once.

Ohhhh, and now you've reminded me of equally frosty former co-dwellers... like the bloke who I thought might be dead in his room, and so, me and the Polish bird checked, and he was... gone! Packed and gone without a word or even a... note!

Chris said...

That's definitely bodies-under-the-patio stuff, or at least crazy-insecure-wannabe-on-Big Brother standard behavior. You may like the anonymity now, but wait till some issue come up like a heating bill and psycho Sally will be pinning you to the wall with kitchen knives. I'd have taken a photo of it for when the police eventually come round.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Good post. You write really well :)

VENUS said...

huw, you're so sweet! i'd hv you for my housemate...

Sister Louise said...

I have an entire notebook somewhere that my flatmates used to write in when at Uni. Things like "Whoever stole my mother fucking butter will burn in mother fucking hell" Nice things like that. I thought it would be a nice keepsake.

Tim-tambolini said...

Being of an assertive nature I would have wanted to tear a strip off the person who wrote the note. Or just taken the note and attached it to the writer's door and wrote "You're a fucking bitch!" and signed my name to it. It pisses me right off that someone would be like that to a perfect stranger!

Will said...

That is outrageous. Girls are crazy.