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To be the “bigger” person… or not

Life lessons come in so many forms, don’t they? Don’t take anything for granted. Be careful who you trust, but don’t become jaded. There’s two sides to every story. Stand up for yourself. Roommates steal so just deal with it.

As some of you (my facebook friends) know, I’ve had a serious breach of trust from a roommate on her way out. Now, it’s not that I didn’t expect trouble when she left. Almost since Day 1 she was passive-aggressive and spoiled. Never took out the trash. Never bought household supplies. Silently insisted on Hers and Mine in the fridge, on the counters, and in the cabinets. I’m not going to name her, even though I could, even though maybe I should.

I’m a pretty easy-going person and it takes a lot to rile me up. A lot. But she managed it. I had to leave the apt today in order to buy a phone thanks to mine dying. She took my loveseat with her on the way out. That’s theft. The landlord isn’t getting involved and really, I can’t blame him.

Some background… I haven’t worked for 3 months. When she moved in, she agreed to pay the internet bill in return for reduced rent. A few months ago, she said she was having problems and I said okay, I’ll split the internet with you; apparently that was my big mistake, being nice.

Here’s where the 2nd side comes in… in her eyes, she took the sofa as payment for an internet bill I can’t pay currently. I told her a couple of weeks ago that I couldn’t pay “my share” of the internet because of being out of work and would do so when I start working again. I suppose, since she never bothered to get to know me over the last year, always hiding out in her room and working on her writing, she didn’t believe that when I said I would pay her, that meant I would. Or perhaps she simply doesn’t trust anyone to do what they say without a contract or proof, I don’t know.

Regardless, a $60 cable bill that I don’t really owe in the first place because she agreed to pay it all herself when she moved in vs. a leather loveseat is a very disparate amount of money.

Now, I’m not vomiting all this up to be spiteful – no naming of names, after all. I’m honestly of two minds on how to go forward.

Option 1 –  I want vengeance. My pride demands that I call the cops, file a report of theft, and let the chips fall where they may. I contacted my former roommate (to whom the sofa belonged originally) and she confirmed that she gave me the furniture. I could use that easily to prove that it’s mine. I’ve taken a lot of shit from various people over the years and let it all slide. This really does feel like the camel’s back breaking and that if I don’t do something, I’m a gross failure in standing up for myself. I’ve had plenty of my friends tell me I should call the cops and teach her a lesson. God knows that she’s led a privileged life thus far and hasn’t run into any hardship that I can tell.She certainly has no empathy or compassion except as an intellectual exercise, so far as I’ve observed. I wanted to wipe that damned smug look on her face (she smiled at me as she left the apartment) with my fist.

On the other hand, I’m a big believer in Karma. Always have been. Who am I to decide what life-lessons she needs to learn when the Universe/God/Buddha generally evens things out in the end? And while I don’t consider myself Catholic anymore, “turn the other cheek” is pretty deeply ingrained in my psyche. Jesus was a cool dude and had a lot of good things to say that make sense. Lastly, all of this over a loveseat and $60??? Really? How is that rational in the slightest? It isn’t. It’s about pride on my end and the condescending certainty of being right on hers.

On a purely practical level, I don’t have the resources available should this actually go to court and in all likelihood, it wouldn’t. It’s called “petty” theft for a reason after all. Plus, that would involve dragging my previous roommate and probably the landlord into things, both of whom I like a whole lot so it would be a pretty crappy way to repay kindness.

The really stupid thing about all of it? If she’d just asked me instead of taking it, I would’ve given it to her.

If you’ve read this far, well, thank you for the metaphysical support. Honestly, I’m probably going to run with Option 2 and let the negativity go. As much as it pisses me off right now… as much as it feels like I’m not standing up for myself… as much as I know she’s laughing all about this at my expense… in the long run it’s not worth the hassle that calling the cops would involve. She’s not worth it.

I think I have to put my money (or my sofa in this case) where my beliefs lie and let Karma/God/The Universe take care of vengeance for me. Life’s pretty short, after all, and I have a new roommate to interview.

Wish me luck!

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About Nancy M. Griffis

Author and screenwriter who loves scifi/action/adventure/urban fantasy genres. I have two published novels, Mind Games and Eternal Investigations, as well as a short story published for charity called "Home Fires Burning." All are available through amazon.com and barnesandnobles.com.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “To be the “bigger” person… or not

  1. Here’s my opinion, and I totally understand about the court costs but if you believe you have a winnable case you can charge them to HER… Karma/God helps those who help themselves, and maybe her lesson is also your lesson – that is, you need to stand up to this behaviour and make her stand up to her actions. Maybe the vengeance is meant to be yours this once. *shrug* If I were you, I’d probably track her down and tell her exactly what I think about her attitude; then again, I sort of had a roommate like that when I first moved to college – always taking my stuff, using my food, leaving her dirty dishes, never sharing in the costs – and I finally just snapped and told her I was getting sick of it (after she yelled at me about how she was sick of my smoking “in HER room” – when it had happened exactly ONCE, and doing this or that in HER room, etc. and I pointed out it was OUR room and blah blah blah). Anyway, the next day she left me a check, we stopped talking, and the next quarter i moved out and in with a friend from high school, with whom I should have just roomed with in the first place but everyone told us that we shouldn’t do that in order to get the proper “roommate experience.” *rolls eyes*

    But you know I don’t suffer fools gladly. If I lived in the same area with you, you could just point me at her, but sadly, I’m way over here on the other side of the country… I hope you get a better roommate this next time!

    Posted by katyasozaeva | May 2, 2012, 8:24 am
    • a belated thanks for all this. I did read it at the time but was too agitated in general to reply. I appreciate the offer to go at her. :o) I’m still working to get rid of the negative energy but in general, have put it behind me.

      Posted by Nancy M. Griffis | May 16, 2012, 6:09 pm
  2. If you call the police, there are no court costs to you. Whether they will proceed to an arrest is a different story. I don’t know what the filing fee is for small claims court in CA, but around here, people usually represent themselves so it’s the only cost. If you win, you could reclaim the filing fee. The fee is usually minimal. Like you, I mostly shrug stuff like this off, but you could go after her in the name of research for your next book.

    Posted by elliesmom | May 2, 2012, 12:47 pm
    • thanks for the advice! I didn’t even see your comment until today (shows what a haphazard blogger I am! trying to get better at that) but appreciate the comment. :o)

      Posted by Nancy M. Griffis | May 16, 2012, 6:10 pm

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