Hippies and hermits and sociopaths – oh my!

I was originally going to write a ‘top five worst people I’ve lived with’ but I got to 1200 words about Anne and realised she was going to have to have her own post. That wasn’t even everything but I just can’t waste any more time thinking about her. Just thinking about her makes me feel bewildered to the point of becoming unhinged.

I lived in Norfolk for just over three years and I moved house four times, not including moving there in the first place and escaping moving away again. Sometimes I wonder if I would have had a happier time there had I chosen to live by myself. Probably. Or I’d probably be dead. Hard to know. Not really important.

When I first arrived, I stayed with my half-sister and her mum. I already had the next place lined up but I had to stay with them until I’d sorted out my stuff. This wasn’t so bad. They weren’t happy about the fact it meant lying to my dad about knowing where I was but they’re not too happy with my dad in general so it wasn’t too much of an issue. It wasn’t so bad staying there, though. My grandad’s death hadn’t really hit me properly yet, and, although I hadn’t quite gotten used to being around other people again, they took it as though that was me grieving so it was actually pretty peaceful. It was strange though. It was like being kids again; staying up late to watch Jerry Springer and weird horror films whilst eating every piece of junk food we could find in the cupboard (and there was always SO MUCH FOOD).

So then I moved in with her cousin. Not MY cousin, I hasten to add – I might have been in Norfolk but that doesn’t mean I was suddenly into incest. Because of course I started sleeping with him. OF COURSE. I couldn’t afford the rent so I made myself his girlfriend instead. If that wasn’t already weird and terrible enough, he also had a very recent ex-girlfriend who wasn’t interested in him anymore until I appeared on the scene and then all of a sudden she was there and threatening to cut me. This girl was fucking nuts and I should have got my shit together and run away from the whole thing right then but sadly that’s when I started going fucking nuts myself and it all went a bit downhill after that.

Luckily, by this point I had found a job and after I’d been there a few months and saved enough money for a deposit, I moved out. I had been introduced to someone through work and she seemed nice enough and the house was so cute and she had two adorable little dogs and I thought everything would be fine.

Of course, I was wrong. I moved in at the start of September and I moved out in February. Whether she threw me out or whether I escaped is a matter of some debate, but it was definitely a mutual agreement. Here, in no particular order, are the events that occurred while I lived with Alex (not her real name – it’s the name of the bunny boiler from Fatal Attraction):

  1. Alex had pictures on her walls of herself that she’d had taken during one of those dodgy photo shoots where you get a free makeover and a free photo session but then you have to sell a kidney just to be able to afford to buy the photos. She bought lots of them, all very large. She was very proud of them. There was one in the dining room, one in the hall, one at the top of the stairs and one in the living room. She was always watching. ALWAYS. (In fairness, she wasn’t an ugly girl and she did look nice in the photos but come the fuck on now.)
  2. Alex once borrowed my passport to do cocaine off and did not offer me any. Rude.
  3. Alex had a boyfriend. He was Scottish. She became obsessed with Scottish things, up to and including buying fizzy raspberry water from Tesco because it was made using Scottish raspberries.
  4. Alex changed the ringtone that played every time her boyfriend called to ‘I Wanna Have Your Babies’ by Natasha Bedingfield
  5. Alex wanted her boyfriend to move in with us, but he worked as some kind of travelling technician person and the company he worked for paid for him to live in hotels. He stayed with us whenever he was based in Norfolk but they were still paying for him to be in a hotel and I think he preferred things this way. So they fought and broke up but got back together again because she wouldn’t leave him alone.
  6. Alex told everyone I hit her dog.

This is one of the weirdest things that ever happened to me, and it was only by some strange coincidence that occurred a year or so later that I realised what had actually gone on here. I would like to say right now that I have never deliberately hurt an animal in my entire fucking life. The worst thing I have ever done was when I was 7 and I let the budgie out of its cage when I wasn’t supposed to and I accidentally pulled two of its tail feathers out whilst trying to catch it again. It bit me and drew blood and then we were friends again. Anyway, back to Alex –  I was working at an animal sanctuary at the time, so this kind of accusation was especially potentially damaging. Fortunately for me, my bosses – who she called to try to get me sacked – did not believe a word of it. Nor did anyone else. I was told some time afterwards that the fact I didn’t go out of my way to defend myself looked massively incriminating but I was in shock. I’ve been accused of pretty much everything, but nothing like this. I’m generally really bad at sticking up for myself anyway and I’m more likely to lock myself in the bathroom and bawl my eyes out than deal with any kind of confrontation but I didn’t defend myself in this case because I genuinely thought the accusation was so fucking ridiculous that I didn’t need to.

The day it happened, I woke up and went downstairs and was immediately greeted by two very excited dogs who jumped all over me, a furious-looking Alex and the rather confused-looking colleague of mine who had introduced us. She accused me of hitting her dog while said dog was jumping up at me trying to stick its tongue in my mouth. She told me to move out, I said yeah don’t worry I’m going, and then she tried to invoice me for mud left on the carpet by my friends who helped me leave that day. I didn’t pay.

About a year or so later, I was in a relationship with someone who just happened to have worked at the same place as Alex around the same time that this all happened. Just after I left, she told her boyfriend that he had to move in because she’d had to get rid of her evil dog-beating housemate and she was going to lose the house if he didn’t. People don’t like ultimatums, nor do they like people who lie about other people hitting their dogs just to get their own way in a situation. Apparently she was quite upset when he broke up with her over it. I never saw her again.

I moved back with my ex temporarily but I was lucky enough to find another place pretty much immediately. Again, the house was adorable. It was an old converted post office, I had a bedroom AND a study and the woman was loads older than me so I figured that I wouldn’t have to deal with any crazy shit like I had with Alex. Also she was a hippy, so I figured the worst thing that would happen is that I would have to endure walking in on a drum circle with loads of smelly stoned people or something. And… I guess it wasn’t really that bad. It was just weird. She had a building at the end of the garden that had a hermit living in it; a guy who made a living by making furniture out of bits of wood he collected from the wooded areas near the house. I only spoke to him a few times, even though I lived there for nearly a year. He was nice enough.

The hippy lady, however, was not a very chill person. You’d think that all the meditation and yoga would have made her more tolerant and understanding towards the unenlightened but sometimes she treated me like I was an actual fucking fascist who stomped on kittens. One day I had a Tesco order delivered to the house and she went fucking crazy – I was barely functioning as a person at this point, let alone a responsible adult, so my feeling of shitty accomplishment that I’d managed to do a food order that had real food on it and not just Haribo and Cherry Coke was somewhat ruined. She never explained WHY what I had done was so bad, and although I know now that I was contributing to the breakdown of society by giving money to these capitalist pigdogs, at the time I just felt really fucking stupid. Especially because she told all of her hippy friends about it and they all found my stupidity hilarious. Sorry lady, I’m from a council estate in Essex and I was on minimum wage – how was I supposed to know that I should only buy local untainted asparagus for £20 a spear from the local untainted market where all the vegetables have been picked by local untainted virgins?

Norfolk is the fucking epitome of LOCAL PEOPLE.

She was also passive-aggressive. When I got into a new relationship, he stayed over a few times a week. Much to his amusement, and then to his annoyance as the months went by, she would leave notes for us instead of talking to us directly about things that annoyed her. The last straw was a rather sweary version of the ‘if you sprinkle while you tinkle’ poem stuck to the bathroom door – and considering he hadn’t even stayed over that night and she was actually complaining about the mess I had made after washing my face and hands before realising there was no towel in the bathroom, I decided it was time to move again.

I moved back with my ex. I figured taking my chances at getting stabbed by his crazy ex-girlfriend was the more attractive option at this point.

And, quite honestly, I was just so fucking tired.

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