Inspired by the EPIC tumblr blog Stranger Than EvictionI was made aware of today by Rickey I’ve decided to let you folks in on a dark time in my life. That would be the brief period I spent living at 25 Summit Street in Nyack, New York.
But first, a note about Stranger Than Eviction. The link above starts you off on the second page of the blog. Definitely make sure to start with the post titled “Overview” and go up from there. Luckily I didn’t have to deal with the cops busting in to arrest my landlord (though that might have been a good thing), but the place was an absolute shit hole. It’s apparently so bad that Google Street View hasn’t even gotten there yet (the rest of the neighborhood was actually pretty nice, it was really just this one house).
So, this all started back in the fall of 2005. I had graduated college that summer and spent the rest of the time up to that point working at Barry’s and hanging out at the ChadChadToth house where we would routinely make Frankenstein Slurpees with energy drinks mixed in, get drunk on whiskey and play Halo. Yates and I even created Sweet Tart Whiskey, but that’s a whole post unto itself fair readers. Anyway, in October I got a call that I got the job working for Wizard’s research department. I leapt at the chance, but was left with the big question of housing.
I E-mailed a fellow intern the summer before and asked him about the room he rented the summer before and he passed me the dude’s contact info. This is how I first got in contact with George. George told me how small the room I would be renting was (as Em’s mom put it, it was actually smaller than the rug in their foyer), but it was pretty cheap and I needed a place to stay at least until I could find something better, so I sent me check in for the deposit and was good to go.
Well, in theory. There really wasn’t anything good about this place. I had a room that just barely fit a desk and single bed with just a tiny bit of room to walk through. If memory serves the mattress was less than immaculate, but I put plenty of sheets down to guard against, well, whatever in there could have hurt me. I was able to fit a few stacked plastic drawers from Bed Bath and Beyond at the end of the bed which acted as my dresser, had a closet out in the hallway that was mine and was able to “borrow” wireless internet from a neighbor. My parents drove out with me to help me get settled and they still talk about how my mom cried the whole way home after leaving me there. Sure part of it is that her only child had officially moved out of the house, but he moved out of a nice house into a pit. But, I kept telling them (and myself) that it was okay and that this was just one step on the ladder of being an adult. Man, being an adult SUCKS sometimes you guys.
Before getting to the video which I snuck one night and the next morning of the inside of the place (I wish I would have taken a picture of the outside, though I just drove by a month ago and it still looked the same) in which you can see the gross pink bathroom, the extra room that was 2 or 3 times larger and way cleaner than the one I was in, but also cost a hundred dollars more and the evidence of George being a hoarder (he actually pulled a food container I had warmed-up leftovers in out of the trash and re-used it), I want to talk about George a little bit.
I wish I had a picture of him too. Thinking about this today he looked like a dude from Deadwood. I don’t know what dude because I’ve never seen the show, but he had that rough, dirty look to him. He was dirty from working on cars or some such nonsense. The dude rented out rooms in his house to me and a Canadian dude whose name I think was Greg and had an empty room upstairs, yet he still slept under a blanket or sleeping bag on his couch at night. Right in front of two TVs that were almost always on at the same time. I often saw him coming up from the basement covered in dirt. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are bodies down there. George and I didn’t talk much. I paid my rent and utilities for the short time I was there on time, so there wasn’t much need for conversation. Plus he kind of scared the shit out of me and I didn’t want to end up in that basement. Or dissolving in the toxic chemicals on the kitchen counter (you’ll see it all in the video folks, though not the basement, I dared not descend those ominous steps).
Well, without further ado, here’s the video, my first YouTube video ever!
So, you can see how bad the actual place was, but the debacle doesn’t end there. One weekend Em came down to visit me in my Hobbit hole of a room. We had a nice time out in Nyack with the gang (a lot of Wizard people used to live in and around Nyack). That night, we went back to the room and were watching SNL when all of a sudden I heard Greg and his friend (I think boyfriend) rambling up the stairs. Then, there was a huge pounding on the door which freaked us both out. Now, I barely talked to Greg, we just shared a living space. He spent more time down with George while I would either be holed up in my room, at work, up at the Wizard Nyack House or at one of the bars (usually Olives). Luckily the door had a pretty good lock, cause it seemed like he would have busted the door down. This apparently was Greg’s friend. He then locked himself in the bathroom and would not come out for a long time. George came up and was banging on the door demanding that the dude come out. This went on for a long time. It was ridiculous. I found out later, because it turned out that Greg worked across the street from one of our favorite lunch spots in Congers, that Greg’s friend got ripped on absinthe and went kinda crazy. I kind of chuckled because by then I was out and didn’t want to think about it anymore.
I got out because Rickey was sleeping on a futon at the Nyack House and we both wanted to find new places so we started searching and eventually found a place. I actually started moving my stuff out right after we signed all the paperwork (using a realtor cost a butt-ton of money, but I guess that’s another one of those adult things). Because I didn’t want to talk to George anymore and I was all set with my payments, I packed the rest of my stuff up one night and was gone. I slept on a half blown-up mattress because I didn’t have a pump, but by God I was out of there. I drove home for Thanksgiving a day or two later and thought I was donezo, but alas, no.
I had forgotten about my deposit. Actually, I don’t know if I forgot about it or just didn’t care. I told me parents that it took me a while but I eventually got it. It wasn’t until months after that that I made my only non-phone call or letter effort to get my money back. After work one day I asked Rickey and Andy to follow me to his place just in case things got fishy. Now, I’m a wuss and I hate confrontation, so my stomach was spinning at just the thought of going back there (did I mention that I’m pretty sure the place made me physically ill?). So, I got there and knocked on the door and he seemed to recognize me right away and the thing that threw me off guard the most is that he was angry with me. He was telling me that he never asked for a deposit and claimed that I actually owed him money because I hadn’t paid my share of the utilities before leaving. He also kept saying I left and owed him money for that even though I paid a full month’s rent in the month I moved out. I told him that he could just take the utilities out of the deposit and give me the difference. He kept getting closer and closer to me, but didn’t make any other movements. I can’t remember exactly how it all went, but I think, very similarly to Stranger Than Eviction, he told me I could sue him if I wanted and one of us walked away (he may have shut the door in my face I can’t remember). I do remember that he kept repeating himself over and over again saying either I owed him money or he never got a deposit (I’ve since checked my check book and found the check for the deposit and everything else, so I know I was at least owed the difference after the miniscule utilities were taken out).
I was really glad that Rickey and Andy were there because I thought he might do something crazy. I’ve seen a lot of horror movies and visions of that damn basement kept flashing through my head. So, I lost the deposit. I probably should have gone to small claims court or something, but I really didn’t want to see George again. I was incredibly angry for a long time, but I’m over it now. Now it’s a funny story I can tell and a really weird video I can show, but that was one of the weirdest months of my life. I was loving my new job, but hating where I was living. Yeah, that’s right, I was only there for a month.
How about you guys (if you’re still around after this way-long post), what are some of your worst living places?