Catchy title I know.
This is the story about a roommate named Dave. For those of you who actually have met someone who is mentally ill, these stories won’t be new. Most have us have taken a trip to crazytown at least once in our lives. Most people just visit and rarely ever stay there. The particular subject of this writing is one such person who decided to make crazytown his home.
It all started about a year and a half ago when the owner of this building was trying to rent out the room on the 3rd floor that I had just vacated. A 2nd floor office opened up and I couldn’t wait to move downstairs to the second floor. It was closer to the bathroom. It was closer to the kitchen. The owner’s fear was that no one would take the room because it didn’t have enough closet space.
Dave is an older gentleman who looks like he is in his late 50s or early 60s. We knew he didn’t have a job and was on government disability. Although Dave was obviously overweight and after a few days of having him around, I began to wonder what the disability was. Dave didn’t seem to have any trouble talking to anyone or moving around the building. He took the 3rd floor room knowing that it would force him to exert a certain degree of energy and require a fair degree of mobility. He thought that living on the 3rd floor would force him to get some exercise. Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder what his disability was. I finally broke down and asked the building owner. The answer was rather unexpected.
“He gets nervous.” The building owner said.
“Wait. What?” I said.
“He gets nervous when he has to work for someone.”
“And that is a disability?”
Wow. I couldn’t believe that my tax dollars were paying for some guy to sit on his fat ass all day long, doing nothing, not contributing to society, simply because he gets “nervous” when someone in authority over him tells him to do something. I was outraged. It was from this point forward that I personally viewed Dave as a pimple on the ass of society and really wanted very little to do with him. We rarely spoke and when we did it was brief.
As a gesture of good will, the building owner asked him along to a movie one evening. We went and had a reasonably good time. Did it make my relationship with Dave any better? No. I still despised him for taking advantage of all of us taxpayer types.
For the first year and a half, Dave kept to himself. He would come downstairs and make himself something to eat and then go back upstairs to his 3rd floor room. Unfortunately for the rest of us, Dave basically boycotted the shower or water in general. He rarely took a shower and boy, did he stink! At one point, the smell was so bad that the accountant almost had to throw up. The upside was that Dave was keeping to himself. The building owner finally had a revelation and figured that if he was going to take Dave to the grocery store (Dave does not drive a car nor own one) then Dave would have to shower first.
What this meant was that at least every couple of weeks or so, we were all guaranteed that Dave would shower at some point. Some relief to be sure. Ideal? No. Hey, at least Dave wasn’t acting nuts or anything like that. Meanwhile, the building owner was receiving complaints about Dave’s smell from customers, friends, and other tenants.
So, I am getting ready for work and almost ready to leave one morning and as I walk downstairs I see Dave hunched over the kitchen island countertop. “I need help.” He says. “My back is locked up. Please call an ambulance.” I grabbed the building owner and he called 9-1-1. Dave was taken to the hospital. He stayed for at least 5 days. That is when everything with Dave…
I liken it to someone who is bi-polar and takes medication to help them function like a normal person who, at some point, decides to stop taking the meds. Dave went from a personality that was tolerable to someone whose behavior could only be described as “crazytown.” While I am not a doctor nor do I pretend to be one, I couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to make this man change his personality like this.
Some examples of Dave’s bizarre behavior included…
1. Taking silverware from the kitchen and placing forks, spoons, and knives in the yard and claiming that this was some kind of symbol that was too complicated for any of us to understand. I believe the exact words he used were “it’s above your paygrade.” Note to self: Before we begin mowing the lawn this year, check for silverware!
2. Standing in the doorway in the wee hours of the morning with all of the lights out. Just. Standing. There. As an example, I caught him several times as I went downstairs at 4:30 am to make coffee. I would leave the lights off and walk up to the Keurig to make coffee. I’d look to my left and standing there in the dark would be Dave. He wouldn’t say anything but after discovering me standing there he would go elsewhere. Not sure if he was communing with the kitty litter, the nearest mop, or Sargon from the 3rd Astro Plane. (* for further information on Sargon listen to Brass Balls Radio on takethatmedia.com) // shameless plug mode off
3. While Dave was only renting a room of the 3rd floor of this building he decided that he would occupy the kitchen area and most of the downstairs for a majority of the day. This meant that no one else could use the kitchen unmolested by Dave. He would go outside for a cigarette at least once every half an hour. I had figured that since he was smoking so much it made sense to him to stay downstairs on the 1st floor. Unfortunately, again. None of us could use the 1st floor very much with Dave “always” down there. Dave was going out the front door heavily as well, which sadly enough activates a door chime that we all can hear throughout the building. I can’t express the joy of hearing that damn thing going off at 2:00 am when I needed to up at 4:30 am.
4. Dave would be reading a book and just leave the book laying somewhere. While this may not seem strange, we thought it was odd that someone would be actively reading a book and just move onto something else without realizing the previous activity. “Oh yeah, I was reading a book. Where did I leave it?” Dave would go days without even trying to find where he left the book. I think the cats have a longer memory.
5. Excessive smoking as mentioned above which even made a 2 pack a day ex-smoker like me go “damn dude!” He went from barely smoking before his back injury to “full court press” in such a quick fashion that it reminded me of Peter Jennings.
6. Nonsensical general conversation.
Me – “How are you doing today?”
Dave – “Toast.”
Me – “Excuse me?”
Dave – “You just don’t get it do you?”
Me – “Apparently not.”
Dave – “You are a lousy engineer.”
Me – “What?”
Dave – “Something big is going down.”
Me – “Yeah. Your sanity apparently.”
7. Water is now a good thing. Since Dave had his back problem, he has rediscovered the joys of water and takes regular showers much to everyone’s surprise. We go from sensible and stinky to irrational and inoffensive (odor wise).
Dave began talking about conspiracy theories to anyone who would listen to him. The building owner would repeatedly ask Dave to turn out lights and pick up after himself and at times, he would become confrontational and extremely belligerent.
After numerous customer, visitor, family, and friend complaints about Dave’s behavior, the building owner gave Dave an ultimatum. He explained that he didn’t understand Dave’s problems but had grown to not really care anymore. The building owner tried to be receptive and open to what Dave was going through but quickly realized that he was beyond the help of someone without professional medical experience. He gave Dave a warning that his continued behavior would result in dire consequences. I’m sure eviction was implied but with someone living in crazytown, that may have fallen on deaf ears.
One morning while the building owner was talking to a contractor, Dave burst in the house and physically invaded the building owner’s personal space. The police were called and a complaint was filed. The building owner was given the advice from the police to start eviction proceedings. The building owner did not. Instead, he gave Dave yet another chance.
As the building owner went away on a day trip shortly thereafter, Dave confronted a tenant in the building. The tenant complained. The building owner cut his trip short and after further deliberations with the parties involved decided that he needed to begin the eviction process.
A letter of eviction was presented to Dave at the beginning of January. The letter was generous in that the building owner was offering to pay Dave money if he moved by the 15th of January. Initially, Dave responded positively and seemed willing to move. A few days later, Dave changed his mind and decided that he was going to stay in the home as long as HE wanted to. He would tell anyone who would listen that the building owner killed his grandfather, was dealing drugs, and other sordid items that just aren’t worth mentioning here. In addition to that he would also tell people that his family owned a local road around here and that as a result of that he was entitled to our house. He kept telling us that he was going to own the house when it was all said and done.
Court papers were filed. 2 weeks later the landlord and the tenant end up in front of the judge. Dave loses and has about 10 days to appeal the decision.
The building owner has to file more paperwork for a physical eviction and removal from the property. We wait 10 more days.
Finally, March 13 rolls around and Dave leaves the building. The constable shows up an hour later and announces that from here forward, if Dave comes on the property it is officially trespassing. So, what does Dave do? He shows up at 5:00 pm that night. Police are called. Dave is given his one and only warning that if he comes on the property again he’ll be arrested.
That was the last we saw of Dave.
While Dave was here he caused a lot of damage. Everything from a broken drawer in the kitchen to broken one of a kind drinking glasses that can not be replaced to ruining a brand new shelving unit on the 3rd floor.
Because of his “occupation” of the kitchen during this whole ordeal, the building owner was forced to remove everything from the kitchen except the major appliances. We had to eat in my office for months. I had a noisy refrigerator to deal with during that time which meant that I got hardly any good sleep unless I was willing to take a Tylenol PM which I hated to do.
We always had to watch what we said and where we said it within the house because we just never knew what Dave was up to. We had to lock all the internal doors which meant that we couldn’t go anywhere inside the building without carrying our keys around. God knows we couldn’t leave our offices open.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing that Dave has done is lie about a back injury. Dave injured his back in a nearby town and then turned around and claimed that he injured it while on this property. There are two problems with Dave’s account that I’ll bring to light here. Number one. Dave told a friend of his shortly after this happened where he injuried his back and how he did it. He also mentioned that he was going to blame the building owner here for it. That is problem number one for Dave. Problem two. Video exists showing Dave getting around just fine after this alleged accident. In fact, one piece of video clearly shows him bending over and picking something up off the floor with no assistance.
I’m hopeful that Dave will eventually get the medical attention he needs. He really needs to be put in a home and supervised.
Anyhow, the landlord here is taking steps to ensure that Dave doesn’t do this to another potential landlord in the future.
This was my first encounter with a true nutcase. I hope it will be my last.