(The letter to the housemates…)

Pinned this up on the noticeboard in 72 about 1pm today. By 3 it had been randomly taken down. Guess it pissed them off… Lovely the damage you can do with a kind word, innit?

“Hey guys,
Well, now, this just isn’t working, is it? It’s pretty obvious that you find our not doing the washing up just as irritating as we find your leaving half-done washing up in a sink full of cold water, and I guess you might even find it slightly more annoying than we do.

Trouble is, Ruth’s got one Hell of a lot of work (yes, yes, we all have a lot of work, we know, but “lot” remains a relative term…) and as a result she doesn’t have much in the way of spare time, after allowing for doing all the projects and assignments she has to get handed in, doing her job on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and attempting to get a half-way reasonable amount of sleep

Meanwhile, I’m in my final year and supposed to be doing huge quantities of reading of critical texts and studies and getting essays and seminars done, as well as working for two hours every evening, and getting a good degree is something I count above having shiny clean plates.

So, no, we haven’t done the washing up, although I do feel at least vaguely entitled to claim a misunderstanding there – sometime back in September, when we were still all new and interesting to each other, you guys put it in a pile in the corner, which to me sends the message “Keep this out of the way until it’s done, please.” Evidently you thought the message was something different, but at this stage, who’s still bothered enough to care about that?

Anyway, this whole ‘in the same house’ plan is pretty obviously dead in the water, so we’re doing our best to clear out of here; staying certainly driving us nuts, and I’d put a very little money on the bet you guys feel the same. Certainly I can’t put up with this for the rest of the year; I’ll just become an antagonistic bastard towards the lot of you, which won’t look good to anyone.

Uni accommodation being what it is, we can’t shift out entirely just yet, however; we’ll still have Room D until another room opens up elsewhere in the village, and we’ll be round to shift things over to our new place on a regularish basis, but by and large we’ll be out of one another’s way, which saves all the hassle of one of us braining one of the others with an unwashed frying pan… You should have a wee bit more space in the kitchen once we’ve hauled all our stuff out of there, too.

Ah well.

I’ll be surprised if you’ve bothered to read all this, but you might do, if you’re waiting for the tea to brew, and if you have, thanks, at least, for letting us point out we haven’t just run off in a huff.

No doubt you’ll get some new housemates moving in, in due course, and with any luck they’ll have less intensive courses, or be more inclined to wash up in the gap before cooking the food and eating it. Ah, but you’re right, we did leave some of it there for a while, when nobody had emptied the cold water out of the sink. That’s me edging towards being antagonistic, I know, and I apologise for saying it.

Still, no point fussing over any of it now, especially since you seem thoroughly disinclined to accept how busy we are.

Good luck with (and to) the new people, and with your courses in general; I’m sure you’d wish the same to us. And thanks again for reading this. We may yet run into you again over the next few weeks, but you don’t have to go losing sleep over it.

Have fun!”

So that was good. Still needing help moving stuff, mark you, but it’s all looking up, and maybe life will get a bit cheerier now we’re not stuck with those wankers…

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  1. On November 23, 2005 Matt In The Hat says:

    I’ve read this whole saga since it started and I’ve never said anything but now I want to.

    What the fuck are you guys doing writing letters to people you live with?

    I write fuck because I’m exasperated and befuddled. If these were people living next door to you I would have a bit more sympathy, but not much. As soon as you were all in the house you should have gone out, or stayed in, for a drink. Get to know the people and instead of having ‘the housemates’ you have histories to attach to the people.

    I am certain that you have not posted all of your experiences with them on your journals and that you do know them better than I’ve gathered from your posts, but still. Talk to them. Deal with them face to face. Explain that you’ve got a lot on to them rather than having the time to write a note instead of doing the washing up. In the worst case scenario just bear in mind that the washing up gets on their nerves and have all your stuff done as quickly as possible. I am being hypocritical here because there are times when the state of our kitchen approaches the Dan and Claire scale (you guys know I say that affectionately) and that after you’ve just made yourself food you don’t feel like getting up and doing chores but the fact is that it doesn’t matter, the washing up I mean. Everyone in your house is a student and, as JTA says, has more important things to worry about than the state of the dishes. But it’s a grind to be at work and then come home and see more work to be done. Especially if it isn’t your work to do, and no that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not your problem and you can ignore it.

    The first time that I saw that you’d written them a letter I could see it ending up this way. It’s what happens when people stop talking to each other. The other problem is that it takes two for this sort of thing. I can’t say that you should just let it all go and it would be unreasonable to expect anyone to be able to do that. And I am not saying that you have let nothing go; this whole situation would have come to a head a month ago were that the case.

    The point I’m dancing around (due to tiredness and lack of focus) is that if you do not treat people with the common courtesy of raising problems with them to their face then they will feel attacked and respond accordingly i.e. defensively.

    You posted this in a public forum and made it available for comment and so I trully hope that you will accept comment which leads me on to…

    A disclaimer: I remember Bryn’s post and the flame war. I am not trying to flame you guys and anything that comes across as such is not meant in that way. What I do mean is that I think you made a mistake and you are an integral part of this whole mess (your housemates are the other part [I also realise that you have never abdicated responsibility for the situation]). I think that if you were to put this down to a bad lot of housemates you could make the same mistake again and I don’t want you guys to go through this again. I love you too much for that and you don’t deserve it.

    Talk to your next lot of housemates. Find any kind of common ground that you can either work from or at least respect. A wise Aboriginee once told me that there is good in absolutely everyone and if you can find that good, an example or a personnality trait, then you can focus on it, and like them for that. It makes it a whole lot more difficult for them to piss you off. Not impossible, just more difficult.

    I do hope that things get better: you’re too good to deserve them getting worse.

  2. On November 23, 2005 JTA says:

    Yeah, see, the problem here is the fact that I haven’t posted all the background, because that would be dull as fuck.

    Trying to engage with ’em is something we did right from the moment they moved in and started moving all our stuff about without speaking to us, and, by and large, it had no effect whatsoever. O, sure, occasionally they’d say “Hi,” if we happened into the kitchen with them, or “can I just get to the cupboard,” or something, but they never made any effort to connect with us in the way we tried to connect with them.

    If you recall Ruth’s party, they got invited to that, because it would’ve been shitty not to ask them along, and we said they didn’t have to stay for the whole thing, but they should at least drop by for a drink, even if they went out again right afterwards. And they said “” and then never turned up.

    Yeah, you didn’t know any of this, because we didn’t tell you, but in fairness, the failure of the people we used to live with to make an effort to connect back with us isn’t really all that interesting to the world at large.

    Talking to these people doesn’t work, Matt. Ruth tried that on the Sunday night and they didn’t listen. Yep, we started the note thing, but that was because it was bang in the middle of Freshers Week, and we were hugely busy and never saw them. And when we tried to explain things to them, they either just ignored us, or flat out refused to see our point. You have no idea how much I detest wankers who don’t listen to other people because they’re too sanctimonious to care.

    At the end of the day, it was just too much effort. They’d made no effort to connect with us since September, and when we tried to put our case, they wouldn’t accept it. Why hang about being miserable when you can move on and solve the trouble?

    This isn’t a thing we make a habit of, so don’t worry on that count – last year we got on fine with the guys in 80 because, even though they had a lousy taste in posters, they were cheerful enough and close enough to being “our kind of people” that there wasn’t really any tension. Same story when we were back in Penbryn and when we were in Seafront over the summer. Same story, in fact, over here, where we’ve only been here for a couple of days and I’ve already had ten casual chats with people whilst shifting boxes or making the tea. That’s about eight casual chats more than I had at 72 in the last two months.

    Yes, you’re right, often it’s a damn good plan to try and make friends with people, but there are some people out there that it’s really not worth my being friends with, and the best bet there is to get out of their way, because everyone’ll wind up happier in the long run.

    Long story short: Yes, you’re right, writing notes is stupid in most cases, but nothing else we tried ever worked. This was, I guess, inevitable “once people stop talking,” but the real problem was that they never started. Tells you all you need to know, really.

    But no, like I said, 119’s got some good friendly people in it, so don’t worry about our having the same thing again come January!

  3. On November 23, 2005 Ruth says:

    I tried to talk to them on Sunday night, as JTA says. I spent the rest of the evening in my room in tears because my attempt to reach out to them and arrive at a compromise ended in their telling me they didn’t care if I had problems.

    I try to see things from other people’s point of view. But it pisses me off when it’s obvious that they haven’t extended the same courtesy to me.