Ever since I was about five years old, my father has lived with various roommates. It was an interesting experience for me as I grew up to come visit him and interact with such a wide variety of people. As he moved around, they changed in age, gender, ethnicity, and weirdness. There was an opera singer who’s obsessive practice schedule could have been tolerated had she not been an anal, nitpicky child-hater. I remember one year I wanted to decorate the Christmas tree and she would swiftly relocate each and every decoration I placed on the tree to another, more fitting spot.
ANyway, so there are lots of crazy Dad-roommate stories, but I think that my favorite has to be a more recent one. We shall call this roommate Edgar, to protect his identity.
I happened to be visiting my dad when Edgar came over to be interviewed for the roommate postition. He brought his two pets: an lovely African Grey, and a little scruffy dog named Oliver. As they entered the house, “Olly” made a beeline for the couch where I happened to be seated.
“No, doggy” I said, as I gently pushed him off.
“I would prefer it if you used the word, ‘aw!’ when admonishing him” said Edgar “He understands what that means”.
“Ookay. Ah!” I tentatively said to Olly who was leaping on and off the couch with wild abandon.
Olly made eye contact with me for a brief moment and hurled himself onto my lap.
“No, its ‘aw’ its deep in the throat” said Edgar
“Hehe, yeah, so I’m Katy. Nice to meet you” I said
So Edgar and Olly and the bird (I can’t remember the bird’s name) moved in with my dad, and each quickly settled into their own routine. Edgar’s routine was to wake up at three o clock in the afternoon, order Chinese food and watch cable TV until he passed out. Olly’s routine was to take giant shits in my father’s shower and chew on garbage. The African Grey’s routine mainly consisted of shitting all over the house. There was definitely no shortage of shit.
One day, Edgar came running out of the bathroom and dialed up a plummer. Apparently there was a major clog in the toilet. One so large, it would later be described as “ferret sized”. A plummer came out and after careful inspection, deemed the situation hopeless. He said that he would have to break the toilet to remove the ‘obstruction’. My dad pulled him aside and asked him what kind of obstruction it was. The plummer said that as far as he could tell, it was no foreign object, just an extraordinary volume of the ‘usual stuff’.
They bought a new toilet, and of course, a few weeks later they encountered the same problem. A third toilet was purchased, but this time my father did some investigating. He found an industrial sized toilet with an enlarged hole and super turbo vacuum sucking power to install in the bathroom. You could flush a cat down that thing without any effort (or maybe even Olly. Believe me, it crossed my mind) So that finally solved the problem.
Edgar had the habit of sleeping with his African Grey. I am talking spooning. Under the covers. With a bird. Yes. Apparently he has done it for years without incident. The bird was completely and totally incontinent, so don’t ask me how that worked. One afternoon, Edgar padded slowly out to the kitchen and sat down at the table, dejected. My dad tried to avoid his eye, but he finally broke down and asked him what was wrong. He had accidentally rolled over and killed the bird in his sleep.
He finally moved out after a long, agonizing time. It took my dad a while to recover and put another ad out for a roommate.
edited to add: I just talked to my dad. The bird’s name was Einstein.