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A roommate story

(Names and details have been changed to protect the gross, but please DO NOT mainpage this)

During my 3rd year of college, I moved in with my best friend Liz and another of our friends, Amy. Liz and I met on the very first day of freshman year and bonded instantly, and Amy was just... around all the time, so she was a friend, but she was never a ride-or-die.

We thought we'd all be adults about stuff and sat down before we moved in to hash out things like shared space, who pays for which thing, etc. We decided to split up the utilities as evenly as possible and then things that were household needs (cleaning supplies, etc) would be done in turns. It was all very organized.


Liz and I moved in a couple of days after Amy did, so we were kind of surprised to see the hall closet filled to the fucking BRIM with toilet paper.

We're talking about A LOT of toilet paper. Like, 2 Costco-sized packs of it. We thought we'd never have to buy TP ever again.

We were wrong.

Thanksgiving break came, and Amy went home to her parents for the weekend. Liz and I were both more or less local so we opted to stay in our apartment aside from the family obligations and whatnot. So we're sitting around one night and I got up to go pee only to find that we were out of toilet paper.


HOW? How could this happen? By our math, we had enough for three reasonably normal women to get through at least a good six months. It had been THREE. So we put on our detective hats and started trying to figure this out.

Had Amy taken it home with her? This would not be unlike her at all, since she was VERY weird about "her" stuff whereas Liz and I shared everything with each other AND WITH AMY because... well, we were all friends and the 47 cents' worth of ice cream that I might eat out of Liz's Cherry Garcia was no big, because she drank half the milk I bought anyway. It literally didn't matter to us, but Amy was strange in that way (and many others). She would make food, but if you so much as took one molecule of that food, she wouldn't clean anything. Not her dishes, not her pans, nothing. I still, to this day, have no idea what her reasoning was.


Anyway, we started noticing some weirdness. Our apartment usually had a... smell. We chalked it up to being grody student housing and us being slightly lacking in the housekeeping department. However, after about a day of Amy being gone, Liz remarked "hey - it almost smells nice in here. Did you find the Febreze?" Me: "...no..."


We had some people over that weekend and one of them remarked on the fact that the trashcan in our bathroom was kinda big. Like, kitchen-sized trashcan big. We'd never paid any attention to that, since we were students and would scrounge and trash-pick things that we needed. Nothing matched and it didn't matter, but once that was pointed out, I started to wonder. Tiny bathroom-sized trash cans are hella cheap, so we 86'd the giant one and installed a smaller one.


When Amy got back after break, she never said a word to either of us about it, but all of a sudden the small trashcan in the bathroom was gone and the big one was back. She never, ever spoke of it, so I didn't either. But oh boy! I was suuuuuuuper curious now.

After a couple of weeks of putting together clues, here is what I figured out.

Amy had a phobia of getting anything on her hands. She washed them a lot but was very strange in the kitchen and wouldn't make or consume any food that you had to touch with your hands. Yeah, okay. Some people are like that.


IT TURNS OUT that her issue with getting things on her hands extended to the bathroom. As near as we could figure, she would go into the bathroom to do her thing and would wrap TP around her hand (like, a lot of it), wipe up whatever needed to be wiped and then

(stop reading now if you're having lunch or are in any way grossed out by bathroom things)


... she would... wrap THAT whole package up in MORE TP and throw it in the trash.

No flushing, you ask? No, apparently not. She told me she was taught to NEVER flush TP or anything that wasn't bodily waste down the toilet. Whoever told her this is a maniac weirdo, first of all, and fucking gross, second of all.


So she was putting all this mess in the trash, which would account for the grody smell in our apartment. We asked her, straight-up, what the deal was. And she told us, which I have to give props for because it's hard to expose your deep-seated gross weirdness sometimes. We asked her to um, STOP DOING THAT and she said she absolutely would not.

Liz and I were so fucking disgusted that we launched a passive-aggressive strike (we were 20, and in no way mature).



We knew Amy abhorred the scent of vanilla. Luckily for us, that shit was in EVERYTHING that year, so Liz and I went a little insane and got vanilla candles, vanilla air freshener, vanilla potpourri, vanilla hand-lotion... you name it, we bought it if it was vanilla scented. Our apartment smelled like a goddamned cupcake.


The kicker? Amy's major in college was Ecological Conservation. When confronted with the fact that she was adding to landfills, she shrugged. I can't help but laugh at the fact that she eventually flunked out. Not dropped out due to cash or circumstance, but straight-up got a bunch of D's and flunked right out.

Right around Easter, Amy asked if Liz and I could take over her third of the rent, and we agreed a little too quickly, I think. She moved out and took her giant Costco-sized packs of TP with her. Thank goodness, because it was either that or someone was going to smother her in her sleep (might have been me).


So, while it's not nearly as bad as some roommate stories, this is still pretty funny (to me) and nearly 20 years later, it still comes up sometimes as in "do you and Liz still talk to Amy?" Sometimes, but not often. Liz told me once that when she knows she's going to see Amy in person, she makes it a point to put on something vanilla-scented. That's why I love her and she is my BFF.

{ETA: to clarify, we are all suburban white Midwestern chicks, going to college in Midwestern suburbia, so no culture clashes or farmhouse septic system adventures would have informed anyone's behavior here. Straight-up weirdness, you guys.}

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