Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the winner of the Splitwise’s roommate horror story contest. Though, this isn’t as much about a person as much as it is about a place. This guy was lucky to get out of here alive, and he’s a much better man than me. This apartment “13 Horror street” sounds like it should be featured on some sort of reality TV show.
13 Horror street
As engineering students at Georgia Tech, we are used to running experiments and observing the results. Where do you draw the line, though? What about experiments on yourself?
I was a fresh Master’s student, all starry-eyed at the opportunity to conduct research at one of the best schools in the country. I and 3 of my friends had hunted down and found what looked like a livable 3-bed house, a stone’s throw from Tech. I will call it “13 Horror Street.” Little did I realize, that I was going to be subjected to a horrific social experiment. No, for now, everything was going well, and even the fact that the landlord decided to cram 7 others into the place (a grand total of 11 in a 3-bed place!) did not get me down.
A few days after we’d settled in, I woke to find a roach looking up at me. I chased it down with my bathroom slippers to a corner of my room, where it had disappeared behind my roommate’s mattress. Armed with a bottle of Raid, I pulled the mattress out, and saw not one but at least 30 of the little critters literally piled on top of each other. Needless to say, I went postal on the roach colony. I had barely scratched the surface.
As if an army of roaches wasn’t bad enough, my other housemates revealed their true colors about a month later. Cooking in the kitchen with 10 others became a matter of trying to avoid putting your cut veggies into someone else’s pot of boiling stew. Cleaning the dishes (without the benefit of a dishwasher) was a job that took abrasive cleaning fluid – for the other guys would pile their dishes up for months, to the point where a healthy crop of fungus would have accumulated on the stagnating water. We filled up the trash can quickly enough that a steadily mounting debris of organic matter accumulated around the garbage can. (I gradually started realizing that I’d become used to the stench – clean was weird now!)
The roaches were of course, having a field day in the midst of all this, freely scurrying about between dishes open with leftover food. Rather than deal with the roach problem, it was easier to just leave leftover food with a pool of water surrounding it – a “moat”, if you will. Trust engineers to find a solution without actually fixing the root cause.
If the summer and fall was bad, winter brought with it the chills from a poorly insulated house, that was literally falling at the seams. We raised the temperature to 95 deg one month, and even then the farthest room was chilly. Our landlord screamed at us – he paid the power bill – but we all engaged in a little vindictive pleasure and amped the thermostat up higher; even me, though I’m normally morally upright.
At some point, it all started feeling like some kind of surreal social experiment – sort of to prove that even the strongest of human spirits can break under the right conditions. After 7 months of enduring hell, I had transformed from being filled with righteous horror at my roommates’ sloppiness, to being benumbed to the daily horror. I distinctly remember a roach falling on to my open sandwich as I was making it; and then, brushing it off and eating the sandwich. (But to this day, I can’t believe I did that.) I took it upon myself to start documenting the “joys” of living at 13 Horror Street with photos and videos.
The roach-and-roommate problem got so severe however, that one day I just fled the place. I stayed at my hometown for the summer to recover. Only then did I realize, that I had messed up my appetite and health – losing 25 pounds during my stay at 13 Horror Street – and forever been scarred by the memories.
So there you have it, the winner of our Halloween contest! This guy deserves a medal.