Craigslist room for rent goes sour.
I was in the process of joining the military, simply waiting for the date to enter service. “It would take at least a month, but no more than a year.” Apartment lease had expired, no month-to-month payment option. Looking for some short-term housing. I was single, worked 2 part time jobs, & had cash in savings. I’m quiet, flexible, simple needs. Just needed the simplest of accommodations. I went to Craig’s List.
Met with a woman who advertised a room for rent. We’ll call her “Jill”. Jill was 20something, single, and came from a wealthy family who bought her this small 3 bedroom house, gave her a nice car, paid her bills. Jill didn’t like to work, she just “sold her art”. She made awful graphic art fan fiction on her PC, probably never sold anything but was completely obsessed with her own work and would talk about it constantly. Jill had pets. So. Many. Pets. Like 20 cats, 4 dogs, a room of birds out of their cages, and several acquariums. A bit weird/slightly skewed version of reality, but seemed nice, had a room available and price was okay. I would pay a flat rate for rent and utilities, provide my own food, and come and go as I please. Neither of us ever signed anything, just details via text and email.
She benefited from my moving in as I had transferred my cable internet connection to her house. Got the modem hooked up and used my own wireless router and let her use it for free. I also have carpentry experience so I helper her repair some door frames and some wood trim in addition to patching up some drywall. Helped her out a lot, all while requesting nothing in return. The first week was nice.
Things fell apart rapidly after that. She became manipulative, started making financial demands. The electric bill was high, I needed to pay “my part”. She had bought enough groceries for both of us without informing me, but now that milk had soured and bread molded I needed to pay for “wasted groceries”. Old busted up door knob on the side of the house broke off while taking out trash, so I needed to buy a new one. Etc…
Individually these didn’t bother me much, but there was a pattern. After just weeks, living expenses had tripled the agreed upon amount. I told her that this couldn’t happen anymore. I would pay the agreed upon amount and buy my own food. Period. This settled things…for a week.
Got back from work. In my room my guitar was gone, and in its place, a bill. A bill from a plumber who had installed a toilet. “My bathroom” needed some work done. Jill had “lost all trust” that I would fulfill “financial obligations” after I “freaked out about money before.” My guitar was hostage, locked in her bedroom until I paid for her toilet upgrade. She literally added a padlock to her bedroom door.
Time to get out. I told her I was moving out the next day (a friend already offered me his guest-room). She could keep the guitar (it was a $100 pawn shop guitar). I wasn’t going to pay to fix her house anymore.
Upon packing things came the modem discussion. She was taking an online class since she now had an internet connection. She would get her own connection “in a few days”. I was angry with her but not yet vengeful. I agreed to let her use it until my connection got transferred.
A week later, called Jill the day before the cable transfer. She said she would drop off the equipment, oddly, only while I was at work. I texted a reminder, “please don’t forget to drop off modem”, and she responded, “left it in a bag outside your front door”. Weird, but whatever. I get home that night. No bag. No modem. I text, “did you leave it at the right house? can’t find it”, she responds, “yes”.
Cable got installed, still no modem. It’ll cost me if I don’t turn in the old one. Now I’m vengeful. She’s extorted money, I’ve been nothing but helpful and considerate, she’s stolen my things, now she’s probably lying and stealing more things - which will cost even more money.
Jill took a pottery class on Thursdays, out of the house for 2 hours. Her front door had a combination keypad for entry instead of keys. She claimed she would change the combo when I left, but probably didn’t know how to do that. Waited until after the time she left. Drove past. No one home. Parked a block away, walked to front door, entered the code. Still works. Straight to her bedroom. Not padlocked anymore. Look, there’s my router and modem, right where they shouldn’t be because they’re in a bag outside my friend’s place. Weird. Grab my modem & router, grab my guitar, insert a spare old burned admin copy of Win'98 into her cdrom, boot to CD, set it to work formatting her hard drive. She can complete Win'98 installation later, complained about Vista anyway. Probably won’t be able to retrieve her “art” and homework.
Back in my car within 5 minutes, at my friend’s place 10 minutes later. Jill’s pottery class still had another hour. I texted, “finally found the modem, bag must’ve blown into the bushes! Thanks for dropping it off! :D” I love to imagine whatever flurry of emotions she must have experienced at that moment…
Called me in a frantic rage 30 minutes later. “YOU STOLE FROM ME!!!” “What?? Jill…What are you talking about?” “YOU BROKE INTO MY HOUSE AND STOLE FROM ME!!!” “Wait…someone broke into the house?? I’m sorry, I don’t know anything about that… What did they take?” Her remarkable psychological gymnast skills. Walks right up to the ledge of almost admitting that she lied to me and stole my things (after-all, such an admission was required for her version of events to make any sense at all) and then psychologically-backflips away. She couldn’t do it. Her story was not compatible with reality. All she could muster was rage and empty threats and that phone call was the last time I ever heard from her. Honestly, at that point the stuff and the money involved was worth less to me than the fact that she had so much rage but couldn’t do anything about it. It brought me a little joy. The strangest part is that she never mentioned her computer at all…