concrete tile

You want to be passive aggressive over a carpet? This'll learn ya.

My first year away for college, I lived in a fairly standard triple room with two women, Shelly and Kelly (no joke). We had been chatting it up on Myspace in the weeks before we moved in together, just regular getting to know you stuff. Our dorm, like most dorms, had an uncomfortable tile covered concrete floor. The university sold large rolls of carpeting for around $150, and Shelly’s parents had offered to buy it and were wondering if we would be interested in chipping in (the way this question was posed to me, it seemed optional). Being an incredibly broke college student, $50 was a lot of money. I explained my situation, Shelly understood (or so I thought) and we were all good.

When we moved in together, it became apparently very quickly that Shelly and I were not going to be the best of friends. There was an escalating series of passive aggressive moves, like her constant need for the room to be 60F (so cold…), and yelling at me for messing with the window unit. She slept above me in the bunks, so there were many passive aggressive remarks about how she wanted the bottom bunk, or how my desk was too cluttered for her to use as a ladder (USE THE GODDAMN LADDER, SHELLY). Once before Thanksgiving break, Shelly came home while I was packing. My duffel was on the floor beside our bed, and as she was climbing her drunk ass up to her bunk, she rolled off and straight onto my duffel bag (which kept her from getting seriously injured). When I asked her if she was okay and if I could get her anything, she glared at me and said “I hate you so much.” Dead serious. This is what I had been dealing with since we moved in together.

Sometime around Mom’s Weekend (March), Shelly decided that she needed me to pay my share of the carpet. I reminded her of our agreement from the beginning of the year, and that even though I was working all my money went toward books, food, etc. I didn’t really have the expendable income, and she knew that. She didn’t care. She wanted to the money, and when that didn’t work she changed her story to say that her parent’s wanted the money.
I knew better. Shelly wanted weed money. I’m a casual smoker, but I absolutely didn’t want her skunky shit in the dorm because I didn’t want to risk getting in trouble (and I knew she’d throw me under the bus if she got caught). This was a Thursday, so not wanting to fight her anymore, I just told her I’d pay her when I got paid the next day.

The next day I came home from work and was settling in for the night, when in walks Kelly and her mom, and Shelly and her mom. And that’s when it hit me. I could call Shelly’s bluff AND have this whole thing blow up in her face right then and there.

I wrote the check to Shelly’s mom. As I was handing it to her, she looked at me a little puzzled. I explained that Shelly mentioned that they needed my portion of the payment for the carpeting, and I was so sorry the payment was so late but I was basically paycheck to paycheck because of school. Her mother looked shocked.

What did she do? She glanced at Shelly, glared (now I could see where she got it), immediately knew what had happened, and then smiled at me and said, “Thank you, that’s very sweet, but we understood going in that you weren’t able to cover the carpet. You can void that check.”

Shelly did not speak to me the rest of the year. I did get to see that glare a lot, though.

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