No, this isn’t about the Jackie Chan film. It’s about me — and no, I’m not implying I’m the nicest guy around.
The seeds were sown in the Fall of last year when my friend Samuel asked me to do him a favor. His cousin was apparently coming over from Ghana and would be staying in the dorms. Would I kindly take him under my wing, show him the ropes, yada-yada?
I’d gotten [yet another] a new roommate. I never quarreled with my past roommates — OK, I came close to doing so once but we settled the issue amicably — so I assumed naturally that everything would go smoothly from then on. Was I wrong!
For one, I discovered my new ‘friend’ (we’ll call him N) was into music, perhaps a little too enthusiastically. My eardrums nearly literally got blown off every time he decided to listen to something. I let him use my computer back then because he hadn’t gotten his, making it ironic that I was assailed by my own speakers. My PC’s soundcard is quite loud, so you can imagine how it all felt to someone who listened mostly to Yanni, Vivaldi and Mozart. The situation worsened when he got a new PC. His speakers had some very wicked sub-woofers.
I regularly perform culinary feats in the dorms using my rice cooker and microwave. At first, I offered him samples whenever I cooked — I later stopped doing so, although he felt comfortable enough to go in
my fridge and partake of my stew without asking me.
My only response was a rather weak, “I love to cook. The ingredients for two pots of stew are just over $10. I don’t mind if you buy them when next you shop for groceries. I can help you cook them.” My words seemed to be for one-time use, as after the initial time he bought groceries, I’ve been doing the buying.
My next point of action was to sometimes cook what he didn’t like — even though I wasn’t too happy to eat that stuff either. Sort of a lose-lose situation, although in the end I would have to cook something I loved. This game of hide-and-seek continued for a long time while the resentment brewed inside of me.
It wasn’t just food. The air fresheners I buy get taken out of my drawers and used freely. And they don’t even get returned to their original locations.
Apparently, our relationship had ‘progressed’ to the point where one could say, “N’s things are his. Azuka’s things are also N’s.” When I thought about it, I figured I was just being possessive. I even wrote up a post about realizing for the first time how possessive I am. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t publish it, although doing so would have meant less time since my last post.
Things came to a head last week when I called him aside to complain about his sound. He shot back at me that I frequently watched anime in the night while he was asleep. The annoying thing is, it was true. I stopped using my headphones in the night simply because I wanted to get back at him for playing loud music in the day, and he had felt free to increase the volume of his music during the day because I watched anime at night. We managed to straighten things out and have worked out the sound problem.
As is my wont when Samuel visits me, I began to lay out my complaints about N yesterday when he came for help with a C# assignment on encryption. This time, I think he got tired of listening to my whining as he told me in no uncertain terms that I was too concerned about offending people — the world didn’t work that way. I may be fiery when I write — sometimes brash — but in the end my personality’s more on the passive side.
I think I’ve been running away from a direct confrontation on so many issues and I’ve decided to face them head on. Thank you Samuel…
The Oni in me has awakened. I’m going to do the things that make me happy from now on. Nice guys get the short end of the stick.
I hope I don’t overdo it… 😉