life in and around NYC is insane

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The roommate wars redux

Once again the tension at Drew's house is pervasive.

Ostensibly it's about money.  But it goes much deeper than that.

Let's talk about the money first.

Marc has been in a bad position for a long time.  He was laid off from his job and had to file for unemployment benefits.   And when the benefits ran out he reluctantly withdrew some funds from his IRA.  He was afraid of the taxes and penalties but had no choice.  And then he got a job -- minimum wage, retail, in a discount department store.  Crazy hours, and many weeks where his "full time job" offered only part time hours.  So he's been hurting financially.

He got a new job in January, in his field (he's a technician).  Pays a lot more than what he was earning working retail, though not as much as he made before he was laid off.

He's also very careless about keeping track of his money.  Many years ago Drew and Marc opened a joint bank account primarily for shared household expenses.  Drew has a separate account for his own funds but Marc does not.  Marc apparently lost track of what was in the account.   He spent some of the rent money on his personal bills.  Fortunately Drew was able to cover the rent.   And he would have loaned Marc the money if Marc had asked.

He was very defensive when Drew confronted him about the money several months ago.   And he's made only a feeble attempt to repay a small part of it.

And there's a large bill from the heating oil company coming due in July.

Right now Drew is being squeezed financially because of some of his late father's expenses.   He could really use the money Marc owes him.  Marc has been silent in the face of Drew's requests for repayment.

Today Drew went to the bank to deposit money for the May rent, and saw Marc's balance.  Apparently Marc has enough in his account right now to pay the debt in full.  So of course Drew is upset.

But there another layer here.  Marc told Drew's sister that Drew has been treating him badly for over a year.   Drew had no idea Marc felt that way.

What's changed in the last year or so . . .well, I've been spending a lot more time there.  Drew and I are a couple, we're partners.    We used to include Marc in a lot of things, but when money got tight he stopped going out with us.  His only friends are the people in our social circle.  He's estranged from his family.   I think he's really very lonely.

Drew didn't realize what it sounds like when he and Marc talk to each other.  They're both very angry.  The testosterone level rises.  It's like two rams butting horns.  Seriously, they can't seem to talk to each other anymore.

But when they're not bristling at each other, Marc gets very passive aggressive.   Hides in his room like a hermit crab.    Right now he's doing to hermit crab thing.

Obviously I haven't given all the details, but it's very uncomfortable in that house right now.

40 years of friendship is on the line.  And I don't see this situation ending well.

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