Sometimes in life, you have bad experiences that never really leave you. Of all those experiences I´ve had in my life, I must say that the time I spent living with Maritza is probably one of the worst. For those of you who don´t know, or may have forgotten, Maritza Ratoncita Pukeko Dragon- Face Torres was the woman in whose house I lived when I was in Bogotá between 2010 and 2011. She was a budding dictator with her strange house rules, her knack for knowing about everything that happened in the apartment, her underhanded tactics, and her overbearing demeanour. I admit that perhaps, I wasn´t the best tenant, but the way she reacted to my indiscretions could be filed in the dictionary under the word "INTENSE". Now that I´m away from home again, I´ve found myself having to live in someone else´s home. Although everyone isn´t as intense as Maritza, I still feel this need to avoid conflict at all costs, and a heightened sense of paranoia seems to permeate the air. Basically, I blame Dragon Face!
Since arriving in Neiva, I´ve moved three times. Everyone I stayed with, before finding my permanent residence, was very nice and accommodating. The apartments were comfortable, furnished, and I had everything that I needed to survive. Amidst all the niceties, I could not allow myself to relax. There were all these questions that I needed to ask to ensure my peace of mind. For example: "How much time can I spend in the bathroom?", "How much loads of laundry am I allowed to do?", "Is there a cleaning schedule for the apartment?", and "Can I watch television?", just to name a few. To some, these questions may seem a bit weird to ask someone when first meeting them, but after living with Maritza, they seemed appropriate. I mean, I had to take 5- minute baths, and wash black clothes with light colours because I was only allowed two loads of laundry a week. The first scar of Maritza had reared it´s ugly head, and it wouldn´t be the last time.
I noticed that even after clarifying my doubts on the house rules by having my questions answered, I still couldn´t become 100% comfortable. I needed to avoid conflict at all costs, so my goal in life was to become the "World´s Best Tenant!" I reasoned that if I were perfect, and made no mistakes that all will be well. I mean, it worked with Maritza- well, most times- so, why wouldn´t it work now? I started to watch my every move; I ensured that my room was always clean, that I didn´t make too much noise, that I washed all the soap down the drain after bathing, that I wiped the face basin after brushing my teeth etc. The thing is that, as humans we are not perfect! Thus, in trying to be perfect, I drove myself crazy! I would worry about the most mundane things, and if I didn´t do something correctly before leaving the house, it would haunt me for the entire day. My brain would create these scenarios that all ended with me coming home to find my luggage in front the apartment, the locks changed, and a vagrant wearing one of my nice shirts. It was stressful, frustrating, tiring, and unhealthy in my humblest of opinions. No one should have to live like that! Perhaps, I´m being dramatic, but hey, that´s me! Again, thanks Maritza!
Finally, there was the paranoia! I started to feel as though everything was my fault, even when there was no need to feel that way. Every look and drawn out silence became an accusation. If someone forgot to greet me when they entered the house, I would sit and wonder why, and arrive at the conclusion that it was because of me. Then, there´s that feeling that if things change in the apartment, it was done to prevent you from using too much. This paranoia reminds me of what it was like living with Maritza. She wasn´t one to come out, and tell you that you were doing something wrong all the time. She would leave notes, or whisper to her man late at night when she thought you were sleeping, or mark the water level, or disconnect the cable from the television. Her underhandedness was legendary, to be frank!
This blog was hand written late at night about two weeks ago. Now, I virtually live by myself, and it feels great! I don´t feel as stressed and worried as I used to. I still try to be careful, and have my own stuff though. Admittedly, it doesn´t seem necessary. My only concern now is renting a washing machine!
Until the next post... CHAO!