It happens every time. I have had so many renters. I don’t know why they cannot understand. I am a grandmother. I am here to save money. My children are grown and live with my horrible daughters-in-law. They cannot take me in. It is ironic. I bought them here by sweat and tears, one by one, working as a cleaning lady. And now when I figured I would be living with one of their families, playing with their children, living the life, here I am trying to save enough to move back home. So I can finally rest. I can never afford to retire here. And believe me, I am tired and worn. That’s how I got sick.
Here is how it goes. I have a two-bedroom apartment. I shared it with my girlfriend who was also a cleaning lady until she got deported. That was almost a year ago. My kids say they cannot help with the rent over and over. They have their own families, and like I say, my daughters-in-law. Ha! Well, so I asked around for a decent person to share my place and pay me rent. But all the women are living with relatives, if they have decent relatives who will take care of them. So there are all these single men out there who cannot afford their own place, because they are here to work and send money home.
Good match, right? Well, no. Because I don’t care if they are 20 or 30 or 40. They move in all respectful and hanging their heads. They stay in their rooms and take short showers. They ask if they can pay extra to have any kind of decent meals, or have me iron their shirt for their Saturday night dance or their Sunday church. A few weeks go by. And then, you can hear me now and believe me later, but it is true: they come home drunk and grab my bottom. They do! One even tried to kiss me and his hands were coming close to where they don’t belong when I slapped him and ran.
And Madame, please believe me. As you see me dressed now I am dressed at home. I am not wearing little nighties like the gals in the soap operas. I am not running around half-naked. But there I will be, washing up the dishes at the sink, and Roommate No. 7 will come home drunk and stumbling, and as he goes to the fridge to put in the six-pack he brought home, he will grab me. It happens every time. They want more. They know the rules, but they want more.
I have lived long enough to know you don’t argue with a drunk man. That never ends well. So I immediately go to my room and lock myself in. The next day, there is a sheepish and embarrassed fellow, or a guy who pretends not to remember anything, but however he is, I am the same. I sit him down at the table, and I have this same talk over and over. It is so tiring!
“Sir,” I tell him. “I am here to give you a roof over your head. A place to shower. A safe home. Even some meals, and some laundry. But I respect others so that I may be respected. And I demand respect. No part of my service is that kind of service. I am not part of the service, and you need to find another place to live by the end of this month.”
They always have excuses and the biggest one is alcohol, but I don’t care. The fact that men, when they drink alcohol become swine, is just a stronger argument for having them move out, since they won’t get sober. Some move easily, some beg and plead and promise, and once I had to have one of my sons come over the “help” the guy move out and take away his key. But I tell you as I have told them, “if you wanted a decent home, like I gave you, you should have remembered both drunk and sober, that I am no part of the service.” And so I tell them.
I finally gave up on the single men and brought in a whole family, a young couple with a baby, and no one is grabbing my bottom, but the place is small. And I caught them using the bathtub as a bathtub, which I had told them they are not allowed to do. It takes too much hot water. One high hot water bill can eat up all that I can save in a month from my wages. And I worry about her cranking the heat up while I am at work. If it’s not one thing, it’s another, right?
A decent, sober man would be the best roommate of all, but where am I going to find him? So now I am giving up on my idea of getting any money being a landlady, and I am looking for a room in a house, hopefully with a decent family. And I can tell you that I will be extremely careful about choosing. Because whether these men know it or not, my bottom is my bottom and I won’t have it pawed.