Glass house and stoned: Pleasantries #6: or Tight Fit

Seamus was a lodger a while back. When I first met him he was smooth: a real charmer and talkative. Like I said, I chose lodgers who say they “love the house” and seem friendly.

He was a rising star in the civil service, and stayed with us for 3 months in the room that language students usually answer the ad for, as if I rent it out at all, it’s cheap. Seamus would rush home from work via the bakery to buy day end bread at half price, and come home and eat croissants, buns and a small tiger loaf for a 4pm tea. It’s easy to make assumptions; I knew nothing about him other than what he told me, and I observed, but it seemed like he got his kicks out of getting off work as early as possible, and making savings on everything possible.

His big passion was car boot sales. He loaded his van full of boot sale booty to sell abroad in markets at a premium a couple of times during his stay. My partner D___ went to a boot sale with him once and was astounded at his bold haggling, and the speed at which he spotted items being unloaded from people’s boots.

“Will you take £10 for the lot?” as they got out of the car.

One day he asked if his girlfriend could come to stay “or else I’ll get her to sleep in the van on a mattress that’s in there.” This was the van full of tools parked on the street around the corner next to the local infamous reggae pub. He had rubbed me up the wrong way with this passive aggressive approach. “Really, you’d put your girlfriend in the van out on that street?” Sure, yes.

I wish I had reacted to this differently in retrospect, but we learn from our mistakes. I’m far more mellow these days.

The single room is furnished with a small single bed so I look for a short lodger. Ideally under 5 ft 5. The bed looked bigger in the photo on the Dreamworks website. It is a proper bed but I can lift it up, base and all, with one hand. Maybe I should have dug a little deeper into my own pockets?

When Seamus left I was glad. All of the wheellie dealings, and constant pointing to every item in my house asking how much I had paid for it, or how much I thought it was worth, made me uncomfortable.

You don’t really know how you are perceived by others. He was making his windfalls from innocent loopholes and dedicated Ebay scrutiny, but I still felt vulnerable for some reason.

Obviously this mirror works both ways: I’m also open to judgment. I do try to keep an open mind. And, I’m sure we will eventually find D___’s 1973 Here come the Warm Jets LP…emotionally very valuable, and of course, musical gold dust.

here come the warm jets

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