Sour Times (Bye Bye, Fuckface!)By Darci Ratliff
February 27, 2011
Have you ever hated anybody? I mean, really, as an adult, HATED someone? And I don’t mean a politician or a celebrity, or whatever Paris Hilton is now. I mean a person you know and see on a regular basis. Because I’ve been angry with people—temporary hateful—but it took me a really long time to straight up hate a bitch, with conviction.
Hate is a lot of work. And I am emotionally lazy.
Most of the time, I can’t be bothered. But I hated this housemate I had in college. And I don’t think of her often, but when I do think of her, I still think she is the worst. I actively hate her. Still. Like, I would be okay with it if she got hit by a bus right now. I don’t want to identify her by name (in case a bus ever does hit her, Officer), so let’s just call her Fuckface.
Because fuck her. In the face.
Fuckface and my best friend leased the second story of a house near campus the summer after our Sophomore year. But Fuckface wasn’t able to move in until the Fall, and didn’t want to pay the summer rent (understandable, I guess). So she asked my friend to find someone to move in and pay rent for three months and then move out again (less understandable, I think).
I agreed to do it—mostly so that my friend wouldn’t get screwed on the rent. I packed and moved my shit twice that summer, in order to hold that room for Fuckface. (You’re welcome, Fuckface.)
Then she moved in. And I moved to the first floor. And she became a fuckface.
She started by being a secret bitch, for my eyes only. Subsequently, I would not invite her to join us for social-fun-times. I thought she hated me. (Stay home, Fuckface!)
Then when I wasn’t around, Fuckface would tell my friend/her roommate that I hurt her feelings by excluding her. My friend would say, “Oh, Darci, you should try to be nicer to [Fuckface].” So I would be nicer. And Fuckface would be an even bigger bitch to me as soon as my friend left the room.
Finally, my friend caught Fuckface acting like Captain Asshole after I invited her to go to the movies with us. My friend stopped asking me to be nice. (Ya burnt, Fuckface!)
Yes, Fuckface was messy and inconsiderate and all the things I imagine we’ve all experienced to some degree with roommates, especially in our early 20s. But she was a special kind of asshole in that she was completely shameless about it. I’ve known people to commit bigger social crimes, but they at least have the decency to feel guilty. And the things that would upset her were ridiculous. She and I lived in separate apartments on two different floors and I would get calls like:
“Um, I can just tell that your TV is on. Could you keep it down?”
“Umm, I can hear you guys whispering. Maybe you could talk tomorrow?”
“Ummmm, I can hear your heart beating. Can you slow it down a notch? I’m trying to take a nap.”
I’m only slightly exaggerating. Fuckface expected us to stop cooking spaghetti because she didn’t like the way sauce looks when it simmers. But her sensitivity only applied to things the rest of us did. She felt free to make as much noise as she wanted, stink up the house with her weird pets, drink our beer, break our stuff and insult our guests.
And OH GOD, was she cheap. I mean, we were all broke, scraping by with shitty jobs. It’s college. I get it. But Fuckface (whose parents paid for her tuition and rent) was just obnoxiously cheap. No sharing. No hospitality. But also, no hesitation in accepting the generosity of others. She’d ask you for a favor, you’d help her out of a jam, and an hour later she’d make you give her a quarter before agreeing to split a can of Coke.
True story: For weeks, she asked every person who came over for an egg.
“Hey, umm… Do you have an egg? I have this brownie mix but it requires an egg and I don’t have an egg. And I don’t want to buy a whole dozen if I just need one egg. So I thought maybe you had an egg I could have. Oh, I mean, sure—of course you don’t have it with you. But do you have one at home? I mean, haha, right?! But also, you should go home and get an egg and bring it over and then we can make these brownies.”
I’m serious. That actually happened. FOR A MONTH.
I mean, I GUESS it makes sense to ask ME for an egg. It makes sense because I lived downstairs, and that is where I kept my groceries, which is what eggs are (unless you are a chicken). If I had an egg to give to Fuckface, and if I didn’t spend every waking moment wishing she would grow a foot out of her forehead that would kick her in her stupid face forever, then it seems like a reasonable request, and not much of an imposition for me to run downstairs and bring back an egg. ONE TIME, that question makes sense. Twelve times is excessive. To ask every day was rude and weird. And to ask our other friends (who did NOT live downstairs) to go home and bring back an egg was just insane. (You crazy, Fuckface!)
Even more kookoo-bananas was the fact that Fuckface had a part-time job at a grocery store, giving her both 24-hour access to eggs and the funds with which to buy eggs (sold by the half dozen for about 40 cents). I pointed this out once and Fuckface said (while making the bitchiest face) that it wasn’t fair for her to have to pay for 5 extra eggs. (Life’s a bitch, Fuckface.)
If I ever have a time-traveling cat, I will make him take me back to the last time Fuckface asked me for an egg. I will bring her twelve dozen Grade A extra-larges and make her watch as I break every last one of those sons of bitches into the garbage can.
Then I will set that garbage can on fire.
Then I will bake those motherfucking brownies, Vegan-style with a banana-as-egg substitute. Then I will throw the brownies into a different garbage can and set that garbage can on fire.
Then my time-traveling cat will bring me back to the present and we will high-five each other until one of us passes out.
After a few months of living with Fuckface’s weird demands, her stomping around, and her general bitchfaceness, I stopped being polite and started getting real. I officially banned her from the first floor. Then a few weeks later, just because Fuckface extra-deserved it, my roommate double-banned her from the first floor.
Hating her may have started as a single player game, but it soon became a team sport. Floor One was off limits and Floor Two’s other occupant wasn’t exactly starting a Fuckface fan club. I’m reasonably sure that if our house had a third floor, Fuckface would not have been welcome there, either. (Not on my watch, Fuckface!)
But it didn’t make any difference to Fuckface. It didn’t bother her that she lived with three people who wanted to push her down the stairs. She had no shame, and she was impervious to hints, sarcastic remarks, stink-eyes and other passive-aggressive tortures. We knew she wouldn’t consider moving out. The rent was so cheap and the house was so close to campus—she’d never find anything better, or anyone else to live with her.
We were stuck with Fuckface, and her stinky pets, and her shitty moods and her, “You should pay more of the phone bill, because the phone sits closer to your room, so I have to walk farther to use it” negotiations. We had given up any hope of getting rid of her before graduation. But then a funny thing happened, and suddenly, we were saved.
We were saved by the band Portishead.
(I know! I was also surprised.)
My roommate came home one day and started playing the then-new Portishead album, Dummy. She put the song “Sour Times” on repeat, and then zoned out, doing her homework or whatever. It wasn’t blaring at full volume, but our house was old and the walls were thin, so it was easy for any noise to travel from one floor to the other.
Fuckface started to twitch, not because the music was too loud, but because she was tired of hearing that song. She asked her roommate to call and ask us to put on a different CD. Her roommate/my friend refused to tell someone what music to not listen to in the privacy of her own home, even if that someone wanted to listen to a dopey Portishead song over and over again, and suggested that Fuckface just turn on the TV or her own radio. But that did not seem to be a viable solution to Fuckface.
Instead, Fuckface threw a tantrum. She started throwing shit on the floor and at the walls, making enough of a racket to make me think something terrible was happening. I phoned upstairs to see if the terrible something was at least happening to her.
Me: “Hey, is everything okay up there?”
FF: “Ummmm… I’m just throwing a ball around my room to try to relieve some stress.”
Me: “You’re doing what?”
FF: “I’m throwing a ball.”
Me: “What KIND of ball?!”
FF: “I said I’m STRESSED. I’m tired of hearing that song your roommate keeps playing over and over.”
Me: “Yeah, me, too. So I put some headphones on. Problem solved. Were you just stomping around up there?”
FF: “I had to make myself feel better.”
Me: “Pictures were falling down off our walls, [Fuckface]. “
FF: “Sorrrr-yyyyyy. But I had to do something.”
Me: “Of course you did.”
I hung up the phone, livid, and determined to be done with this bullshit, once and for all. I gave my roommate a quick synopsis of my phone conversation with Fuckface and then very dramatically proclaimed,
“FOR AS LONG AS THAT BITCH LIVES IN THIS HOUSE, THAT SONG WILL BE PLAYING ON THAT STEREO. ALL DAY. ALL NIGHT. WHILE WE SLEEP. WHILE WE STUDY. 24 HOURS A DAY, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, THAT SONG WILL PLAY IN THIS HOUSE FOR AS LONG AS SHE LIVES UPSTAIRS.”
It took a few days for Fuckface to tell us she was moving out, but we kept playing “Sour Times” for another week until she was actually gone. We would leave the house for hours—sometimes all night—with the CD on repeat and the doors locked. Once, we saw Fuckface leave for school so we turned the music off. But then she came back inside to get her jacket and we turned it right back on. She screamed, “I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING!” from the other side of the door, but we just turned up the volume and laughed. When she moved, she assured us she had her own reasons for leaving, and that they were totally unrelated to the nonstop Portishead mindfuck coming from downstairs. (We believe you, Fuckface!)
I only saw her once after that, at a New Year’s Eve party. I was living in New York by then, but had come home for the holidays. When I moved away, I gave a bunch of furniture to my friend, Chris—the same friend who was throwing the party. Fuckface was there, and we managed to avoid one another for a while, but then I saw her sitting on my old sofa. I immediately ran to Chris and explained the rules: Fuckface had been banned from my apartment, and the banishment applied to the furniture of the apartment, even after the furniture left the apartment.
“You want me to tell her she can’t sit on the couch?”
I wanted him to tell her a lot of things, beginning with “You can’t sit on the couch,” and ending with facepunch. But before I could answer him, Fuckface stood up and left the party.
The DJ had finally gotten to my request for “Sour Times”.
I WAS JUST TALKING ABOUT HER TONIGHT!!!!
she totally pulled that bullshit on me about having to pay her for a coke after JJ and I had just taken her to the Esprit outlet and back!!!!
World: Hey, can I hold that grudge for you?
Us: Nope, I got it.
reminds me of a roommate a girlfriend had. but we called her vomitface.
I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it was the same girl.
THIS IS FANTASTIC!!!!!
Thanks so much, Darci!
Brilliant. Utterly brilliant!
(And, yes, my comment did in fact need all of those excalamation points! — See, another one.)
I’ve had plenty of roommates that were actively antisocial within their own personal space, but never really one that was actively antisocial inside my personal space.
Beyond the whole, “shaft you out of a couple thousand dollars and leave you holding the bag” thing. But that’s just money. Money is too silly to get worked up over.
Worst I think I ever had was a female roommate that went apeshit ballistic after finding something suspiciously resembling one of my pubic hairs, stuck in the drain of the shower. You’d have thought she had found the offending bit of keratin in the ice cream, or in her underwear drawer.
This particular woman had definitely never had a man anywhere near her underwear, with or without ice cream.
Living together does weird things to people.
oh, I disagree.
The weird is already there. You just get a ringside seat.
You’re welcome Darci. 🙂
I think you should have included the fact that we would scream at the top of our lungs “Nobody loves me!” when that part of the song came on whilst shaking a fist at the ceiling. ha!
Haha! Remember when she told you to shut up? I considered her lucky to survive that. Definitely cruisin’ for a bruisin’…
what was she thinking??? i do remember her backing off when I said “Oh, you wanna to come down here and tell me that?” or something like that. but i must admit, she threw me with that one.
I believe your response was, “YOU don’t tell ME to shut up! I tell YOU to shut up!”
And if I remember correctly, when you were retelling your argument to me and you got to the part where you said, “she told me to shut up!” I said? “What the fuck? She doesn’t tell YOU to shut up. YOU tell HER to shut up!” and you said, “THAT’S WHAT I SAID!”
We were always completely in sync, regarding who-tells-whom-to-shut-up in that house.
Zowie! I seem to have (fortunately) missed getting to know this charming acquaintance of yours, Darci. Remind me never to piss you off, though . . . I might need to sit on Chris’ couch at some point in the future.
Dee you are always welcome on my former sofas.
This is fucking brilliant. Miss you, Darci.
Yay! Thanks, KK. See you in a few weeks?
hello. okay, it works like this: this was so fuckface hilarious that i read it twice. awesome. i love it and am gonna put it on my FB page for my peeps to read. there are simply too many lines here to quote. you nailed this story and packed it with goodies. but it started right with this.
‘Because fuck her. In the face.’
now, THAT is high art, darci! lord have mercy. okay, hey, thanks. i needed that. and so do many people (can you imagine how many people can identify with this – how many folk out there have/had a fuckface in their sights?). take care.
fuck you fuckface,
Actually it started with “I am emotionally lazy,” because that is a ridiculous imaginary thing to be.
But srsly, thanks–glad you liked it!
‘Because fuck her. In the face.’
I also love that you’re now the crazy neighbours in her story, who always stole her money through a lack of recompense, and who only ever wanted to listen to the one song.
Beth Gibbons would like this story.
“fuckface” is currently busy telling anyone who will listen about the ROOMMATES FROM HELL who ate all her mayonnaise and ketchup, and who were able to be in that amazing apartment only because of her, and they never once acknowledged it.
She probably has an article about it right now on http://www.thecalmbreakup.com
Everybody is somebody’s Fuckface.
Beth Gibbons would totally love this story.
Hahahahah oh man, Darci. This is the funniest thing I have seen in a LONG time. I actually just declaimed it to my family via Skype because it so brightened my dreary, hungover day in England.
I will now spend the rest of my life wishing for a Time Cat.
I just hope it’s helped you avoid any future fuckface situations of your own.
holy shit! too funny!
omg, I’m still laughing.
I like the part about the foot growing out of her forehead just to kick her in the face.
Thanks. I am fundraising to support development of forehead-feet medical technology.
Having lived alone for a large percentage of my adult life, I’ve luckily managed to sidestep any Fuckface situation, but I’ve witnessed some that my friends have gone through. I’ve been considering getting a roommate to help with monthly expenses, but…..I don’t think I’ll risk it just quite yet.
Well, just know that there is a Portishead Protocol if you ever get in a jam.
this is the most hilarious thing i’ve read in a LONG time.
and yes, there was a fuckface in my life, but she wasn’t my roommate, she was my aunt’s (fake) lesbian lover. the biggest cunt i’ve ever met. 🙂
Funny rant. With your permission, I’m going to start using this one for many years to come:
“Umm, I can hear you guys whispering. Maybe you could talk tomorrow?”
The fun thing about people like here is that, with all control freaks, it takes very little to push their buttons. Nice work!
Go for it. It’s a classic.
Whoops – that was a reply to Joe.
Why can’t I remember who this is? I’m wracking my wee brain. I was in a Sarah/George fog, I think.
I can remember the smelly pet but not the person. Stupid beer.
Needless to say, you were a much better best-friend’s-roommate than Fuckface.
I did manage not to kill her a la SWF. But I did make her towels smell like smoke, and she did have to deal with my just escaped from strict baptist parents drinking and carousing. See: too much beer.
It all turned out ok. Even the drinking. No one even notices your daughter’s third arm and seventeen toes.
Also, you had to put up with her always-spending-the-night friend-who-lived-with-parents-instead-of-dorm (me).
This made my eyes water.
Miss your facehole, Darci. That phrase has already been used, hasn’t it? Oh, well — it needed to be said again, because I do.
Look forward to seeing you sooooon! Trips K and I would like to treat you to din-dins — whatever you want!
Consider facehole-missing mutual! My schedj is gonna be tight, but maybe we can dinner before poker on Saturday? Otherwise, hope y’all will come to Dan’s on Sunday and chill with scrabble and readings/music (I go on at 6!) and we can grab a taco next door.
TIME CAT! haha, i’m going to say that now, apropos of nothing, in the middle of conversations and meetings when they get boring.
i’ve never had a roommate this bad, though i did have one who FREAKED when she came home and found that either I or our other roommate had used the last egg that evening (eggs again!) and hadn’t immediately replaced them. she slammed the refrigerator door so hard, all our obnoxious little poetry magnets fell off, she slammed into her room, sobbed, then came out red-eyed to get food.
the next day the other roommate and i both came home with a dozen eggs each.
i’m guessing something was going on in her life because she wasn’t usually like that, but it was still strange and startling.
That is the way TIME CAT was born to be used. I didn’t create Time Cat (my friend John did–thanks, John!) but I do call on his services from time to time.
I have been sitting here trying desperately not to laugh out loud at my desk for the last 10 minutes. Seriously, the time traveling cat was AWESOME.
I’ve definitely had some Fuckface-esque people in my life in the past and I STILL get mad – years later – when I think about something they’ve done. I think that’s why I got such great satisfaction out of this post. Thank you for sharing (and I hope it was therapeutic to write).
Haha, that comment brought me over here. Commencing reading…
Thanks. It was therapeutic. I highly recommend it for everyone and all the world’s Fuckfaces.
All the World’s Fuckfaces is also my new band.
Hilarious. I get that you’re probably actually a lovely human – but man. Some relationships make us devolve into awful people. I laughed so hard. Time cat is fucking hilarious.
I once had a roommate in a college, a guy that I hardly knew. About week after we moved in together, I went to the grocery store at, like, 11:00 in the morning or something. To the corner store. Which, driving, was about a five minute round trip. I get back home and the front door is double locked. So, I’m struggling to get the door open and finally do and there, on the floor OF OUR LIVING ROOM, was my roommate with his pants around his ankles and porn on the television. The room smelled like warm lotion. Sorry, did I just make you gag? Needless to say, by the time our very shortlived housemateship ended, we were not on speaking terms.
In college. Not in a college.
Of course. I took college. I know.
I have a pretty high tolerance for gross, but yes, “warm lotion smell” did make me gag. Also, that guy sounds super cool. LOL
I had this exact same story
in college except
our neighbors were very nice
& we were the bad guys
& we kept playing
Hank Williams Jr. live in Texas
on the Silver Eagle Radio Show
especially this one song called
“I Really Like Girls” where
the only lyrics were
weeeellllll i really really really really
like girls & it was like 8 minutes long
with a recitation in the middle about
how great it was to be Bocephus.
Each day our phone would ring
& a very soft voice would say something like:
“oh, chan no like Bocephus.”
“could you please turn Bocephus down?”
And the weird thing was when we would see each other
outside we were all very friendly
& never mentioned it.
Well, Ok – my story is a little different.
The rage here is so refreshing.
I am allergic to Bocephus. If Fuckface was smart she would have counterattacked with him.
By the way
I used to have a great
& Hell is Round the Corner
Fucking brilliant. If I told you everything I like about this, I’d have to cut and paste the whole damn thing.
I have an ex-roomie just like Fuckface, except he’s a guy. He used to let his dog shit all over our place and never clean it up. Not kidding, there would be twenty, thirty piles of poop when I’d get home from tour (I was in a band and broke, unable to break lease, or I would have moved.) Finally, after so many ridiculous attempts to talk to him about this, I finally just started picking up the poop and putting it in his room, in a nice orderly pile, of course. This went on for months, until our lease was up and I could get the hell out of there. To this day, I get furious just seeing his picture or hearing someone mention him. People are just whack!
It’s weird that people have to be told it is uncool to leave poop all over the floor. Seems kind of obvious.
Laughing out loud over here. God, Darci – you’re a riot. And I’d hate to piss you off and I don’t think I ever will to this extent so I feel safe in confiding with you that Meatloaf is my kryptonite.
Weird coincidence: Meatloaf also attended my college. (true story!) (also, not at the same time as me!)
Darci, you are hilarious. I loved the “grow a foot on her forehead so she could repeatedly kick herself”.
KR – let’s work on creating a plush toy with a forehead foot! We can call it Fuckface!
(or “Kickface” for the PG-13 crowd)
Brilliant…just brilliant…I have a fuckface just like this at the moment…she has a dirty pet rat…eats all my baked beans (I have a strange addiction to beans) but triple wraps the cheese marked “fuckface’s don’t touch”. It’s come to a head…this week she has hidden the coffee plunger…so now I’m just going to start hiding kitchen things in my room like the frying pan. I’m assuming the conversation will go;
FF: Where is the frying pan?
ME: No idea.
Then repeat daily until the kitchen cupboards are bare.
I needed a way to get her out of the house and my hints of leaving the real estate section outside her door clearly aren’t working, so I’m downloading me some Portishead.
you’re my hero
[…] messing with her roommate’s mind. It’s funny, I guess, but nothing will ever top the Sour TImes story so why even bother? Day 5: Okay, so the laughter experiment didn’t work. Maybe he needs more […]
My college roommate and I forced our own Fuckface out of our apartment. Our tactics involved dirty dishes, a stray cat or two, and surly friends who had no problem telling someone what’s up (our tactics were not nearly as solid as yours). Not one to take anything lying down (except half the fraternities on campus–fact), she called my boyfriend’s parents and told them all about my pot-smoking and acid-dropping ways before she finally moved out. Like they cared or believed her, anyway. (They definitely didn’t care, and probably believed her, but still…)
Your piece has stirred long-dormant feelings in me–I haven’t seen my Fuckface since she moved out in 1995! I can only imagine she’s making her husband(s), demon spawn, and unfortunate co-workers miserable right now.
Thanks for the laffs! This was absolutely wonderful!!!