It was bound to happen sooner or later..the house guest from hell. I started accepting guests into my apartment about 8 months ago. Up to this time I have been really lucky. All the people who have stayed with me have been people I either knew or referred by people I knew.
I have been marketing myself through the net..my website, posts to a tango newsgroup, and flyers in various cities. I have a Vonage digital line in my apartment. This gives me a California phone number so people can call Buenos Aires from the U.S. for little or nothing. I still get to talk to all my old friends like I was still there.
One night the Bat Phone (or the Vonage line) rang. I answered and it was a woman who had seen my flyers in San Francisco. She was very reluctant to give much information about herself and in retrospect, I now know that she lied. She told me that she was making her 1st trip to Buenos Aires. (LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE...She had just come home from CITA.) She told me that she did not want to go on a tour and that she had heard about my apartment from a flyer she got from her tango class in San Francisco.
I asked her who her teacher was and she told me she took from Chelsea at City College. I know Chelsea...should have emailed her to ask about this woman, but I figured what the heck. I mean I can't get references on everyone. I figure with a pit bull in the house I should be able to keep the mayhem to a minimum. (The pit bull is Roxie, not me.)
She asked about the neighborhood. I let her know that it was very safe. She said she would be in Buenos Aires a month but had no where to stay the first two weeks. I could not accommodate the first day of her stay and gave her the name of a hotel that is reasonable and very comfortable.
Then she arrived. She called the night before to let me know she was in Buenos Aires. I was out dancing. She called the next morning to tell me she would be there at 11. I had my guest Christine still in the room. She was a real doll to clean her stuff up and move it to the living room so the Guest from Hell could put her stuff in there.
Isabel my cleaning lady (God, I hate that name..maid is even worse, how does one describe this sweet person who helps me in my apartment?) was going in to clean the room and make it nice. She came to me confused. "Señora" she said to me "La nueva mujer, no habla Castellano, no entiendo que quiere." (The new woman does not speak Spanish, I dont understand what she wants) There was TGFH (The Guest From Hell) arms folded and scowling.
She wanted me to wash the mattress pad in bleach "I can't sleep on something where someone else has slept" she informed me. ( I wanted to ask her if she demanded the Castellar wash their mattress pads before she slept there) Of course the sheets would be changed, but she also wanted the blankets washed as well. I should have just smacked her around, but I figured even though it was a pain in the ass, it was something small I could do.
I started to explain the remote control that is for the split in her bedroom. This is a separate unit for heat and air conditioning. Each person can control the temperature in their room. She gives me back the remote and tells me "I don't want air conditioning." I explain to her that she does not have to use it. This is why I put separate units in each room. I start to explain to her again how to activate the unit when she interupts me again "I do not like air conditioning, I don't want it on." I know that I have good communication skills, but I think I must be missing something.
I point to the unit mounted on the wall over her window. "That unit is just for your room," I tell her. "Every room is individual. You don't have to use it. You probably won't use it. But it is there if you need it." She grabs the remote from me "How does this work?" Now the remote to the unit is pretty darn simple. This should have been my first clue that this woman had a problem. I had to spend 10 minutes unsuccessfully explaining a remote control with 4 buttons.
Isabel washed the floor and wiped down the drawers of the closet. TGFH stood there and watched the entire time. She told me she needed to go to Citibank. I told her she could come with me since I needed to go by one.
I started to explain the neighborhood to her and some of the Argentine customs. She stopped me in the middle and said to me "Why are you telling me these things? I didn't ask you to." I was a little shocked. Most people who stay with me are happy to learn about the local customs no matter how weird they might seem. I told her that many people who come to Buenos Aires have expectations and then when they get here, they find it confusing. All I wanted to do was give her an idea of what it is like here. Again she looked at me and told me "I don't need to hear this. If I want to know anything, I will ask you." OK fine, I hope you trip and break your neck on the sidewalks on Thames Street.
If I went on to tell you day by day of what a horror story this woman was, I would be writing forever. So let me give you some of the finer tidbits of her wonderful personality and generous nature:
The first day she demanded I flip the mattress. She complained about the bed. The bed is a pillow top mattress that is 15 months old. She wanted to know how many people had slept on it.
She had never ever used a cell phone in her life. She demanded that I give her a cell phone to use because it was included in her room. I spent more time than you will believe explaining to her how to use the damn thing. I even downloaded the Nokia manual in English for her. (She wouldn't believe that the one I had was in Spanish..hello can you spell Argentina?) She insisted the manual was wrong and would not use it. At one point I wanted to shove the phone down her throat. She demanded I be more patient with her. All of this was bad enough, but she never once said thank you for trying to help her.
She would constantly slam doors and leave lights on. I had to go around after her and turn the lights off. I would politely remind her that I would appreciate if she would turn the lights off when she left a room. Her excuse would either be, "Well I am going to go back in there." OR She never turned them on. That darn Roxie...playing with the lights again! How could she?
I thought it was just me, but then the other woman staying there asked to speak to me one night. She asked me how long TGFH was going to be there. She told me she did not know if she could handle being around her for that length of time.
Now my apartment is not immense, but it is not small. However it gets small when you have a hostile rude bitch staying there. (Did I say that? Bad Deby! Bad!) TGFH would not say good morning or good bye. Along with her door slamming it was driving my other guest mad.
In the morning my guests and I like to either sit on the balcony or in the kitchen talking. THGFH would lurk and not participate. She was like a dark cloud. She would tell us we didn't need to know about her personal life. Of course we had asked very intrusive things like "Are you married?" or "Are you retired'" I should have asked her when the last time she got laid was, because she sure needed something to loosen up....(I know, I know, that is not very nice...)On the other hand I could not imagine any man finding her attractive in her baggy black pants (that looked like she had a load in them) along with her orthopedic shoes. (I never knew people in Marin dressed like this, I only thought people in Berkeley did...)
One night a group of us went out to eat. I told the ladies in the group it would be a nice gesture if they paid for Roberto's dinner. I knew he would dance with each of them even though he does not like to dance in the milongas with anyone but me. All of the women agreed BUT TGFH hell asks "How many dances will he dance with me? What if he doesn't dance with me, do I still have to pay?" The other women looked at her like she was a loony tune.
At the milongas my table is usually mixed with Argentines and Americans. We usually order a bottle of Champagne, a bottle of beer, and some waters. When the bill comes we split it. No one ever thinks about who drank what, we just split it. On one night TGFH pipes up "I didn't drink any champagne, do I still have to pay for it?"
She didn't want to pay 100 pesos for a private lesson. She asked Roberto if she could watch one of his lessons. He said sure. The next time he had a lesson she asked if she could watch again. He told her no. We realized that she was asking other people to go to their private lessons so she could watch and see if she wanted a lesson from them. The reality was she just wanted to watch to get the information rather than pay for a lesson.
She would bring her map into a taxi and try to tell the drivers how to go. She had no clue that the streets are one way and many times you cannot go the way the map looks the shortest. I am surprised no driver dumped her out at a corner.
It soon came out that she had come to CITA, then went home, then turned around and came back. All that while she cries poverty living in San Rafael. Would someone please get the violins?
She did not want to pay for Spanish lessons so she pestered the other woman in my house to explain vos and usted. (Which she pronounced as YOUsted) She would bug the other woman until she finally told her "I can't teach you Spanish. That is why I am taking lessons."
She was the black cloud. It got to where none of my friends whether they be Americans or Argentines wanted her around. She is what you call a real downer. She was a taker and would give nothing in return but bad vibes. (Oh how Californian...)
When she finally left she never said good bye or thank you. She just slammed the door and was on her way. Our last siting of her was at a milonga where a known vividor was courting her. She gave us the shit eating smile. She thought she was telling us how cool she was, dancing with this Argentine who I am sure was telling her he was a teacher and could really help her dance...what we all knew is that he preys on older American women who are here in Buenos Aires alone....and their pocketbooks.