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March 15, 1991 - Image 121

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-03-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

•• ■ •,,

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SINGLE LIFE

ROOMMATES
FROM

AMY J. MEHLER

Staff Writer

C

raig Nabat still
cringes whenever he
sees ads for room-
mates. That's what got him
into trouble in the first place.
It started in September
when Mr. Nabat, 20, was
desperate. All summer, he'd
counted on rooming with his
best friend. But his friend,
who works in the scrap
metal business, decided to
live with his family in West
Bloomfield so he could be
close to work.
Time was running out for
Mr. Nabat. He'd just trans-
ferred from the University of
Arizona and would start
classes at Eastern Michigan
University in four days.
Mr. Nabat found a two-
bedroom apartment in Yp-
silanti. All he wanted was
someone to split his $645
monthly rent. The last thing
he was looking for was a "par-
ty animal."
Then he met Steve.
"He had on really grungy
shoes and held onto a motor-
cycle helmet," Mr. Nabat said.
"That was also about all he
moved in with."
Steve was the artsy type.
When he wasn't working as
a roofer, he painted or
played the guitar. When he
wasn't drunk, he would fan-
tasize about opening his own
liquor store. Mr. Nabat
wished Steve had fantasized
about paying the rent and his
share of the bills.
"He'd wait until the 15th
of every month," he said.
"Then I'd be stuck with pay-
ing all the late charges. My
credit was going down the
tubes.
"Then he brought over his
girlfriend, who was a
runaway. Then guys who I
knew had spent time in jail
for drunk driving started
sleeping over. Needless to
say, I never saw any money
from any of them."
Since Steve eventually
paid his share of the rent, he
couldn't be evicted, Mr.
Nabat said. Their lease,
which they signed for one
year, was the kind that held
each one liable for the other,

even when only one of the
parties paid his or her share.
"I felt totally helpless," he
said. "There wasn't much I
could do. Even when you
have someone evicted, it
takes at least three mon-
ths."
In the meantime, Mr.
Nabat's grades were slipp-
ing and he was driving back

to his home in West Bloom-
field every weekend. But
Steve and his buddies con-
tinued to sleep on the floor.

"He wouldn't even buy
any furniture," Mr. Nabat
said. "I ended up furnishing
the whole place. I even
gave him a water bed I
bought for my girlfriend.

The heater was broken, but
he never got it fixed."
More of Steve's friends
came. All they had to eat
were cans of Slim Fast. Once
Steve cut and shaved his
friend's hair and left clumps
of greasy clippings all over
the bathroom floor.
"Whenever I wanted to use
the shower or bathroom," he

said, "I felt I had to scrub it
out with Comet."
Then came the cats. Three
of them.
"They were half-starved
most of the time," he said. "I
told him he could only keep
one."
Mr. Nabat ended up adop-
ting Steve's last remaining
cat. He named her Sasha.
"I knew I had to take care
of her when someone found
her at the Humane Society,"
he said. "She sneezed for
weeks after that."
Mr. Nabat decided to take
a chance when he went to
Florida for winter vacation.
He told Steve he had two
weeks to leave the apart-
ment.
"I took a loss," he said.
"All he had to do was leave
and I agreed to forget about
all the money he owed me.
"It was a miracle. When I
got back, he was gone. He
even locked up behind him."
Mr. Nabat said his life is
more or less back to normal.
"I should have trusted my
instincts from the beginn-

"Putting up with
roommates is a
kind of
occupational
hazard when you're
single and in school
or working."

— Pam Shecter

ing," he said. "Now I don't
think I'd live with anyone
who I didn't know or have
thoroughly checked out."
People take chances no
matter what, said Pam
Shecter, 23, of Southfield.
"Putting up with room-
mates is a kind of occupa-
tional hazard when you're
single and in school or work-
ing," Ms. Shecter said.
Ms. Shecter, who
graduated in August from
Eastern Michigan, has
decided to go it alone after
years of communal living.
"I've had roommates since
college," she said. "I even
tried sharing a house. But
when you start work, your
priorities change.
"When your roommates

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

109

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