My palms were sweaty and Curly was busy contemplating his navel. Fat lot of good he was being. The scrawled notes I had in front of me weren’t going to help me now.
‘So what’s going on?’ asked Barry.
After two really fun years of living with a wonderful couple, they’d broken up. Then they got back together and decided they wanted the house to themselves. Immediately.
Luckily, my teammate Barry needed to move out shortly too. His mum wanted her house back after three years away and he wasn’t hanging around. He suggested I move in with him for the last two weeks at his mums.
Almost straight away a friend was leasing his house for two years. I leased it and Curly, a 19 year old student, moved into the spare room. Things couldn’t have worked out any easier.
The profile of I had of Barry was a 25 year old single fit bloke that liked cars, beer, girls and playing a bit of hockey. Curly and I, much the same. This looked like a perfect fit.
But after a few months of impromptu parties, BBQ’s, bringing girls home and watching footy it was clear that Barry wasn’t the fit at all.
Barry was a fitness nut, trying to break into our top grade side despite having no hockey talent whatsoever. He bought himself a compost bin and used it as an ice bath to aid recovery from training.
We would come home from hockey training keen to drink beer and watch The Footy Show. He would commandeer the TV (it was his) to watch coaching DVDs.
Barry said he didn’t want Curly bringing his girlfriend around to the house. He didn’t react kindly when I said that Curly could bring whomever he pleased at any time he liked.
Barry refused to kick in for the beer kitty, despite accepting our offers of a stubby.
He had to have absolute quiet in the house at his 20 minutes post waking and 20 minutes prior sleep so he could meditate. Any possible disturbances were to be removed.
The first note appeared a week in. I was being asked to enter the house through the back door when I came home from my bar shift. I pointed out to Barry that he had asked for the front room, next to the street and the door, and kindly complied.
The next week Barry asked that the television go off as he went to settle down for the night, even though the TV was at the other end of the house. Again I complied.
The real thing about Barry that made living with him hard work were all the little things. There were the derisive looks at you if you bought someone home. The tape on appliance switches he wanted permanently plugged in and on. The fact he never ever asked how you were or what you were up to.
It didn’t help that Barry had the mind of a 50 year old talkback radio shock jock. We learned quickly that Q&A and any current affairs show were off limits. A visit from my Refugee Advocate Lawyer friend did not end well.
Things started to go really pear shaped when Barry settled down with a secretary he’d met on the internet. Despite the cacophony of their all night boink-a-thons, Barry maintained that it was my post work arrivals that continued to interrupt his sleep.
After a year of this, Curly and I had made the decision. Barry had to go.
A good friend of mine was looking for digs and could move in straight away. The meeting had been called at the house. Curly clearly wanted me to do the talking.
Barry looked a bit like a hunted animal for a minute as I started to explain that we’d been living together for a year and it was time to see where everyone was at.
He must have caught the nervous lilt in my voice.
‘Before you say anything. I’ve bought a house in Woodend and I’m moving up there in a month. I hope that won’t put you out,’ he blurted out.
After the usual mumbled ‘good on you mate’, ‘sorry to see you go’ ‘won’t be the same without you’ sort of shuffling, Curly and I high-fived in the hallway.
The prospect of kicking someone out for just being themselves is daunting. Thankfully Barry had given me reprieve, I think he knew it was time to go.