I love meeting new people, hearing about their lives, lessons they've learned, places they've travelled, etc. Not only does it add to my catalogue of characters, but also it allows me to see how other people deal with their lives and perhaps give me an alternative perspective on my own. Or in this case, how they avoid dealing with their lives.
For those of you who didn't know, I was living, or rather dying a slow and painful death, in the weirdest, most disgusting house I have ever been in. If you remember, I was cast only 4 days before I was required on set for the show. This gave me very little time to find an adequate, and within my budget, place to live.
I had to settle with the first option that Kijiji offered me, and settle I did.
I began living with an elderly gentleman, whose wife died about 4 years ago, and a boarder who was essentially the blond version of Lurch from The Addams Family. The wife had clearly been responsible for maintaining the house; I honestly don't think anything has been moved since her death, except for the gym equipment into the living room and the spices from the cupboards onto the deck...
Now when I decided (had no choice) to move into this place, I thought, "This will be an adventure!" I gave the residents, of this rather sad home, the benefit of the doubt and thought, "We will become best friends by cleaning the house together!"
Well, I had been there for almost 2 months and neither the older man nor the roommate made any attempt to get to know me, or show any interest in speaking to me about their lives. Instead, they griped about me using the toilet paper or forgetting my keys. One day I was denied entrance into the house until I promised to not forget them ever again.
Now, from these pictures, I want you to visualize what the rest of the house looked like.
Got an image? Now picture 3 times worse.
Essentially, I managed to touch as little as possible by not leaving my room or cooking anything. I was afraid I might contract some disease from an unmoved towel, or the hair covered utensils.
I won't even get into the bug situation.
Interestingly enough, Lurch's room was meticulous. Like, serial killer clean. The strangest part of his room was that he kept 3 pictures of people (probably victims), in frames on his bed. Not on his dresser, but sitting ON HIS BED! He didn't work, had barely any belongings and just watched TV endlessly. Occasionally he would walk the older man's ancient dog, clearly blind, due to it's massive cataracts, and for some reason always looked wet.
Did I mention that there was a deep pit in the back yard...?
This setting for Stephen King's newest novel was where I spent my downtime: close to the set, in a town 60km outside of Vancouver and a 15 minute drive away from people who knew how to engage with one another. I had no car, and it took about 2 hours to bus into the city. I started to go insane, especially on my days off. The older man was always working on something late into the night, other than cleaning his house or getting rid of the copious amount of junk. He consistently found something to complain about, whether it was the 8 vehicles sitting in his driveway that no longer worked...
Or the perpetually drenched dog's endless whining. Basically, it was awful and I regret not moving out sooner, it was nothing short of an irritating and disgusting experience. It wasn't until last week that I realized how much this space was affecting my psyche. It was deeply effecting my work and diet, or lack thereof, while making me dread coming "home" after shooting.
With any job, one needs a place of refuge, where one can unwind, relax and prepare for the next day. Living here, in this pre-Hoarder candidate's home, I was walking on egg shells, literally and figuratively, while trying not to use the toilet paper excessively for fear of dirty looks and unnecessary aggression over needing to wipe my butt. Needless to say, I finally moved out. I'm now staying with a lovely family who is clean, wholesome, normal and made me steak on my first night with them; substantially better, and much healthier for my mind.
As Darren Hardy says, "Garbage in, garbage out."
I'm learning to take responsibility for my needs: what I need in order for me to do the best job I can. To bring the best version of myself to set. To fuel my body the way it deserves. This experience has taught me to put my well being first, an obvious one, but in the process of me not wanting to cause preemptive waves I sacrificed my health. Something that should never be on the sacrificial slab.