The Paranoid and the Suicidal Drunk

It started out the second semester of my freshman year. I had just transferred from a room in the same building that had been a “temporary triple” (yeah right) for the first semester for me and two other guys. I met my new roommate, (we’ll call him Jim) but NOT my suitemate (there was only one, despite both rooms being double, and for a very good reason, as I found out).

A few weeks in, my suitemate (we’ll call him L) made his first introduction. “How?” you ask? By barging through the bathroom and promptly accusing me and my roommate of going into his room. No, we replied, we hadn’t gone into his room. (The suite is joined by a common bath, btw).

A week or two later, my roommate and I noticed the bathroom smelled like weed. We immediately reported L to the RA. Ok, she said, but she could not do anything until she had evidence (we never could get any.)

Nothing happened for a while after that. Then, another confrontation. He banged on the door, and insisted that he was there to check for listening devices, whether we wanted him to or not. Upon us physically removing him from our room and threatening to call the RA, he gave us a nasty, scrutinizing look and left.

He then began to open a vent in the wall of his room. All well and good, except the vent in question went straight through the wall and provided a clear view of half the room. He began to leave his ipod up there and blast music (probably to cover up any listening devices). I posted a paper over the vent, and my roommate and I called the RA, who went and had a talk with him. He would not however, stop, and eventually police were called to talk to him. Two detectives show up.

After speaking with him, they knocked on our door and asked to talk. My roommate had left for a class by this time, so I was alone. The detectives seemed pretty understanding, and after reassuring me that they knew it was his imaginings, left a card and told me to call if he was confrontational again. Thankfully, he never did, and left during Exam week, to my relief. However, me and Jim (my roomie), took the opportunity a few weeks before to plant fake listening devices in the vent and the bathroom lights. (We were frankly sick of him, and smashed a broken set of Delta headphones for wires and speakers and such.)

Now, you remember Jim? My roommate? He was a great guy, to be sure, but there was one incident that will stick with me forever. He did, on occasion, get drunk on weekends. One night, I was awoken by knocking on my door. I had been in REM perhaps an hour, and was VERY groggy. His friend was at the door, also a great guy. He pointed down the hall, and said “Help me get him inside, he doesn’t believe this is his room.” From Jim “HAHA that isn’t my room man…hee hee.” We get him inside, and have to persuade him NOT to go back out at one in the morning, and to get in bed. Once done, the friend takes his leave. This is at one in the morning now.

After the friend departs, I spend about an hour talking Jim into bed. He didn’t want to go to bed, and I wanted sleep. Job accomplished, I turn in as well, and eventually he subsides. (He is a very polite drunk by the way, for which I am grateful.)

Perhaps a half an hour later, I am awoken by the words “HEY MAN, they want to talk to you.” He is handing me his phone. I take it, and am greeted by a distinguished-sounding gentleman who says his name is Peter and he is with Suicide Hotline. Oh boy. He tells me that Jim has made several calls and has been considering suicide. He instructs me to contact my RA and get Jim some help. I of course agree, but as it is now 0230 of a very long Saturday night, have no intention whatsoever of doing it. I thank the gentleman, hang up, hand the phone back to Jim and tell him “SHUT UP AND GO TO BED.” Please forgive my rudeness, dear reader, but I was quite done. I shut my eyes.

Not ten minutes later, another phone call. His phone is ringing, and he sits up with a start and a bellow. I get there first. The caller? “Hello, this is O– Police and we are looking for Jim’s room. We understand there have been some calls from him to Suicide Hotline.” Wonderful. I give the room number, relay that no, there is no immediate danger to Jim, and that yes, I will be ready for a knock from BOTH the Campus PD and Residence & Housing.

Jim asks what is going on. I tell him that some people are coming to talk to him. Ever the polite drunk, he begins to tell me that he is very sorry for involving me and that he had no wish for me to be troubled. I reply that it is for his own good, and that I do harbor some caring feelings for him.

It is now 0300. PD and R&H come by. I am asked to step into the hall to discuss the situation with about SEVEN R&H staff, and he is questioned by a pair of PD. (I hear him loudly insisting that I should not be in trouble. Ever polite.) I am asked to wait in the lobby while they conduct their visit. Oh well, I think, I have a paper due in two days anyway, and I might as well get SOMETHING done. At or around 0400, the situation is resolved. The police take my roommate to a hospital for alcohol observation, the R&H write their reports, and I save my draft and finally close my eyes for a restful unconsciousness that lasts eight hours.

He did return, and we parted ways as friends a month later.
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