We’ve all have THAT housemate. They are the one that seems to have a monopoly on eccentricity and exhibit enough bizarre behaviour to keep a legion of psychiatrists busy for years. That is part of the fun that comes from moving to the UK after all: sharing your life with people you would never ordinarily meet (and some you would normally cross the street to avoid).
I was lucky when I moved to London: I slipped straight into a lovely house in a nice neighbourhood, living with a motley crew of friends from home and people they had met through friends in London’s Australian community. We shared meals together, helped each other out and there was always a mate on hand if you ever needed to have a chat over a pint.
It wouldn’t be a London share house without one eccentric oddball though. For us, it was Mr Polish. He had a name, although it is difficult to confirm that considering he never received a single piece of mail for the entire time that I was living there. I was told about Mr Polish before I moved in: “You will barely see him around, just don’t encourage him…”
Don’t encourage him? What did that even mean? It didn’t take long to figure out. Mr Polish was the most unusual individual I have ever met. Despite living in the UK for around sixteen years, he spoke very little English. He was apparently a builder, however after weekends of heavy drinking he was known to go on a self-imposed ‘strike’ for up to two weeks. His cupboard had no food in it, and I could count on one hand the times that I actually saw him eat.
Mr Polish was a generous kind of guy, particularly when it came to alcohol. He would never take no for an answer when offering around beers, at times to the point of frustration when he would pull out a lukewarm can at nine in the morning.
I am sure there were depths to Mr Polish that could never truly be understood. Even after months of living in the same house, he had the ability to surprise: for example, there was the time he casually mentioned that he had four children that we had never heard of before. On days when he was particularly lucid (read: sober) he would tell fantastic stories about his family living through decades of war and conflict in Poland.
It is virtually inevitable that you will end up living with someone who is head-scratchingly odd. I got lucky: mine came with beer at breakfast time.
IMAGE: Napoleon Dynamite and friends, not Mr Polish. Both very cool guys, though.