To Heat or not to Heat: That is the Question, Part 2

Note: Tweets in this post were used without permission, in order to offer contextual. We are back at it again with this Twitter thread. In case you need a reminder of the original article, you can find the Twitter thread here:

(You can see all follow-up threads and comments by clicking this link and scrolling down.)

  For the TL; DR (too long, did not read) version of article one, we ended off with two roommates at a standoff. Ayanna was sick and cold and wanted the heat turned on between 72-74 degrees Fahrenheit (Celsius). Brianna did not want the heat on until it snowed, could not afford the heating bill, and wanted to get a reduction in heating costs if the apartment heat stayed on, despite having a personal heater in her room. The drama continues and starts getting uglier. 

I will start to add my comments between each tweet, for improved flow. I can definitely relate to feeling like I am in the right, and staying my opinions directly and bluntly, only to be called a bully. However, there is a very well-known quote that says, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” I think that could have helped here, but let us keep reading.  What is Good for the Goose I already discussed the tone of Ayanna’s message in the last article, so let us focus on “Heater Holly,” (our in-house nickname for our neighborhood watch representative). First of all, Brianna, it’s “your* last paragraph.” Secondly, her point was not illogical. You are being deliberately obtuse. She is saying that if she must pay extra for the additional heat that she wants, you, in the same vein, should pay extra for electricity, since you want to use up extra for the heater in your room. (Makes perfect sense to me!) She is choosing to gloss over any wrongdoing on her part in this case to simply focus on her delivery.    For the home being at 72 degrees Fahrenheit (or 22 degrees Celsius) that night, I think they are possibly both right here. Ayanna could have set the heat to 72 degrees, but I have witnessed heaters that will pass the temperature selected. That said, it is very possible that Brianna could have lied, just to build up her case.   

Tit for Tat The day that the police were called, Ayanna arrives home to temperatures at 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius). The outside temperature was 36 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celsius), but felt like 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 degrees Celsius). (For me personally, I could work with this indoor temperature, but just coming in from outside, you want to be nice and toasty.) Ayanna turns the heat back to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius). (Again, I do not think this new temperature is that hot, but I can see people of other demographics possibly being uncomfortable.) The two of them just proceed with epic childishness. Instead of speaking to each other about the use of the heater, they keep turning it on and off. As Ayanna was already using the heat at the time, and she was home alone, I believe the onus was on Heater Holly to at least ask before she turned it off. At any rate, they both could have taken the time to communicate instead of being passive-aggressive.

The Real Housewives of the Apartment Unit If you thought the temperature was hot before, it is now flaming hot cheetos scorching. In my limited experience, I have found that women, typically white women, fight with others in a more indirect, (read: passive aggressive,) kind of way. Should you, as a black woman, respond directly, you are seen as masculine and a bully. Brianna’s actions are clearly goading Ayanna. While Ayanna is responding from a rather angry and emotional place, she does attempt to conduct herself professionally. Heater Holly, on the other hand, is speaking to her roommate as if she was speaking to a juvenile, telling her that she is being childish.    While I personally can appreciate Ayanna’s commentary and moves here, it would not how us How to Win Friends and Influence People. If anything, it further escalated the situation. I will say that I appreciate Ayanna’s wisdom in documenting her conversation and determining that a third party was needed to witness verbal interactions, but she didn’t need to say all that to Brianna. No need to lay out your whole strategy.    Call the Popo I think this title needs no explanation. Let’s just read the tweets.

Ayanna had uploaded a video of one of their exchanges online. They were literally screaming at each other like cats. I only lasted about five seconds.

I am beyond confused why Brianna thought that she could call the police and get away with it. Why do you feel so comfortable wasting police resources to settle your petty disputes? Too many people have pulled the same stunt this year. I am so grateful that the police saw through the foolishness of the situation, and that Ayanna is safe.  I am equally confused as to why Ayanna thought this issue was resolved. We see no indication that they came to a compromise or any agreement. In addition, they just had a screaming match. How on earth does one go through all of that and think that things were over. I’ll let you review the resolution of the situation and audience feedback, then add my two cents. Comments From the Audience I rather enjoyed reading some of the audience’s feedback, so I thought I would include it for you, and then give my final thoughts below. 

Final Thoughts 

Well, this was quite the rollercoaster ride. I can relate, as I went through a similar experience in my first year of university. For whatever reason, the university paired me with a girl named Lisa, who was interested in stocking the fridge with beer and having her boyfriend sleep over. Neither of those values were compatible with my way of life. I got a rather creepy vibe from her boyfriend, and really didn’t want him in the space. Note that the boyfriend had his own single dorm on campus, where they could have all the sex and booze that they wanted, but it wasn’t as posh as our own. The official residence rules were that you could only have guests a limited number of times, but the rule was not enforced. (I worked for their campus security for a brief stint, so I knew the rules.) As we weren’t getting anywhere with our discussions, we got mediation from our residence life coordinator. The coordinator was really taking Lisa’s side. Lisa started to rally our floor mates to champion her cause, and I was feeling very uncomfortable. With my parents help, I contacted someone in the residence services department, and they moved me to a different dorm building without a roommate. 

(If you have a sensitive stomach or are eating, please skip this paragraph.) What is my advice for Ayanna? Get out of there. According to the rest of her tweets, she now has a lease that lasts until August 2020, with a denied restraining order, no financial means to move, plus a domestic violence call against her. She now has to spend the rest of the next year living with someone who has proven that they will go the distance in making her life miserable. Brianna has already shown that she is willing to lie, cheat and steal to get her own way. At the very least, she could continue to call the cops and make your life miserable. At the worst, things could become even more sinister. That last picture really triggered a memory for me. In 2017, a Brianna Brochu did not like her roommate, Jazzy Rowes, who of Jamaican descent.  She did all sorts of atrocious things to try to get the “Jamaican Barbie” to leave, like spitting in her coconut oil, putting mouldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons on her backpack, and sticking her toothbrush where the sun does not shine. I wish I were kidding. (I think there needs to be a stereotype about white girls named Brianna. They are wild out in these streets!) You never know how crazy these people are, until you push them to their limit. 

To me, there is no repairing of this relationship. Just dust off your shoes and move on. This Brianna already seems like she will die on this hill, and she’ll drag anyone with her. In the future, I would recommend playing nice, flowing with the program until you can move quickly and quietly. Don’t tell her until you have to. Work with your landlord and research any local laws, so you know your rights. I wouldn’t even necessarily bother following  up with the police report, unless you save money for a lawyer. Instead, use your money to move out ASAP. Start a Gofundme campaign. Before you move in with someone else, make sure you know more about their quirks and habits, and decide if it is something you can live with. 

Note: Since I wrote this post back in November, Christelyn has created an amazing course on Relational Aggression. As black women, we are often taught to be very blunt and direct in our communications, which Ayanna tried to employ here. However, Brianna has been taught to communiate and express herself in a different way, one that helps her to apply a more long game strategy. Find out more about how ladies of other groups communite differently, how to speak their language and play the long game. Check out the Relational Aggression Course today!

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