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Evicted for smelling bad
November 8, 2012 8:12 PM   Subscribe

"It seeped through the walls. It wafted up stairwells and elevator shafts. It was so bad, it rendered the other units on Nowell's floor unrentable. It was so bad, it made people dry-heave as they walked down the hallway. It was so bad, it caused the inspectors who examined Nowell's unit to gag and tear up. It was so bad, it attracted vermin. It was suffocating, overpowering, disgusting, distressing. It smelled like sour milk. Like diarrhea. Like mold." [The Man Who Smelled Too Much]
posted by vidur (87 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy crap, this guy is fucking Bartleby!
posted by Afroblanco at 8:22 PM on November 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


The most amazing part of this story is that there was ever, within the last 20 years, a Spring Street loft available for $1,495 a month.
posted by elizardbits at 8:24 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


oh, LA.
posted by elizardbits at 8:26 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can both believe that his neighbors were douchey and that it is pretty gross never to change your clothes. Long term untreated mental illness is going to burn up this guys's windfall and put him back on the street. That's the saddest bit actually.
posted by emjaybee at 8:30 PM on November 8, 2012 [31 favorites]


Long term untreated mental illness is going to burn up this guys's windfall and put him back on the street. That's the saddest bit actually.

No shit! I thought this was the saddest part :

By that time, they agreed, he'd be wearing shoes. But Nowell knew in his heart he wasn't going to do it. Instead, he started calling attorneys.

It's like, this guy is never going to see anything like that kind of money again, and he's spending it on lawyers? Even if his neighbors hadn't given him trouble, a luxury apartment is a sad waste of money for this guy. In a more-just world, where the mentally ill actually get the help they need, there would be some kind of caretaker who could prevent him from blowing the only real money he might ever see.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:38 PM on November 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


This is so sad. He's been wronged, and but he also needs help. That transition must be so hard.
posted by arcticseal at 8:39 PM on November 8, 2012


My neighborhood and yes, the smell was very, very, very strong.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:43 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's a sad story.

Yes, seems like a mental illness issue, plain and simple. I'm sure the neighbors are douchey, yet I think it's fair, in a shared building, to be able to set parameters - just as you can't play your music all night, it seems reasonable for other sensory intrusions to be contained.

This is one of those stories; I just don't know what the proper fix would be. He had allies, but couldn't accept their help. What would/could make a difference?
posted by Miko at 8:47 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe I missed it in the story, but does anyone know why the harassment by the police and forced hospital trip weren't brought up in trial? Maybe the defense lacked evidence that the police were called by the management agency. That, to me, was the worst part of the whole situation. I've been around plenty of people who smell to high heaven but it's hardly an indicator of mental illness. Take the late Steve Jobs, for instance.
posted by sbutler at 8:56 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is so sad. One of my roommates was a social worker before she went to grad school, and she told me a story about a family of hers, mom and three kids, who had been scrabblingly, painfully, dysfunctionally poor, and got some kind of settlement, similar to William. My roommate helped them move into a little post-war ranch house in a working-class suburb, the first real home they'd ever had. Social workers being short-staffed, that was, she thought, the end of their story with her. But some months later she started getting calls, from the kids' school, because clothing was an issue. She went to the house, and the floors were just COVERED in clothes, a foot deep.

It turned out that the mother had been so poor her whole life she'd rarely had more than a few pieces of clothing, and never a washing machine, and rarely money for the laundromat, so she didn't really know how to do laundry. Now they had money, so they'd just go buy clothes and wear them until they got tired of them. The kids kept clothes they liked in their dressers, dropped clothes they didn't on the floors, and routinely pulled old things back out of the floor layer. But nothing ever got washed and of course everything was wrinkled and some of it (especially the youngest child's) was stained. They all bathed and took care of themselves, but just NO IDEA how to do laundry.

My roommate worked with them on and off for a couple of years, because the kids really had a hard time adjusting to a middle-class school setting, and the mother just had no experience with the little rituals of middle-class life and, as an adult who had managed to raise and protect three children in a desperately difficult situation for years on end with hardly any help, wasn't all that amenable to being told "here is how you do laundry, here is how you cook dinner, here is how you mow the lawn." It was sad because they were so alienated and miserable in their new, safe community.

There's no ending to the story; my roommate left social work partly because of cases like that, where someone should have intervened 25 years ago and not let crushing poverty harm multiple generations, and it started wearing her out. Anyway, the family moved on to a new social worker when my roommate left.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:58 PM on November 8, 2012 [35 favorites]


I've been around plenty of people who smell to high heaven but it's hardly an indicator of mental illness.

The smell wasn't the indicator.
posted by Miko at 9:01 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


just as you can't play your music all night, it seems reasonable for other sensory intrusions to be contained.

The article seems to indicate that they were:
At trial, Nowell's attorney, Leonard Friedman, brought in a private investigator, an ex-cop, who said that he smelled no noxious odors. He brought in an HVAC contractor to testify about the lack of ventilation in the hallways. Lacking ventilation, how could smells from the fourth floor travel up to the 10th?
And:
Andrist entered Nowell's loft and smelled the overpowering stench of ... nothing.

It was, Andrist says, a tad airless, like an attic that's been closed up. "But it did not have any kind of a repulsive smell in the least."

There were the futon, the 125 plastic bags, the vitamin bottles piled on the kitchen counter. "But it was all neat and orderly."

Out in the hallway, normal apartment smells prevailed — a trash chute that management testified didn't reek but did, a Mediterranean cooking funk that Andrist got down on his hands and knees to sniff. But it wasn't coming from Nowell's unit. Then, the perfumey aroma of air fresheners in a cornucopia of flavors: Brunette, the next-door neighbor, had stuck them everywhere. Five on the door, a dozen more along the floor and dangling from the ceiling. "It was absolutely ridiculous," Andrist says.
Nowell clearly has some issues and could probably benefit from treatment and a dose of knowing when to pick your battles. But it sounds like the charges that were used to evict him were false and he was not a significant problem for his neighbors.
posted by weston at 9:02 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I read it too. There were an equal number of people who said he did. The jury, for instance. And why would the real estate salesperson try to give him hygeine supplies?

I've been through some tenant disputes about decibel levels. THat's hard enough to prove. We've got no way to measure smell, making the whole thing subjective. Some people aren't very sensitive to smell. I can walk into a room and tell you whether there is a banana in it somewhere. We're not going to be able to arrive at a definitive statement of the level of smell by reading this story, but because all this happened, it's safe to assume that at least some of the time it was not nothing, and not neutral.

Was some of it also probably harassment because of his appearance or former homelessness? Probably yes. Does he seem to have some other chronic issues? Yes.
posted by Miko at 9:08 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The landlord has a reputation for badly maintained buildings and poor treatment of tenants. Interesting taste in art, though.
posted by Scram at 9:12 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The smell wasn't the indicator.

What is? Seriously, not being snarky, I just don't get it.

The only thing I saw in the article that raised a suspicion was the (unsubstantiated) claim that he stands in the hallway staring at the wall for hours. I didn't give much weight to that claim. He doesn't seem like a hoarder, and no one said so. He doesn't seem obsessive compulsive. Even his enemies say he's well spoken, so it's not an inability to interact personally. He's a loaner, but nothing wrong with that. He's not big on personal grooming, but so what?

He doesn't like to bathe and he smells, but I don't think that's committable.

Maybe I missed a huge part of the article, but I don't know why people think he's mentally ill. Or at least, mentally ill to the point where the police can burst into his apartment and force him into the hospital.
posted by sbutler at 9:14 PM on November 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's a strange article. I feel like the guy had every right to stand up to live life in the style he wished.

Plenty of people are offensive with their stench on a regular basis, but because that stench comes out of a bottle that costs $100, it's socially acceptable.

Likewise, plenty of people could be considered offensive with the way they dress and look. But because they don't dare to step out of their social class zone, they are never questioned.

The way the story is told, the man does have some body odor. But apparently those living near him engaged in a conspiracy of lies in order to drive him out.

I don't think I can call him mentally ill based on what I've read here. He certainly doesn't conform to societal norms, but that's not a blanket diagnostic indicator of mental illness. He had lived through quite a long time of difficult circumstances and wasn't able to immediately make the leap into another lifestyle. But again, that is not an indicator of mental illness. And his stubbornness in the face of intrusion into his personal space and insistence on conformity... that also is not mental illness.

I think this probably could have been handled better on ALL sides, except for maybe his lawyer, who did everything possible to prove his client was not the monster his neighbors were claiming him to be. But stubbornness on Norwell's part plus collusion on behalf of his neighbors -- these are both things which would be different in an ideal world.
posted by hippybear at 9:16 PM on November 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


The ousted-for-bad-smell-lying-neighbor aspect aside, I guess I'm mostly sad that the thing this guy really wanted - a safe, quiet place away from the street, turned out to be just another hustle. It was just going to take him a lot longer to figure out how to be there than he, or his landlord, expected, and the only person on his side was being paid.

It reminds me of this older veteran I knew in southern Oregon that had been living for a few years in the field next to a Walmart where a lot of the local homeless camped. He ran into some money, and went from making enough to eat each month from a disability check to making $4000/month. His social worker (who I later found out was a friend of mine) helped him get into a house with all the fixings for a new life, but he wouldn't stay in the house, instead setting up camp in the back yard. Strange, but I'm sure this kind of transition is usually a slow process.
posted by klausman at 9:42 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ideefixe, do you live in that building?
posted by klausman at 9:44 PM on November 8, 2012


So, this guy smelled so bad that they had a big court battle to kick him out... but it turns out he didn't really smell bad? Did all the tenants have a secret meeting where they decided to get him kicked out, and they all agreed on "stank"? Could this one guy just not smell it? Is he crazy, or just a huge pain in the ass?

I feel like there are pieces missing from this story.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:46 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess I'm mostly sad that the thing this guy really wanted - a safe, quiet place away from the street, turned out to be just another hustle.

Really. Nowell strikes me as being a bit like the guy who lived here for a while; I wish Nowell were able to rent a little place like that with a nice fat cushion of air and distance between him and the crushing weight of social convention. He seems to have survived passably for a long time in very difficult circumstances -- probably aided by the Homelessness Invisibility Cloak, but god help you when you fall into the clutches of the Neighborhood Association.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:53 PM on November 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Plenty of people are offensive with their stench on a regular basis, but because that stench comes out of a bottle that costs $100, it's socially acceptable.

I once lived in graduate student housing on the same floor as a couple where the wife both did not wash and also hoarded, often dragging home rotten food from dumpsters. I'm not crazy about people dousing themselves in expensive scents, but I've never encountered one that stunk as badly as their apartment, and, god, did that smell travel. So, while I have immense sympathy for this guy, I also have a certain amount of sympathy for his neighbours if the stories of the smell are true.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:04 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I feel like there are pieces missing from this story.
Yeah, this whole thing struck me as really bizarre. There just seem to be so many pieces that don't add up.
posted by bookman117 at 10:06 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I once lived in graduate student housing on the same floor as a couple where the wife both did not wash and also hoarded, often dragging home rotten food from dumpsters.

There is no mention of hoarding rotten food anyplace in this article.
posted by hippybear at 10:10 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm surprised no one else has mentioned this in the comments, but I kept wondering while reading this why he didn't simply clean up. I mean he is spending thousands of dollars on a luxury apartment, new computer, expensive software, sheets and linens, but he can't be bothered to buy new pants, shoes or properly bathe?

At one point in the article he claims that he has an unspecified medical condition that makes it difficult for him to immerse himself in water, yet when he first arrives at the apartment he says he took a bath for several hours. He also changes his story many times for why bathing is a problem for him. I got the sense he was just defiantly deciding not to clean himself and making excuses for his behavior. I'm sure mental illness played a role in this. He reminds me of very depressed people I've encountered who will refuse to take care of themselves in basic ways (hygiene for example) and get very defensive when others try to help or intervene. It's both sad and frustrating to witness.
posted by timsneezed at 10:16 PM on November 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


There is no mention of hoarding rotten food anyplace in this article.

I'm not saying there is. My point was just that, yes, when people scent themselves up it can be horrid, but it's not comparable to some other stenches that people can produce.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:17 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or, I should say, not to me - others may differ. The whole story though just seemed to make enormous leaps all over the place, like huge chunks of the story on both sides were missing.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:21 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be surprised if rotten food was actually the culprit though. In my experience, rotting food is one of the few things that actually can generate the kind of smell alluded to here. I have been around some smelly people, and lived in some rough places, and I've never encountered anyone who could generate a smell that "seeped through walls" and offended neighbors. Only ever with food that is decomposing. As to why he didn't "just clean up", you might as well ask some who is obese why they don't just lose a few pounds, or an addict why they don't just quit.
posted by sophist at 10:21 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Poor man. It's a shame he wasted his money on the lease, and it sounds like the management treated him horribly. I wish there had been someone in his life to help him find a place that would have worked for him.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:24 PM on November 8, 2012


I kept wondering while reading this why he didn't simply clean up.

One thing that did come through to me from the article, crystal clear, is that he's stuborn-as-fuck. He does what he wants, when he wants, because he wants to. He's not going to do it for anyone else.

He buys new sheets, but doesn't use them. He buys new pants, but won't wear them at his trial to please his lawyer/jury. He won't cut his hair to help win his case.

From the start he was pushed to clean up, and I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't just to prove a point.
posted by sbutler at 10:25 PM on November 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


What I got from the article is that the hair and the clothes became his safety blankets and he found it really, really hard to give them up for a number of reasons, even though he knew it was a problem for him. This is why I think this isn't schizophrenia or something like that but more like PTSD from living on the streets.

1. As someone who became homeless late in life he probably had to do a lot of mental work to be at peace with this new identity in order to not be too miserable to live. Embracing the idea of smelling bad and not being able to wash or wear clean clothes was a big part of that. So now this is my identity, this is who I am.
After years and years, you become accustomed to something, Nowell explains. "Eric said, 'It's just hair.' But it's not. You wouldn't say, 'It's just a yarmulke.' It's like I'm stuck with this," he says, grabbing his filthy sweatshirt in genuine anguish. "It's difficult to shake. It's become an identity. I know it works against me."

2. A sense of needing protecting his identity from attack. These people have decided that my identity is unsuitable. Who are they to decide that? Who are they to tell me who to be?

I get it. Before I read the article, I was thinking, well, I have a right to exist peacefully in my apartment without being attacked by your smells. But there was no smell. This whole thing reminded me of the Salem Witch Trials. An unmeditated group hallucination to pursue a group goal, which is removing problematic members of the group.
posted by bleep at 10:25 PM on November 8, 2012 [16 favorites]


I'm kind of glad he's back to living in cheap motels, if that's where he feels comfortable. That money needs to last the rest of his life.
posted by bleep at 10:27 PM on November 8, 2012


I lived across the hall from someone who had serious kidney issues and diabetes, and the front room of my apartment (the room that shared a hallway with the front room of his apartment) always smelled like a combination of nail polish and past-its-sell-date hamburger. It was pretty tough to be in that room unless the windows were open.

My neighbor was an older man who always looked squeaky clean (probably with the help of his wife, who was a saint) and was a pleasant, friendly guy, but he smelled horrible, to the point where it would often give me a headache.

If Mr. Nowell had issues like my neighbor's, and combined that with aversion to bathing, showering, and washing his clothes, I can sympathize with his neighbor. The management company sound like they were horribly disrespectful and abusive, though.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:32 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I, for one, am a little amazed that folks in this thread are able to diagnose this person with a mental illness. Principle indicators are not presented, and that's not really how it works. He appears to be a man who lived on the streets for too long, which does make it hard to follow typical hygiene habits, and happens to live under a lot of stress, even after signing his lease.

But, then again, when has Metafilter had a lack of armchair psychiatrists?
posted by captainsohler at 10:33 PM on November 8, 2012


Regarding the safety blankets thing - yeah, that's what it sounded like to me. And add to that the fact that previously he'd been living on the streets: that's a completely different situation and it'd only be natural if his approach to living was street-adjusted and hadn't caught up to his new circumstances. Living somewhere secure, the priority is to get on with your neighbours because you can't just pick up and go if you conflict with them. Living on the streets, it seems more likely that the priority is to protect yourself from other people and create some kind of comfort zone in your own head.

Which would mean that he'd moved from a situation where the survival strategy is to refer only to yourself into a situation where the strategy is to accommodate yourself to other people. A lot of the things he said sounded as if on some level he just didn't get how to live around other people - but then, that's hardly surprising. At the very least, he needed some time to relearn; it's impossible to say how willing he would have been to try it if the situation hadn't escalated so fast.

I do sympathise with not wanting to live around someone stinky, of course. I mean, I had a stinky housemate once - nothing outre, the guy just smelled bad - and it was a serious quality of life issue. But it sounds like it was the kind of situation that ordinary housing rules and customs just aren't prepared to deal with, because they're set up for people who share some basic assumptions that he just didn't have.
posted by Kit W at 10:38 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


bleep, it seems pretty clear from the article that the jury noticed that Mr. Nowell smelled strongly at the trial--it was the smell of the apartment and of his belongings that the foreman thought had been misrepresented.

People definitely have a tendency to extrapolate phantom smells. My guess is that the neighbor found Mr. Nowell's personal smell unpleasant, and that he fixated on it to the point where he was convinced he was smelling it in his apartment, and then other people convinced themselves of the same, and the management company seized the opportunity to get rid of someone they saw as an undesirable tenant, and were ruthless and perhaps mendacious in the process.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:39 PM on November 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


I don't doubt he didn't personally smell bad. I just meant the building-encompassing smell. What you said is what i meant to say, Sidhedevil (as per usual haha).
posted by bleep at 10:41 PM on November 8, 2012


I'm not diagnosing anybody with anything. But if the thought of changing clothes or grooming yourself fills you with enough genuine mental anguish to the point that rather than put on the pair of pants you just bought, you get evicted and lose most of your life's earnings in the process, I'm not sure that's a particularly healthy state to be in.

The human mind is a powerful thing, both in Nowell's case and his neighbours; I wouldn't be surprised if some of the smell was amplified in the minds of his neighbours, as Sidhedevil said more eloquently than me on preview.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:44 PM on November 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


I've seen this man many, many times over the years on the streets of LA and I too suspect there's a component of this story that's not being reported. I'm fairly certain this is not Mr. Nowell's first run-in with the law over refusal to vacate. The previous incident would have been during a Skid Row cleanup.

If this is the same man (and he's certainly memorable) he was a pretty vocal and articulate activist downtown about 10 years ago when the "soft loft" gentrification sort of revved up a notch. I kind of wonder if this wasn't a bigger political statement on his part. Which is not to say that he's not entitled to do whatever he pleases with his money.
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 10:52 PM on November 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, it's him. And damned if it wasn't in the LA Weekly...Twice! Do they simply not check their own archives these days? That's rhetorical, the Weekly has largely turned to shit.
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 10:59 PM on November 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


I knew a guy who lived in the middle of a putrid stench cloud that was about 10 feet in radius. It would even precede him, but with some compression of the cloud. It was like a BO Doppler effect.
posted by troll at 11:48 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I too felt there were pieces missing, and Nowell himself didn't seem like a very reliable source of information. As others pointed out, he seemed to shift his reasons for doing what he did.

I don't buy that there was simply no smell, though. Again, as others pointed out, there are multiple independent reports of the smell. Not a group hallucination. It's kind of a convoluted explanation for a guy coming off the streets and with admittedly almost no cleanliness habits at all. He smelled terrible, that's not such a stretch.

As far as the mental illness thing, I got the feeling there is a lot unsaid here. I worked with many mentally ill and smart and articulate is as common among that population as it is among the the rest. A smart and articulate guy with serious delusions or a personality disorder is no less one because of the other.

Moving into a shared living situation involves giving up some of your rights to do whatever you want. Where your life overlaps with others, you have to make concessions. Loud music, for instance — I love loud music now and then, but I can't do it all the time, and not so loud that it bothers people in adjacent units or across the street. If doing that is very important to me, I find a venue where I can do it, and that isn't a 15-unit brick apartment unit in the city. It's a similar thing with the smell. It may be a lifestyle choice, and it's not for us to say "hey your way of life is incorrect." But if he is sharing space with people and all those people are complaining, he can either fix it or leave. That is the actual bargain you make when you have a shared living space. The smell is awful, so he squirted shampoo on the books and on the threshold? No. That is not the act of a rational person or a person interested in the shifting compromise we call society.

I sympathize in some ways, but this guy was as much a victim of himself as he was of others.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:54 PM on November 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't know why people are saying smell is subjective. Either the guy stank out the place or he didn't.

I have this problem building up in my block with an elderly neighbour, the problem being a urine smell. Not subjective, not mental illness, just a bad smell of old piss from bags full of incontinence pads.
posted by colie at 12:06 AM on November 9, 2012


Hmm... that he has a history of fighting gentrification adds a whole new dimension to this story. Certainly explains why he might have chosen a luxury loft instead of something more affordable and practical.
posted by sbutler at 12:12 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have a friend who's stubborn just like this. He's been in jail for almost a year now - for endlessly harassing various people while, he believes, staying within the boundaries of the law.

It's clear that he's been punished for tiny things that normally would warrant a caution because he's a shit disturber. It is a misuse of the law BUT he sets out to do it, sets out to put himself in a position where "his rights are being infringed on".

It's pathetic. He's a bright guy but endlessly spends his time finding windmills to tilt against. What a waste...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:40 AM on November 9, 2012


Let me just say that I had a pair of pants I wore while fishing. Didn't get much fish smell on them really, but they got a little salt water on them.

They sat on the floor for a while in the bedroom, being walked on.

Had some sudden errands to run today and threw on the pants because everything else was in the wash (dryer is broken).

They reeked. This is just a couple of days, accelerated obviously by the salt water and being walked on, but still. It gagged me it was so bad.

So suffice to say I do not believe that this man, who does not bathe and rarely washes his clothes, and never changes them, did not smell. It's just not possible.
posted by Malice at 12:43 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel like the guy had every right to stand up to live life in the style he wished.

You know, I'm somebody who generally supports any liberation movement, as long as the people being 'liberated' aren't hurting anyone. But I gotta say, "right to stink" is just not a cause I can get behind. If such a movement existed and succeeded, it would not make the world a better place.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:49 AM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


It sounds like he is mentally ill enough to be afraid of water, or cleaning, and smart enough to be able to give a string of reasons why he won't wash.

I worked in a detention center once and one of the detainees was smart, cogent and confident. He also believed water was the work of the devil. Which meant he didn't wash or brush his teeth for at least several months, and possibly years. He also lived on a diet of milk only. He had a forcefield of odour around him, and I say that as the guy who worked as a binman and cleaning industrial ink off printing rags the same summer. It was repellent.

But this guy didn't smell so bad he was housed separately. You didn't smell his presence at 20 paces. So I don't buy the whole "I smelt him 3 flights away" story. They just don't want a homed homeless guy in their block. End of.

The sad bit is that having all that money but being mentally ill enough not to be able to use it to help yourself. Paying lawyers to fight for your right to go shoeless is a rich man's folly. He buys a macbook as a means to work, but won't wash himself or his clothes. Untreated, this guy is back on the street, penniless, within five years.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:42 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


In Leith (Edinburgh) there is a homeless black guy who has been on the streets forever. From the state of his hair I would say he washes very infrequently (probably goes into a shelter once a year when it gets really cold). I could believe he has not washed his extremely long hair in years. I have been very near to this man on many occasions, including on a hot sunny day recently, and he does not smell much at all, and certainly less then other homeless people. My guess is that Nowell is setting out to be smelly.
posted by epo at 2:15 AM on November 9, 2012


Wow. Less than a quarter of the original $200,000 left, spent $30k on the lawyer, and staying in a motel that actually costs more than the loft did, while the property management tries to recoup their legal costs from him. Fascinating, and sad.
posted by malapropist at 3:06 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"...his clothing, his bathroom towels, his curtains, his velvet room divider."
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:21 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Something about this article... it kinda stinks.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:43 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Body odor certainly can be an issue: I remember a visiting academic in my department who I could tell if he was in the building from down the corridor because he stank so badly. I could well imagine that being exposed to that kind of odor day after day would be a real trial & would certainly ruin any 'quiet enjoyment' of a flat in a shared building. At the same time, the smell would come and go: some days he could be in his office and I could walk past and not smell anything unless I actually went past his door & it happened to be open and even then the smell would be simply be 'there' and not overpowering. On other days though, it would make me gag just to walk down the corridor.

So I personally don't find this story completely implausible, even if it is equally likely that the poor guy was pushed out by his neighbours for other reasons.
posted by pharm at 3:55 AM on November 9, 2012


I knew a guy who lived in the middle of a putrid stench cloud that was about 10 feet in radius. It would even precede him, but with some compression of the cloud. It was like a BO Doppler effect.

Was he also known for phrases like "Bugrit!" and "Millennium Hand and Shrimp" ?
posted by Pendragon at 4:07 AM on November 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


An inability to understand that simply washing yourself and wearing clothes is cheaper and less troublesome than going to court risking the loss of your home does suggest mental issues. Otherwise why not move someplace more isolated voluntarilly, if you are merely stubborn or holding to an ideal? Stubbornness is one thing, self destructive stubbornness entirely another. Doesn't make him psychotic or dangerous, merely lost and in need of better choices sooner than he got them.
posted by emjaybee at 4:56 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"After years and years, you become accustomed to something, Nowell explains. "Eric said, 'It's just hair.' But it's not. You wouldn't say, 'It's just a yarmulke.' It's like I'm stuck with this," he says, grabbing his filthy sweatshirt in genuine anguish. "It's difficult to shake. It's become an identity. I know it works against me."

Where's Queer Eye when you really need them?!
posted by markkraft at 5:32 AM on November 9, 2012


"Laws" are a relatively recent invention in human society, and it's unwise to place too much reliance on them to protect personal rights. Ultimately, the truth is that if you want to live in society, there are limits to how much you can intrude on other people's happiness: if you piss off too many people, they'll band together in an angry mob and destroy you. Our legal system simply conceals the torches and pitchforks with a veneer of gentility.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 5:33 AM on November 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Given that this story is all taking place in Los Angeles, it should be said:
What this guy needs isn't just some kind of caretaker. He needs an agent and a good entertainment attorney.

So... Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges, or Robin Williams?!
posted by markkraft at 5:44 AM on November 9, 2012


He should have rented in the outer burbs in a detached house.
posted by zog at 5:48 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


An inability to understand that simply washing yourself and wearing clothes is cheaper and less troublesome than going to court risking the loss of your home does suggest mental issues.

My read of the article was that he understood this just fine, and had made plans and a start at washing, getting new clothes, washing the clothes, etc. before his landlords and neighbors (and cops, fer gosh sake!) started harassing him; but that after years and years of being shit on by society in general, the self-respect that he gained by not capitulating when they went all poor-bashing on him was more important to him than the apartment. (I.e., what sbutler said.) You could just as well say that not speaking up and going along with Jim Crow laws was clearly less troublesome than sitting in at a lunch counter, and an inability to understand that suggested mental issues. I respectfully disagree.

I realize that the connection between these two scenarios feels like a stretch to many people. Everyone knows that Jim Crow is wrong. But classism, like all forms of oppression, is structured so that those with a privileged status within an oppressive system can easily ignore or remain ignorant of the structures and the results of oppression. Poverty is kind of invisible from above. If you haven't spent time around people who are in Nowell's position, it can be really hard to appreciate just how much discrimination, bigotry, and disparagement they receive on a daily basis, and how wearing that is on the psyche.

(And how it comes to color one's interpretations and expectations of others' behavior, which can make the reactions of someone in that position seem extreme to people who aren't there. Humans are very good at finding patterns in things, though, and we create mental models of how the world, including society and other humans, works. All of our reactions are filtered through the lens of the personal understandings that we form of how the world around us works, which is based on the sum total of our experiences. So it shouldn't be too surprising that people who have very different experiences from us react to social cues very differently. That doesn't necessarily make them mentally ill. Unless we're working with different definitions of what mental illness is, I suppose. If you define "mentally healthy" to be reacting to situations that are common to middle class life in certain ways, and "mentally ill" to be reacting in ways that are far outside the norm (historical definitions of mental illness seem to go along these lines), then I'll grant your point, though I would quibble with such a definition.)

It's entirely possible that Nowell did have an offensive odor. The two people I've met who had such a disagreeable odor emanating from them that it made it uncomfortable for me to be nearby both smoked in addition to seeming to have not great personal hygiene (neither were poor or homeless, on a side note). I'm sure everyone has different odors that particularly bug them. However, it sounds from the article that the neighbors and landlords (a) addressed this perhaps originally relatively minor issue in an extremely patronizing and bigoted way, and (b) used this originally relatively minor issue as a cover for some pretty nasty, classist behavior, just because they were uncomfortable with Nowell's socioeconomic status irrespective of his odor.
posted by eviemath at 6:10 AM on November 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


In Leith (Edinburgh) there is a homeless black guy who has been on the streets forever. From the state of his hair I would say he washes very infrequently (probably goes into a shelter once a year when it gets really cold).

I know exactly who you mean and I haven't lived in Edinburgh since the early 1990s.
posted by cincinnatus c at 6:45 AM on November 9, 2012


I've never encountered anyone who could generate a smell that "seeped through walls" and offended neighbors

Not only have I met people who smelled this bad; but I worked with one for years. A co-worker who I will not describe had the most HORRID Body Odor imaginable; they smelled like poop wrapped in older, smellier poop all the time, as if they never bathed ever. I never mentioned it too them, but at the same time I found I had to be upwind of them all the time. I'm glad we didn't work in the same departments, I think I would have had to cut off my nose.

and

More than once in Walmart (isn't it always) I was thrown back by a persons smell that was so intense my eyes watered and I had to leave the area, in a super walmart. Once the locus of the smell was clear, it was obvious a person was making it and the smell lingered in the store for ages. As in; I left the store, came back later and the smell was still there.

Rare cases; yes, but there are humans who produce really horrible odors. I suspect in these cases they were people who were actually rotting in places due to necrotic tissue (trapped in fat folds, etc)
posted by NiteMayr at 6:57 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know what I think about this case in particular, although I'm never surprised when people are terrible to the homeless and mentally ill. But I am weirded out by the belief that no one could possibly smell this bad. They definitely can, and I don't think people are complete jerks if they don't want to be around people who truly stink. It can become a form of mental torture after a while.

When I was briefly in grad school at NC State, there was a guy who would show up at the DH Hill Library and just destroy the place with his odor. He wasn't a student, he didn't look remarkably different from anyone else, he seemed like a harmless person, and I did feel bad for him. But I honestly came to despise his presence. The smell was overwhelmingly, godawful, indescribable, and permeating. It filled entire sections of the library. It was the kind of smell that made you involuntarily dry-heave if you got even a middling whiff of it. I despise heavy perfumes, but give me that artificial horror any day over what that guy smelled like.

Whenever I showed up at the library and he in the section I needed to use, I knew I'd have to spend the whole study session trying to avoid him well enough that I didn't gag. The computer and chair he used would stink after he left. Other students went to a lot of trouble to avoid him, even if it meant there were unused computer stations in a wide berth around him, and a bunch of students crammed into the remaining stations on the edges. I don't think we were all jerks, either. If the guy smelled so bad he could induce nausea just by being around him, you can't blame everyone else in the library for wanting to get away from him.

Additionally, I have a friend or two who struggle with severe body odor issues, despite regular showers. At least one of them was running the risk of losing their job due to the smell, because coworkers couldn't cope with being around them. It takes days to air out their smell after they have visited your house. Longer if they slept over. Even longer if they left a towel in the bathroom for a while. If someone can cause cause that much smell to linger in the environment after just a day or two, then how bad can the smell get in the places they live?

I have sympathy for people with horrible body odor problems. But I'm not sure I agree that they have the right to expect other people to tolerate those issues.
posted by Coatlicue at 7:06 AM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I suspect in these cases they were people who were actually rotting in places due to necrotic tissue (trapped in fat folds, etc)

I remember a case on one of those "street doctor" programs on the BBC a year or two ago, where a guy came in and his armpit and a large area around was absolutely raw: it was some deep seated bacterial infection. They ended up having to carry out a skin transplant to clear it up IIRC, which shows how serious it was. He was otherwise a perfectly normal guy: he was just too embarrassed about his skin problem to actually go to his GP.
posted by pharm at 7:11 AM on November 9, 2012


Not only have I met people who smelled this bad; but I worked with one for years. A co-worker who I will not describe had the most HORRID Body Odor imaginable; they smelled like poop wrapped in older, smellier poop all the time, as if they never bathed ever. I never mentioned it too them, but at the same time I found I had to be upwind of them all the time. I'm glad we didn't work in the same departments, I think I would have had to cut off my nose.

Just FYI for future reference: you are allowed to complain to HR about stuff like this, and they are legally entitled (some might even say obligated) to take measures that include things like forcing the employee to go home and not come back until they're clean and have changed their clothes. This happened at a large biotech company I worked at where a woman kept unspayed cats at her home and consequently smelled like an unspayed cat toilet.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:16 AM on November 9, 2012


(I just want to jump in to say that different people have different senses of smell, which is probably a factor in both this discussion and the case. I have a very weak sense of smell and have no trouble hanging around people who don't bathe or visiting houses where no one cleans (very, very smelly people are sort of "dialed down" for me - someone who might smell unbearable to others may smell only sort of unpleasant to me) but my housemate has a very strong sense of smell and those same things make him nauseated. He also notices smells that I can't smell.)
posted by Frowner at 7:39 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


NB there is at least one actual medical condition (that rotting fish odor disease thingy?) wherein no amount of bathing or clean clothes or perfumes or deodorants will remove or mask the sufferer's personal odor, but this does not seem to be the case here.
posted by elizardbits at 7:44 AM on November 9, 2012


That's Trimethylaminuria.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:49 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you're thinking "there's got to be more to this," you need to read the links posted by (username) last night a dj saved my life. This is not Nowell's first rodeo.
posted by desjardins at 7:50 AM on November 9, 2012


So he stank. So send in a swat team? How exactly was this not a gross violation of this man's rights? Please, if there is justice, let him get another settlement of equal or greater value to the last. If not at this landlord's expense, than make the police pay. They certainly should have known better.
posted by Goofyy at 7:57 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Plenty of people are offensive with their stench on a regular basis, but because that stench comes out of a bottle that costs $100, it's socially acceptable.

Depends on your social circles and geographical location.
posted by BWA at 8:02 AM on November 9, 2012


Trimethylaminuria

Yes! That.
posted by elizardbits at 8:06 AM on November 9, 2012


You could just as well say that not speaking up and going along with Jim Crow laws was clearly less troublesome than sitting in at a lunch counter, and an inability to understand that suggested mental issues

Oh dear god, you're really gonna go there? There's gotta be a Godwin-like term for inappropriately comparing something to Jim Crow in an argument.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:38 AM on November 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


I lived around Skid Row in the Artist's Loft district, and worked on Olive Street, and if you have no experience living and working around this area, you really can't imagine what it is like. There are prominent homeless that have nicknames like "The Drooler" and people run away in terror from guys like this. Businesses have to remodel their entrances so homeless won't shit there every night. One homeless guy used to come into our office every day and harass the receptionist, he'd come in and expose himself and then run off. We couldn't get the cops to do anything, so the boss brought in an aluminum baseball bat and ambushed the guy. This is a fucking war zone. This isn't really a class war, this is just the way the homeless live. I've seen two homeless guys get into a knife fight over a bag of recyclable bottles worth about a dollar.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:04 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, but it is a class war. Over the past decades, downtown Los Angeles has seen the steady demolition and re-allocation of low income housing to other purposes, the introduction of private, landlord-funded security forces that impede the rights of select citizens to peacefully use the public streets and sidewalks, the transformation of a beautiful city park that happened to be popular with labor organizers, communists, homosexuals and religious zealots into a concrete hell, policies that intentionally pushed the most needy and vulnerable Angelenos further and further east into a no-man's-land of rescue missions, filth and unpoliced crime, a decades-long refusal on the part of the County to fund the needed beds for the number of people living on the streets, NIMBY suburbanites fighting any attempt to serve the homeless in their communities, and now the police are not even allowing people without homes to sit on the sidewalk in the concrete ghetto to which they've been exiled. But on the plus side, you can get artisanal bourbon, bacon donuts and organic dish soap on Main Street now.

I remember the gentleman in the article. He is hard to forget. His years-long presence opposite the Los Angeles Times building and near City Hall was provocative, performative. If you caught his eye, the intelligence was unmistakeable. He seemed to be there, using his body, to send a message to the powers that be that they were failing to care for those in need and that they would be judged and held accountable. And that we all must do better, even if we lack the status of newspaper editors, mayors or city councilmen.

I reckon he is still doing that work, and successfully. It's not pleasant, and it makes people very uncomfortable--but he's right.
posted by Scram at 9:40 AM on November 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


As a Mefiite, I have chosen to believe that the man has no smell because it makes it easier to be outraged.
posted by Jeff Mangum's Penny-farthing at 9:41 AM on November 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


When I was a teen I worked as a library page. There was one patron I dreaded. I know nothing about his living situation, but he smelled awfully. He would come into the reference section, where I paged, and settle down on the floor by the military material, Jane's catalogues, etc., and would spend hours paging through weapons guides and helicopter designs. The smell was hard to describe - fusty, moldy, funky, unwashed but not like rot, but very very strong. After he left, the smell would linger in the stacks area for quite a long time. I still occasionally walk into a moldy, funky setting and smell that odor again. It is choke-inducing and I really didn't want to be around it. Because it was a library it was his right to use the place and I would not have kicked up a fuss, though I did avoid shelving in that section when he was there, not just because of the smell but because the weapons obsession gave me the heebie jeebies. If I had to smell it every day in my building, I probably would try to address the problem. Some folks are saying 'how bad can a person's smell be,' and this story came immediately to mind. Bad.

I don't really think smell is subjective, as it is a physical thing that can be measured at the molecular level. But people's perceptions of smell really vary. I'm a bit of a supersmeller so I notice this all the time - finding something on fire when others are sniffing the air and saying "I don't smell anything," being able to pick up cigarette smoke or booze or a car air freshener on someone's coat, etc. Among most groups of people, some will say "I don't really smell anything" when you give them an ambient aroma.
posted by Miko at 9:55 AM on November 9, 2012


I don't live in his old building but know people who did. I also know a bus driver who wouldn't let him on the bus. The guy didn't use toilet paper, which was in short supply when he was living on the streets of downtown LA and using the bushes as a latrine. I don't know if that changed when he moved indoors. He had relieved himself on city buses fairly often, according to transit workers and fellow bus riders, which may have been due to his kidney problems.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:18 AM on November 9, 2012


He could have bought a decent standalone house, free and clear, instead of pissing money away on rent.
posted by Jeff Mangum's Penny-farthing at 10:45 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also know a bus driver who wouldn't let him on the bus.

From the article, this is the reason he won a $200k settlement from the MTA.
posted by skammer at 10:55 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's very clear the guy stank. He stank, and he was stubborn about it, and it offended everyone around him. He threw himself against authority at every turn, refusing to wash. It wasn't to make any great statement, it was just because he was a damn stubborn mule.

If you're homeless and stink, okay. It's hard to get a shower, hard to get toilet paper. But if you're rich and you still stink, you better buy your own house away from neighbors or clean the hell up.

I wholeheartedly believe this man was gagging his neighbors. It's very unlikely that every single person living around him, and the jury, and everyone are complete assholes, and he was the saint.

Even the juror who was his friend briefly eventually stopped talking to him because of his attitude.
posted by Malice at 11:03 AM on November 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


I reckon he is still doing that work, and successfully. It's not pleasant, and it makes people very uncomfortable--but he's right.

Yeah, sorry, not buying it. If anything, he's doing a severe disservice to his cause.

"House the homeless! So we can move into your building and refuse to shower and make you miserable!"
posted by Afroblanco at 11:20 AM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


From the article it sounded like he stopped talking to the juror who was his friend, not the other way around. After his juror friend said something that pushed one of Nowell's buttons and made Nowell think that this guy was just as classist as everyone else, it sounds like.

I'm not claiming the guy didn't stink. I'm not there, what we have to go on are the reports of people who were, both in this thread and in the article. Even his juror friend said his personal body odor wasn't great, albeit not overpowering. I'm also not sayin' that his neighbors had no right to address the odor issue if it affected their comfort in their apartments. I'm saying that:

(i) it sounds, from the article, that everyone addressed it in a very patronizing and classist way, rather than approaching the guy respectfully as an equal;

(ii) it certainly sounds to me, based on descriptions of what people said and did, like the neighbors and/or landlords were unhappy about having him in the building, not just unhappy about his odor;

(iii) I apologize that I came across as comparing people getting upset about someone's bad odor with racism: I'm not trying to make that comparison. I see a lot more going on in this situation beyond people being offended by Nowell's odor, however; I see lots of classism going on as well. I'm trying to compare classism with racism, the treatment of those at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale with the treatment of black people (in the sense that both involve social structures whereby those of us with relatively more privilege are enabled to be ignorant of what life is like for those with less privilege; there are some important structural differences between classism and more identity-based oppressions), and (especially) the effect on individuals and their reaction to this oppression. My point is that there is an entirely reasonable and plausible explanation for Nowell's stubborn refusal to do what his neighbors and landlords wanted him to do that doesn't involve mental illness, but has everything to do with the quality of their interactions with him and with his history of being on the receiving end of classist attitudes for many, many years.

It sounds like Nowell has a giant chip on his shoulder that makes him difficult to deal with for most people who haven't been in his situation. Yep, when I've dealt with people with similar chips, it sometimes takes a lot of energy to interact with them, and specifically to maintain a respectful interaction, given that they can clearly see that I'm not in their situation, haven't been there, and don't know, on that personal/experiential level. It's the right thing to do, though. They're there because we live in an economic system predicated on large disparities of wealth and that needs classism to maintain itself (because people are actually empathetic and bad at ignoring the suffering of others whom they consider their equals, in general, so there needs to be some cover story that folks at the upper ends can tell themselves so that they can continue to feel good about themselves), so we end up with inadequate social safety nets because people make broad policy decisions based on ideology rather than thinking about the people who are going to be affected. Thus to not treat such individuals with the same amount of respect as you'd give someone you're comfortable with is a classist behavior.

Note that this doesn't mean just let the bad odor go and live with it. It means: think about how you would approach someone you respected highly who happened to have this one habit that made your personal living situation uncomfortable, and do that. (Personally, I'd err toward treating the more oppressed person with more respect in a given situation as a sort of affirmative action strategy to help counter the overall systemic oppression and because I don't necessarily trust that, having grown up in a classist society, my ability to judge when I've achieved parity in respectful treatment is unbiased. But aiming to treat them with the same level of respect is a good goal for starters, I think. Especially given that all of us have been trained strongly in classism all our lives; it's part of the structure of our society.)

So, had I been Nowell's neighbor and felt that his odor was seeping into my apartment and making things uncomfortable, I might have tried a multi-stage approach with him. I'd try to introduce myself neutrally first, so that the first thing he heard from me wasn't a complaint. When I did bring up the complaint, in a case like this, I would try to acknowledge the possibility that he gets a lot of trumped-up, exaggerated complaints from people because of classism. I would try to lay out the specific problem affecting me, and assume that he was intelligent and experienced enough to come up with a solution to it on his own (you know, those "I statements" that communications experts always tell people to employ in situations where there is a strong potential for conflict, like any sort of relationship that's on shaky footing). If the problem continued, I would follow up, but I would ask for information about what he had done to attempt to resolve it before offering any suggestions.

There's no guarantee that this approach will work, but I would try it first. If it failed, I would still attempt to treat Nowell with the same level of respect as I would any other neighbor who was doing some particular thing that disrupted my living space. Failing addressing the situation with them directly, I'd look at my lease. Are there any restrictions on reasonable odor generation? Probably not, so I might just move out. It arguably falls under disrupting the quiet enjoyment of other residents, as it sounds like the jury in Nowell's case found, so suppose the landlord gets involved. How should the landlord act? I would say that the landlord should follow the same respectful, focus on the specific behavior or effect approach. The difference is that the landlord should probably stay impersonal and professional, and gets to set and enforce deadlines for compliance. They should be reasonable deadlines, and the remedy sought needs to be cessation of the effect on other residents, not anything more specific about Nowell's behavior or apartment than that. If he fails to comply, the landlord could offer to inspect his apartment and try to help identify the source of the odor, but that needs to only be an offer, 'cause Nowell does also have a right to quiet enjoyment of his own apartment. If he continues to be unable or unwilling to comply, there are standard procedures in every state for landlords to get rid of tenants who disrupt the quiet enjoyment of other tenants. They don't involve calling the riot squad and trying to have the one tenant committed to a mental institution. The respectful thing for the landlord to do in those circumstances is to follow the exact same procedures as they'd use for any other tenant.

Compare this whole scenario with what actually happened. My claim is that the difference between the two is classism.
posted by eviemath at 3:59 PM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


The difference between the two outcomes could be classism. Or reality.
posted by Jeff Mangum's Penny-farthing at 5:45 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Note that this doesn't mean just let the bad odor go and live with it. It means: think about how you would approach someone you respected highly who happened to have this one habit that made your personal living situation uncomfortable, and do that.

Well, I would probably buy some toiletries for them and ask if it was okay for me to leave those in their bathroom, in hopes that my friend would pick up on the mild hint without me having to emphatically spell out to them "Hey, you smell like a pay toilet."

OH WAIT THAT WAS THE VERY FIRST THING THEY TRIED.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:34 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, see, the problem with buying them toilettries is that it implies that *they* are the problem, not the smell; that is, it assumes that they are unaware of how to take care of themselves to common standards of hygiene, not that they are unwilling, or that there might be something else going on. Sometimes that's the case, but not always, and assuming is patronizing. Also, it's passive aggressive, which some people prefer, but many of us find annoying as all get out.
posted by eviemath at 6:52 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


it assumes that they are unaware of how to take care of themselves to common standards of hygiene, not that they are unwilling, or that there might be something else going on.

Pretty good assumptions, all of them.

The guy smelled like he hadn't washed or laundered his clothes in weeks or years, mostly because he didn't. And continued his ways, at least partly to stick it to everyone around him. But it would be bad to buy the guy some soap, because that would be passive aggressive?!

His neighbors and landlord were unhappy about him being in the building? No shit! What sane person wouldn't, particularly after his behavior continued? Who needs that kind of drama from their neighbors? It's bad enough when someone hogs the laundry room or parking. A tenant that causes offense even when you can't see or hear him, and shows no intention of rectifying his offense, demonstrates a pretty extraordinary case of willful malignance.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:52 PM on November 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


So this is what Bourdieu means by "habitus"?
posted by Dr. Send at 8:38 PM on November 9, 2012


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