I always get asked the question of why I left Alex Cornfeld. People ask me why I didn’t just stay with him for the money and financial security. The truth of it is that every day spent with Alex was like choking on my own air. The disgusting, smelly gym clothes that he would strew over the floor, his inability to sleep without total and complete darkness and a pregnancy style full body bolster bordered on neurotic, his obsession with the latest gadgets was garnered more of his attention than anything else, and his inability to compromise or collaborate on anything was frustrating to the extreme.
Early on in our relationship, we took a trip to visit my family in San Antonio, and were sitting around the kitchen table playing scrabble, with my father, who is a civil engineer, my step-mom, who is a college professor, and myself, with a master’s degree in a medical related field. When he lost, he said flatly, “Your three small brains beat out my BIG brain.” We all started laughing, and he was at a loss for words. Alex loved to go around and talk about how “highly educated” he was, which was somewhat funny to me, since he has a bachelor’s degree in film (from a university where his mother was an alumnus) a field which is decidedly not very academic. I have more education than he does, although I never went around describing myself as “highly educated” thinking this kind of pretentious. Pretentiousness and arrogance, as it turned out, goes hand in hand with being Alex Cornfeld… it is part of his identity.
As a matter of fact, I heard fourth hand (Arthur told Ann Cornfeld who told my step-mom who told me) that early on in his career at ABC Properties that Alex had had a huge blow out with one of the partners, who had become irate after Alex came in and tried to exert his influence with a matter that he had little experience in. This brashness, dismissiveness to other’s concerns, and arrogance is exactly what got him into trouble with the building on 69th street which subsequently caused the tenants to organize and demand changes to the current policies.
HIs reckless abuse of power became even more pronounced after I left him. There were incessant arguments and he did began to put all his effort into subterfuge. In fact, he screamed at me during an argument that he had spoken to a lawyer at one thousand dollars per hour to figure out how he could get full custody of the children. When I told this to Arthur, he was surprised and said that he wasn’t sure where Alex might have gotten the money for this. His current apartment is subsidized by his father, and in fact, is located in one of the buildings managed by ABC Properties, and Alex gets a salary from the company. (This, however, does not account for his poker earnings, and money from unclaimed side businesses. When we lived back in California and Alex was a regular at Hollywood Park, he had told me at that time that he earned 20-30k per year playing cash games two to four nights per week, and he divulged a lot of his game playing secrets to me, which I used on the site full tilt poker.) There were numerous instances in which he changed appointments and meetings at the children’s school without telling me, neglected to send home school notices, or tell me about important events that had happened. I certainly would not dream of imagining that he would have a supportive ear for any of the incidences of harassment which I endured, and which likely were related to his actions and possibly even financed by himself.
Whenever I would get upset about his callousness and thoughtlessness, he would offer to buy me stuff, and then would become angry when I told him his that his money could not assuage my anger with him. On one occasion on a trip to Florida for a bar-mitzvah, he “accidentally” threw out the bottoms of one of my favorite bikinis. Rather than making a sincere apology, he blamed me for being upset, and told me he would buy me a new swimsuit. The resulting argument ruined our trip and necessitated a trip to the hotel shop to purchase an overpriced swimsuit which did not fit well and which I promptly gave away when we returned home. It is not surprising that I wondered if Alex had a mild form of autism. He exhibits almost no change in facial expression, and he is almost incapable of understanding the emotional responses of others. In all honesty, it is more satisfying being alone than being stuck in a co-dependent, strained relationship with a roommate that I grew to despise.