What I learned from having roommates

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Ah, roommates…

So I feel like that dreary nine month period in which I shared my life with roommates deserves a proper blog post. Mainly because of the strange going-ons that I experienced on a daily basis. I moved in with people who I didn’t know ¬†in an effort to save money and pay down debt. Happy to report that the debts are now alleviated but during that time, it was one hell of a ride. Living with other people taught me many things but above all, the big one that stood out was, you really learn about a person from how they keep their living space. It wasn’t before long where I came off as the OCD neat freak of the house. I’ve always been one who with age, kind of fell into an AM routine and had an ingrained need for order and cleanliness. See below:

  • Wake, wash face
  • Brew coffee
  • Make bed
  • Pick up anything strewn on the floor
  • Check laundry; throw in a load if needed
  • Unload dishwasher if needed, etc. etc…

Apparently my roommates didn’t share the same ideology as I. Our respective rooms, without any effort, were like night and day. Mine, neat and orderly, art on the walls and photos of friends and family. I even had flowerpots adorning my side of the deck. And the roommates? Many times their rooms looked like a tornado hit, littered with cups, dishes and leftover Chinese takeout. Piles of laundry beckoned to get done. There was seemingly no order, no structure. Laziness seemed to be the name of their game.

Without trying to sound like a complete bitch, I just didn’t quite grasp how people couldn’t take their butt from the couch and pick up after themselves. We’ve all seen them: you know, the kind that leave little trails around the house. Trails of half full cups, crumbs scattered about, a skillet from like, two days ago. Yea those were my roommates. It’s not that I’m allergic to roommates, I’m allergic to slob roommates. Yea. That’s it.

So, partly to recount my time there and partly for your comic relief, below I’ve highlighted some memorable weird and head scratching moments from my nine month stint with those people. The roommates.

  • L. was blatantly unaware of her menacing hairball left in the bottom of the shower every time she exited. Initially,I would grab it and stash it in the trash. Then, it got old. One day I finally spoke up, reminded her to be considerate since we both shared that bathroom. It seemed to work for a bit, then she fell into her old slob habits once again. I took her hairball and slathered it on the side of the tub for her to see the following morning, 6:00 am sharp. ūüôā It never happened again.
  • The spice cabinet in the kitchen was always stocked. I tend to cook many things with olive oil. The roommates followed that trend. Only thing was, when they used the olive oil they never replaced it. Never offered to buy new. Just take, take, take. So like a parent does with a child, I took the toy away. Yes, I hid olive oil in my room. I was an olive oil sleuth. And guess what, it worked after like two months of no olive oil.
  • Toilet paper; paper towels. Necessities of a household right? The roommates and I took turns with these purchases. Then, chronic laziness set in. It took like, forever to restock. Seriously. We were out of paper towels for a straight month one time. Many trips to the grocery store, I was tempted to pick some up but then thought, what’s the point? Toilet paper also took forever. I bought my own but eventually burrowed that in my room too, curious to see how long it took before they realized they had nothing to wipe their behinds with.
  • If I dirtied a dish, I took it down and washed it. It didn’t get the opportunity to stand idle in my room for hours let alone days. My roommate J. apparently found it too difficult to walk his dishes down to the sink and wash them. One day while emptying the dishwasher, I noticed there was next to nothing left. No cups, very few dishes and one bowl. Pffft.¬†He didn’t start taking his dishes down promptly until someone pointed out there was no dishes left. Really?
  • To make matters worse with the dishes, many times they weren’t even washed thoroughly. I would grab a spoon and it was greasy. Or there would be cemented food ¬†on a bowl because someone was too lazy to exert some elbow grease in there. It was maddening. One day, while unloading the dishwasher and putting the washed items away, I threw all the dirty, greasy dishes in the sink, and left them there out of frustration. I wasn’t about to wash someone else’s dishes; these were people in their twenties, fully capable of washing dishes. Or so I thought…
  • When it came to laundry, B. didn’t understand why her whites had a bland pink cast to them. I told her “Separate whites, reds and darks and that won’t happen.” ¬†B. always threw everything in there like a jumbled colorful soiled mess. She nodded and said, “Ohhhhh…” Yea; you gotta be smarter than the washing machine darling.
  • The refrigerator was separated into respective sections for our own food. My groceries were on the bottom, L.’s in the middle, and so on. I began to notice my milk would be opened, or my three pack of New York strips were down to one; a stick of butter missing…I didn’t say anything but started to label my food. This seemed to ease the confusion. As if people can’t differentiate between the bottom shelf and the top? I guess that was too hard.
  • On occasion, L. would dog-sit a tiny, yapping Chihuahua. The most useless dog I’ve ever seen. Anyway, the dog wasn’t potty trained and emptied out his bowels or bladder wherever he so pleased. Problem was, when L. went to clean up after the dog, she would simply wet a washcloth and that was all. No Lysol, no Resolve, no actual cleaning agents. Hello! Poop carries bacteria! Ewwwww!
  • B. didn’t have a nightstand. Out of the kindness of my heart, I let her borrow my pastel green wooden table for a stand-in. Key word: borrow. One day while distributing mail, I see a nice sticker placed on my table. I get pissed. It would’ve been different if I had actually given her the table but that wasn’t the case. I ask her about the sticker, she plays dumb, doesn’t even apologize about defacing the table. Her boyfriend later peeled it off, throwing his hands up in the air exclaiming how it wasn’t the end of the world and how I shouldn’t have made such a big deal about it. But I honestly didn’t feel like I did. I felt it just had to do with common sense, it’s not your property so don’t deface it. But then I realized I was dealing with some truly immature individuals and this is why they could never understand my frustration. A few months after that last episode, I promptly gathered my things and moved out, never looking back.

So was there any contact following my much anticipated move? You can bet your ass not. I can now look back on the time with the roommates and laugh, but it was anything but a laughing matter the whole time I lived there. Frustration, anger, disbelief. I was otherwise living with people who had no clue what cleanliness, respect or consideration meant. I often times felt like I was too mature to even live there. If anything good came of it, it was definitely a learning experience. Without suggesting people have to do as Camille does, it just showed me that I just don’t mesh well with slobs. Point blank. If you’re a slob, stay away from Camille. Far, far away. Thanks.

Roommates

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When it comes to living arrangements, I’m one who enjoys solitude. ¬†I’m not one to complain of loneliness, or feel a certain emptiness with lack to a companion. ¬†Living on my own since 20 years old, over the years, developed a deep sense of independence and integrity. I’ve always held high regard to being your own backbone; to never setting too much dependence on anybody. ¬†I enjoyed being responsible for my financial obligations and keeping a home reflective of me.

Unlike many of my friends who moved out into shared housing with roommates, I opted for the solo living arrangement, with no regrets. ¬†I never got an apartment that was too expensive for my means. ¬†My very first was a small, efficiency in the North Canton area of Ohio. ¬†An older building, the exterior was deceiving. ¬†The inside was mediocre; had horribly ugly wood paneling along one wall, the others, typical white drywall. ¬†One window in the whole place, a small kitchen, a smaller bathroom, a living area and a small nook which I would later dub my ‘bedroom’, even though it wasn’t technically a room. ¬†But, for $275 a month couldn’t pass it up. I began my first few years of independence in that tiny place.

While most people greeted the mailbox with apathetic grins, I happily walked down to mine, excited to see some bills in my name. It gave me a sense of importance, a challenge if you will, to get things done, to take care of it, on my own. ¬†Always been a lover of art, and artistically inclined myself, I reflected that with wall decor, numerous framed art, sconces, or plaques. ¬†My lonely window needed some extra zest, so I covered it with a sheer, white panel. ¬†My inner-decorator was coming out, and I welcomed it. ¬†It’s not only who inhabits a home, but also what you make of it, that is a shadow of you.

Over the years, definitely became stuck in my ways. There was a certain way my home had to operate, without trying to sound like a robot. ¬†There was a certain order of things, or, a daily routine if you will. ¬†I definitely kept a clean home, never one to be sloppy. This partly due to the fact I grew up with strict parents, who were on me to keep a clean room, put my dishes away, vacuum, dust, the whole nine yards. In my adolescent moodiness, I thought this was controlling and Nazi- like, but looking back, I appreciate so much of what they did, because now I realize the right way to keep a home. ¬†They instilled a daily routine in me, so the ‘chores’ became habits. Most of my daily routine, putting dishes away, dusting, vacuuming, laundry, became such common knowledge to me, I naively assumed that everyone kept a home in a similar fashion…it wasn’t until I moved in with roommates that I got a rude awakening, a quite annoying one at that.

After about four years living on my own, I regretfully moved in with roommates.¬†Due to financial reasons and the crumbling U.S. economy, I told myself, this is temporary, not permanent, and, on the optimistic side, who knows, I might like it.¬†Never having roommates before, it was definitely something new. Me being already set in my ways at 26 years old, it was an adjustment. ¬†I split a townhouse on the beach with four other people, two couples. One of them, clean like me, the other two, polar opposite. ¬†Over the following months, I noticed little things. Cleanliness issues. ¬†Like hair left in the shower; not a big deal, but the principle, when it comes to consideration, the person should clean it up, no? It became, where, every morning, I jumping in the shower, had to remove a ball of hair from the shower drain- ugh. Or dishes. I’m not one to let dishes accumulate in the sink like some wet, abstract display of disheveled china. ¬†As a matter of habit, I always put my dishes away as soon as I dirtied them. My new roommates apparently didn’t share the same ideals. Sometimes dishes would sit in the sink all day long, and I wondered to myself, there’s 24 hours in a day, can they not take two minutes to put their dishes away? Sometimes, no one bothered to scrub the food off before placing in the dishwasher, they just expected the food to come off, after it’s already been sitting on there for hours. The stupidity was unbelievable! Or, crumbs on the counter. ¬†My first thought was: this brings bugs, bugs are not good. ¬†But, for some reason, the roommates just didn’t think about that. ¬†Or, the one would complain about her laundry task, always having so much to do. But she only did it once a week. I thought, well if you keep up with it during the week, then it’s not so much. ¬†There were times where I would clean up other people’s messes, but then thought to myself,¬†Wait a minute, we’re all grown adults here, and I’m not your Mom. I’m not cleaning your mess. As hard as it was for me to not clean up someone’s leftover dishes or occasional crumbs on the counter, I often times retired to my room, my spotless, orderly mecca. ¬†I sat outside on the deck a lot, gazing out to the ocean across the street, taking a mental siesta from the nuisance in the house. At times, the other girls in would pass by my room, commenting on how nice and orderly it was, and I coudn’t help but think, It’s called cleaning, you should try it sometime! I was beginning to feel as if I was the only one in the house containing any common sense.

It was hard. ¬†Hard to get used to other people’s ways of doing things. Hard to bite my tongue at times. ¬†Hard to not sweat the small stuff; but was it small stuff? In my mind, small stuff grew into bigger stuff, and if not corrected, created a mountain of ignorance. I couldn’t live in a house with people lacking that much common sense. I found myself mentally screaming at them, asking, “Are you that dumb, are you that lazy?” It’s not that I couldn’t live with roommates, it’s that I couldn’t live with sloppy, lazy roommates. ¬†I had a big problem with that. And while there were more important things in life to be worried about, I found myself becoming more and more resentful. ¬†It was like each person cultivated their own surnames with regard to how they kept their living space. I created nicknames for them. ¬†“Mr. and Mrs. Slob”, and “Mr. and Mrs. Master & Servant”. These names reflected the daily goings-on between these two couples. “Mr and Mrs. Master & Servant” was aptly named because, there was no equality in that relationship. The girl did everything: cleaning, cooking, laundry. I don’t think I ever saw him do one load of laundry. They were a truly sedentary couple, spending hours in front of the television, fulfilling that true ‘American’ stereotype. It was really depressing to see, but then again, one had to wonder, what was going on in her head as well, with regard to compromise and shared responsibilities of a household. ¬†And “Mr. and Mrs. Slob” was right on point, I’d never seen people so lazy they couldn’t take dishes down to the sink, they would instead let them sit in their room for days. And forget about vacuuming, ¬†I don’t think I ever heard that run in the whole time I lived there. I said to myself, It’s truly amazing how some people live…

In the end, I only stayed there for seven months of my life. In those seven months, I definitely learned a lot about myself, about others. About what I can take, and what I absolutely cannot stand. ¬†It was a big, fat learning experience. I walked away from it, whispering just that, “It was a learning experience, it was a learning experience…” But definitely one I will not repeat. ¬†Such is life… learning, discovering and coming into one’s own.