I was talking with one of my students who said she was having roommate troubles. She said she buys
all the household items and does most of the cooking. Her roommates, in return, don’t clean up after themselves and act like there are dish fairies to magically wash and clean the kitchen.
I sat there listening and laughing, partly because of her story, but more because it brought back memories of my own roommate war stories. Whether in college or while trying to save money, most of us have had a roommate situation.
I grew up in a house full of women, so I always had a room to myself. The bathroom was another story. It wasn’t until I went off to college that I had to deal with the roommate phenomenon.
My first experience was during freshman orientation. I walked in and there sat this guy with a pink-and-blue Mohawk, cut up T-shirt and ripped jeans. This was the 80’s punk era. I just knew he was going to kill me in my sleep, but he turned out to be pretty cool and kind of ordinary.
My next roommate was my high school friend, and we lived off campus. We got along pretty well. We had our own bedrooms and a crazy, country, white-boy neighbor who always entered our apartment through the balcony sliding doors. He was kind of like “Brother Man” from the old “Martin” television show.
We also had these mutant roaches. Everything is bigger in Texas, and bugs are no exception. When your roaches are using your cologne, fixing sandwiches and making long-distance phone calls, they are no longer pests but roommates.
We later moved and took in another friend from high school who sat on the couch all semester and moved only to ravage the kitchen and eat our food. Imagine Ruben Studdard without the singing voice and ambition. I would get up in the morning and put on a can of biscuits. After showering and dressing quickly for class, I would come downstairs to one biscuit left. He would stare at me blankly and ask, “Did you want some?” No, I just put them on to test the oven timer.
The craziest roommate I ever had was in grad school in Iowa. There is a false perception that women are innately neat. No, this was the messiest girl I had ever seen. I nicknamed her Sybil because she also had the craziest mood swings. I never knew which one of her personalities I was dealing with from day to day. We knew each other from undergrad, but she went up there trying to reinvent herself. She became a strict vegetarian, living off of twigs and berries and almost died from malnutrition. Hello! We are from Texas, the barbecue state.
My student finished venting about her crazy, trifling roommates and I offered some words of support and hopefully sent her on her way a little more empowered.
I know she is not the only one dealing with roommate issues, so I offer Professor Locs’ Top 5 hints that your roommate may not be quite right:
5. He asks you to drop him off to work one morning at Eastland Mall, which has been closed for months.
4. She has a stuffed cat that she leaves milk out for.
3. You notice him watching the Murder Channel… and taking notes.
2. You come home early to find her wearing your underwear… on the outside of her clothes.
1. Instead of leaving his name and number on voice mail, he speaks in tongues.
Remember, most roommate issues can be worked out with a few cocktails and a dead bolt on your bedroom.