You never really know a person until you live with them. I guess it’s a thing to have had “that one roommate in college” whose mere existence just seemed to conflict with yours. I definitely had that roommate.
When I first heard the term, “roomie love,” I could hardly believe it was actually a thing. Two roommates? Sharing love? What would they do – go on spontaneous day trips to the beach together, leave little gifts around with endearing notes for one another, or share deep conversations about life, love, or how the chemistry professor kind of resembles a muffin? I’ve never heard of such fantastical nonsense.
Grant, my roommate at OSU, was an interesting one, to say the least. If we were to take cute little pictures and publish them on social media like many typical roommates, the captions might look something like this:
“Discovering new smells with Grant in his acne lab!!! #Roomielove”
“Grant’s 3-week old nachos left rotting on the windowsill!!! Who knew nachos could grow hair! #Roomielove”
“#ThrowbackThursday to the time when Grant didn’t want to go downstairs to ask for more toilet paper when I was home for the weekend so he used his shirt instead and then put it in OUR laundry basket with plans to have it washed in the community washing machines!!! Hahaha, good times. #Roomielove”
Sound familiar? Didn’t think so. All you typical roomie-lovers probably eat cupcakes while watching Netflix together and have pillow fights with unicorns on a weekly basis. If I ever came home with a cupcake, I could count on Grant munching away on it as soon as it was found – and I’d be able to tell because I’d hear his hauntingly audible, saliva-laden chewing. To this day, I swear I can hear it when I’m home alone on dark, stormy nights.
Perhaps it’s my fault, though. I actually knew who Grant was prior to our rooming experience. His mom is my mother’s best friend, so I’d seen him now and then; maybe once a year. He was always an interesting fellow, but I figured that because I knew him, I could trust him with my belongings and observe culturally and socially accepted roommate interactions. At least one of those was true.
Or perhaps it was my silent and unsuspecting revenge-plot against him: Not once did I try to fix his behavior or our interactions. Not once did I fail to do his dishes (after waiting quite some time for him to do them). Not once did I complain about the swimming pool that was the bathroom floor after his 30-minute showers. Not once did I fail to take out the mountain of trash that would accumulate on his side of the room. If I had decided to communicate these issues with him, perhaps my roommate experience with him could have been better – maybe we could have had matching, custom T-shirts made. We could have had a theme song.
But my efforts were devoted to the eventual rude-awakening that would ensue once our time together had ended. I pictured it so clearly: one day, Grant would live alone in a house that was decorated like a crime scene. The house would reek of strange concoctions of apple-cider vinegar plus various other ingredients for his acne problem that didn’t exist, dirty laundry would be strewn about (hopefully dirty from regular wear, and not from… other things…), and food from week-old dishes would be rotting in the sink…
Does that make me a bad person?
Was I the one who was the bad roommate?
I’m doubtful. I was an angel of a roommate – a roommate that did not seemingly-purposefully wake you up every morning by blasting loud music upon awakening. When it was Grant’s birthday (VERY early in our relationship) I took him out to dinner at a Chinese buffet. For my birthday, he gave me a Shell gas card that was completely empty – it literally had nothing on it. My belongings were always kept out of my roommate’s way, and I maintained fairness and cleanliness when it came to shared space. To him, all “shared space” was his space. The number of times that I had found his socks in my bed would astonish you. I just followed the Golden Rule.
Someday, perhaps, I will discover the true meaning of “roomie love.”