Sunday, April 18, 2010

Roommates of Doom

Did you ever have a roommate who drove you nuts?

When I went to college, I went through seven roommates my freshman year. This wasn't all my fault. In the prison block of my first college dormitory, we were assigned to four-person, two-bunkbedded rooms, one bunkbed on each side of the room, a bank of four closets in the middle, and a strip of four built-in desks on the opposite wall. With that many people in a room the minute I switched rooms once I automatically had six roommates. Then the minute one those subsequent roommates switched I was at seven. It was hard not to take this personally.

After all, I had roommates who bordered on evil, some who were criminal, and some who were just plain loony.  There was one who switched bunks with me while I was away for the weekend, though just to creep me out she placed my artwork upside down next to my new bunk. Eventually, when I went away again, she moved me out into another room. I had a roommate who used to wake up our entire room with blasting Gospel exhortations to accept Jesus or burn. Every night for dinner she ate dry ramen, crunching it silently at her desk. I tried to explain to her that you were supposed to cook it, and offered her the use of my hot pot, but she just looked at me silently and kept crunching. I had a spoiled roommate who was so rich that hundred-dollar bills used to fall out of the Calvin Klein jeans she left strewn all over the floor of the room, all while I was subsisting on knock-off cans of corn. I had trampy roommates, virginal roommates, and, later, I had some roommates who were fascinated by my houseplants and plant light, so much so that they then bought their own plant light and started a pot farm in their room.

So I had some bad roommates. But I'm starting to wonder if these roommates, my children, are the worst roommates I've ever had. 

My husband and I walk in the kitchen one evening. The cabinets are flung open, measuring spoons out, microwave door wide, wrappers on the counter. I think, Where are the kids? Are they okay? Because, of course, based on the condition of the house, I think there's been a burglar in there.

But no. They both simply made some fudgy thing that had to be microwaved and needed a measuring spoon to do it, and they had to unwrap some packaging. And they're just that bad of roommates that they grab what they need and simply drop the rest of the stuff where ever they are. Lift a finger to throw the wrapper in the garbage can? No, of course not. Swing an arm to shut the cabinet door? Lift a hand to put away the measuring spoons? C'mon.

When I look at these roommates of mine - the fourteen-year-old and the ten-year-old - I feel a little hopeless. The fact that they can make a mess and then sit in it - what does this say for their future? The fact that somehow, unlike my other roommates, all their actions not only reflect on me but have to be fixed by me, this is bad.

But so far one thing to be grateful for: no pot farm.

Did you ever have a bad roommate? Did you ever have a really great one? Did you live in a prison cell dorm at college like I did? What kind of "roommates" are your kids?

38 comments:

  1. I had a roommate who didn't shave her legs or underarms and smoked a pipe - no pot involved. I only lived in a dorm for two years so there were not many horror stories. Second year I was an RA so no roommates.

    I did live in a sorority house. The stories I could tell from there. LOL!

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  2. My current roommates drive me crazy! My husband and teen are slobs and clutter is everywhere and I HATE clutter. My son's room has something on every inch of floor. Disgusting.

    I am still friends with my freshman year college roommate, although only through email since we live halfway across the country. And one of my roommates from my sorority days is still my best friend, also living far apart, and we get together every few years and pick up where we left off.

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  3. Oh - I completely know what you mean! Every morning, I spend a huge amount of time picking up wet towels, making beds, throwing discarded clothes down the laundry chute, etc. Plus all day - dishes on the counter... shoes by the front door.... opened mail just dropped on the front hall table - and this is really just my middle schooler and my husband. The toddler and preschoolers provide the piles of toys and empty sippy cups strewn throughout the house. Ugh.

    I remember my freshman year roommate broke my Tab glass. I still miss that glas....

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  4. I am giggling at the pot farm roommate, cringing at the Jesus freak roommate and shaking my head in wonder at Nicki's pipe smoker. Hilarious stuff.

    The worst one I had was freshman year: the bulimic ho-bag. She would bring home a bag of groceries and a gallon of milk, shamelessly eat them in front of me and then announce that she was off to the bathroom to "do housecleaning." She also brought guys to the room late at night, while I was trying to sleep and get it on. Ewww.

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  5. Ahh... ramen noodles and a hot pot... college was such fun! My first semester I went to an awful private college ( the education was actually good, but I hated it there) and during a trip home one weekend, my roommate moved all my stuff out of our room and into our suite-mates' room. One of our suitemates wanted to room with her. So, I came back to find I had new digs... and since changing rooms without approval was against policy, all four of us got " early curfew" as punishment. This meant we had to be in our rooms by 7pm. Next semester, I went to the public university close to where I lived and I was a commuter for the remainder of my college years.

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  6. Oh, you make me laugh!

    I had one great room mate, and one doosie. (We won't even go there.)

    Loved this!

    (Um, and purse-fare is now posted...)

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  7. I was lucky enough to have pretty good roommates throughout college - certainly nothing to compare to yours or some of the others mentioned in the comments - but a few years out, I lived with a woman who was very sweet, but an absent-minded slob. She would do things like forget to close the refrigerator door after getting something out and then leave the house for the day. I also don't think she washed a single dish in the year we lived together. Luckily I got married soon thereafter and had the perfect excuse to move out!

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  8. I was lucky on the roommate front all the way around. I had good roommates freshman and sophomore year of college. I lived off campus my senior year. Now that did get a bit weird sometimes, because it was my friend Jennifer and I, but we needed other people to fill the house to make rent. We did have some people who came and went that were "odd." But, nothing like what you went through....

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  9. I had a Calvin Klein roommate who sounds an awful lot like yours. She'd grown up with "help" to clean for her and couldn't be bothered to learn for herself, lest she break a nail and not be able to drive her Lexus. We lasted one semester. I consider myself a saint. =>

    As for my kiddos, my daughter's socks are still on the kitchen floor, despite me asking her 10 times to put them in the laundry basket. And she's still in preschool. We've got a long road ahead of us, don't we?

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  10. When I was in the army I had a room mate named cindy...Cindy was free with her vagina. So free, that eventually we had to work out a system so I wouldn't accidentally walk in on her with someone...she would hang a crown royal bag on the door when she was 'busy'. Needless to say. I only got a few hours a night to be in my room. On the other hand...when I went out on my first date in permant party cindy hooked me up with condoms, lubricant and sperm killer (not that I was going to use them). lol. But she was nothing if not prepared G*d bless her.

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  11. I have never thought of my kids as roommates. I love this notion. Boy they bug me. My older one especially. I can say my roommate bugs me. I love this. Thanks again wise Linda. You always seem to make my day.

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  12. My roommates weren't bad, although they hated my husband when we were dating. Now his roommates were a crazy sort. I laugh now thinking about them.

    My roommates now are loud, sloppy, and needy. Much worse than what I put up with in college.

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  13. My current roommates are out to destroy my house. At least once a day the middle one spills something and there are several holes in the walls: we have a 100yo old house with plaster walls, which suck to fix. I hate the finger prints everywhere ane the unflushed commodes. But I have to say this; my current roommates cuddle like no other, they make me tea, and omlettes in the morning, and they give the best kisses and hugs. So, they are the best and worst I have seen in one fell swoop. At least once a week, I think, "why did I ever had kids", and then "what would I do without them". I guess it is just something to chalk up as a life experience. It certainly makes me crazy. I might need to grow one of those plants you referred to. Is it legal yet? What is taking so long?

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  14. Nicki, suspicious growth of body hair always makes for good roommate stories! I dreamed of being an RA but somehow they knew I wasn't responsible enough. I bet it was good training for having six kids!

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  15. Karen, Oh my, I forgot to include my husband in the roommate scenario! Missed opportunity for humor! (He probably has more complaints about me than the other way around!)

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  16. Sherri, LOVE the husband as one of the sloppy roommates you pick up after! And - sniff - I was once a TAB addict too! Oh, the good old days of loading up my shopping cart with multiple six packs (back when there WERE six-packs). Never had money for food, but I always had money for TAB!

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  17. TKW, you are killing me, girl! A bag of groceries and a gallon of milk? And there I was, like an idiot, lumbering through campus fat, showing my weight and eating less than that!

    And what's worse than a roommate having sex in the same room as you? Totally ewww!

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  18. Jennifer, look how we're twins separated at birth! We were both moved out of our dormrooms by despised roommates! What is the chance of that?

    I love how you think dorm life is going to be so idyllic while in high school and it's hell!

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  19. Fine, BLW, don't tell me. And loved your purse post!

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  20. Kristen, It does boggle the mind, how someone can FORGET to close the refrigerator. (Although why am I saying that when now I have kids who do that?) I love how that one was resolved by getting married!

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  21. Robin, renting out space is always a weird situation. You never quite know what you'll get and you got to live with them!

    Stacia, That rich roommate of mine came down to college as a second semester 17-year-old freshman (I guess she was eager to get there) and driving a brand new white Corvette! Oh was she spoiled. And mean.

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  22. No, I didn't have any pot growing, sex-loving, evangelical shouting roommates. I had the run-of-the-mill drive-me-crazy roommates. Still, can't complain too much! Many of them are my best friends!

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  23. Chris, such a nice way to put it: "She was free with her vagina" (her vagina was free?)! Always weird to be living in a "popular" room that's not popular because of anything you're doing!

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  24. Terry, Can you even imagine having roommates this bad? The sullen teenagers with the stench-filled bedrooms? The constant gaming and TV-watching? The attitude, the arguments? Of course not. We have to be related to them to keep them in the house!

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  25. Charolotte, so funny that your roommates hated your husband when you were dating. I need to hear more about that, especially since you've been married for quite a while (I guess you were right!) and have 6 kids!

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  26. Joely, shoot, I forgot to write the good things about these roommates! Thank goodness they don't read the blog! Like you, can't imagine life without them, would have longed for them my whole life if I didn't have them, yet impossible to live with and make my married a thousand times harder. But they give form and meaning to my days and I'm sure this is what I'm meant to do - besides everything else!

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  27. I used to think my daughter was a slob...until I met her first roommate. She taught my daughter more about the importance of tidiness than I ever could (my best attempt was to just shut her door and ignore it). Shana spent many hours that first semester at college cleaning BOTH sides of the dorm room, unable to live in such a mess, making me laugh every time she complained!

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  28. I am sure my mother laughs inside every single time I complain about my 8-year-old's failure to listen to me after being asked a bazillion times to put something away. Ah, the joys of parenthood.

    When I was in high school I was a mess. I didn't worry one bit about the sorry condition of my room much less the rest of the house I was supposed to help clean. My poor mother was constantly 'nagging', usually to no avail.

    Somehow once I moved out on my own I became a crazy, type A clean freak. I have no idea what happened, but I am still this way.

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  29. OMG! You had to share a room in college with up to 5 other students? I would have gone crazy - in England we have residency halls but you get your own 10 by 10 "cell", desk and washbasin and only have to share bathrooms. Your descriptions remind me of some of the strange creatures who shared my hall in the first year, I think we encountered a lot of similar types!! Great post - I think my daughter is going to be a bad room mate too - getting her to help clean up is impossible, she simple shakes her little head determinedly and says "no Mommy, you do it!"

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  30. Lisa, You're a genius! First because of your comment now I know why my daughter was always so neat on vacation: she had to share a room with her brother. But now that he's so big, no more sharing and they're both slobs! But there's hope. I just have to get her a really messy roommate in college, right?

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  31. Celeste, funny how we can be one way as kids and another way as adults! Being one of seven girls, it's not like I had a lot of chores. Only one-seventh, really. I was only in charge of the tile floors so I was really good at them, but how lucky was that?

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  32. Aging Mommy, I like that your rooms were called "cells." I can relate to living in a cellblock! And a 10x10 space all my own that no one could kick me out of in the dead of night? Wow! It would have changed things a lot if the "characters" just lived on the hall as opposed to me waking up everyday with them in my face!

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  33. Linda - RA as prep for motherhood? Possibly. Especially when I picked up #5 for his first break this fall. The story on the way home in the car was that his roommate - he has a new one now - would bring a different girl into the room almost every night after #5 was asleep and have sex. #5 said he should have known as the kid's dad gave him a 40 pack of condoms before leaving at drop off. LOL! That was August and I was picking up #5 at the end of September.

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  34. Nicki - Oh my, nothing like getting your dad's stamp of approval - a shipment of condoms! Personally, I don't think I could ever sleep heavily enough to ignore sex occurring in the same room with me!

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  35. I never understood forcing two strangers to share a room. When I went to college the dorms were set up like four bedroom apts.

    We each had our own room with a lock(thank goodness) but we had to share the common areas which unfortunately included a bathroom. At least there were two.

    After the first semester I moved out and into my own apt. I had to work two jobs to pull that off but it was much better than dorm life.

    Thanks for the visit.

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  36. Oh, this is too funny, Linda. The humor is soaked in truth, which makes it even funnier, of course. But the part I am fixated on is the kids. A reflection of us? Yes. We are supposed to correct this behavior? Yes. Will our kids be like one of those god-awful roommates we've had? Yikes. It's TOO MUCH PRESSURE.

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  37. Adrienne, Four separate rooms with two bathrooms? Wow. My 18-year-old self is very jealous. Our bathroom was for all 60-70 girls on the hall, and was a gigantic public bathroom with showers and bath tubs. Hard to believe but I bet if I walked in that dorm at the University of Arizona today it would be unchanged except they'd only sleep two in a room! I finally learned what you did: I do better alone.

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  38. Sarah, so funny. I hope they don't continue to be the world's worst roommates! I'd like to think, as my friend Lisa said above, that they'll run into a such a slob of a roommate one day that it'll "scare them straight" and they'll both become neatniks! Sigh.

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