26 February 2012
by Evan Katz
I’ll admit it – I wasn’t wild about the idea of living with a roommate when I first came to Rhodes.
I’ve always been kind of a “personal bubble” type of guy, and the thought of having someone’s clutter and bodily odors in my immediate vicinity seemed less than idyllic. The addition of finding out that I’d be living with not one, but two people I’d never met was enough make my normally ninja-like breathing verge on hyperventilation.
Despite my perhaps irrational worries, however, I’ve been amazed by the benefits of having roommates. My first “maybe this won’t be so bad” moment came on the first day of college. After stiff introductions, my new co-lodgers, Nick and James, promptly proceeded to roll in a mini-fridge, a microwave, a flat-screen, and essentially every other appliance known to mankind. I must have glossed over these items when purchasing my other college supplies, my mind more concerned with comfy sheets and such.
Looking back now, I don’t know if I would have survived first semester without these additions, especially considering that my diet consists mainly of Triple Cheese Easy Mac.
Things just kept going up from there. James instantly began a crusade to push my musical tastes past “The Crash Test Dummies” and “Spin Doctors”, pointing out that it appeared all I listened to stemmed from an overdone 90’s playlist. I’ve since been introduced to everyone from Paul Simon to Macklemore, and my iPod (and anyone driving in my car) has been quite grateful.
Once you live with someone, it’s almost impossible not to find out little details about them that the even some of their close friends would never know. Take Nick, for instance – the first thing anyone who knows him will tell you is that he plans to be a Marine.
What they probably don’t know, however, is that this also means we have a small arsenal of edged weapons in our dorm. This was a bit unsettling at first, I’ll admit, but despite living on the edge (no pun intended (actually slightly intended (triple layers of parentheses – Inception!))) all these knives are starting to come in handy.
Now that I’ve gotten over my fear of accidental impalement, I find myself saying things like, “Hey Nick, can I use your penknife to open this letter? Hey Nick, mind if I borrow your switchblade to cut this apple? Hey Nick, can I spread some peanut butter with your broadsword?”
I almost had to have a serious talk with him when he mentioned he had ordered some throwing knives online, especially considering he asked if he could use my headboard as his primary target. Good thing I didn’t – turns out it’s hard to find a dorm activity (well, I guess I can think of a few) more entertaining than tossing mildly lethal pieces of metal at tacked-up pictures of your enemies.
One of the trickiest things to adjust to with dorm-style living is the lack of personal space. I’m no neat freak, but coming back to find your desk covered in Coke cans and Ghostbuster-esque goo can really put a damper on your homework (unless it’s bio, of course, and your homework involves observing abnormal mold growths.)
Sometimes I find it truly perplexing imagining how what appears to be a half-eaten cheese wheel has turned up on my bed. But, fortunately, this culture of communal space and property goes both ways. Since I ran out of my own supply ages ago, my hair has a different daily scent from sampling the array of shampoos in our bathroom (though I’m hesitant to ask to whom belongs the “Lilac Love” conditioner.)
Between the generosity of Nick’s parents and James’s sweet tooth we’ve also amassed several lifetime supplies of goldfish, skittles, and other foods deadly in large quantities that serve to assist me in my life goal to transition to a diet of pure sugar.
They’re not lying to you in Kindergarten – sharing really does have its benefits.
As almost every sitcom character can attest to, life is just better with roommates. Instead of my typical imaginary friend, I now have someone a bit more material to drag along to meals, the gym, and ill-fated double dates.
But a roommate is more than just someone for me to lament to about my difficulties with the opposite sex and get calc homework help from. They’re there to give you advice, help you get your life on the right track, and talk about your feelings to – what? I didn’t mean to say that; guys don’t have feelings. Football.
We’ve actually started a tradition of the “Sunday Roommate Lunch” which involves going out to the cheapest restaurant we can find (excluding Taco Bell, let’s not be morbid here) and discussing the events of the past week, a conversation that quickly turns to an argument over who drank more beer that weekend.
I actually thought I might have won for the first time last week until I was gently informed that raspberry Smirnoff Ice “doesn’t count”.
Of course, ever so often living with roommates can be a bit overwhelming. You find yourself trying to write a paper at your desk while one roommate throws darts over your head to a soundtrack of the same three country songs on their fifth repeat.
Meanwhile, things are starting to get a little out of hand with your other roommate and his girlfriend making out on the couch next to you.
You briefly consider telling them to “get a room” but then realize, to your dismay, they already have. It’s times like these where you just have to realize that writing your paper is a futile effort, and your typing could be put to better use – thus this article was born.
Disclaimer: A few things in this article have been exaggerated for effect. Please don’t come knocking at our door thinking we actually have any weapons/raspberry beverages/sugary snacks. But we do appreciate your concern!
Read more by Evan Katz while you’re here:
Dorm Culture: When Creative Laziness Evolves
How to Make a Life Size Poster for Your Dorm Door