Readers' Rite: Roommates
Not only did my new roommates reject the cheese we set out for them, but they also refused to pay their fair share of the rent, laying about all day, pooping on our scratched wood flooring, stealing our food and copulating without care for who was around.
My breaking point was when I first saw them, their white and small furry bodies scurrying around across our living room. Leah and I jumped onto our kitchen chairs, me kneeling in my nightgown on a spinny chair watching Mason, Adelina, Alfonso and Jordan try to find the mice and see where they were coming from.
They pulled back our futon and found a hole in the wall. Great.
I can kill a spider: I’ll trap a bee inside a glass with a piece of paper and let it outside, but I cannot deal with mice. If they were going to invade my space, they could at least split the rent.
After this incident, Adelina created a death bucket. All of our previous humanitarian concerns about killing the mice quickly left our minds. As you can guess, it consisted of a large gray bucket, a makeshift ramp up to the bucket and a bunch of goodies like peanut butter that a mouse would enjoy (only not for long). We found the idea online when researching what to do with our unruly housemates.
It did not work.
I have not seen my furry friends very often since then — but I know they’re there. Watching me. Waiting. Waiting for a free moment to poop in our kitchen without us noticing. I hear them. And they’re hungry.
My roommate is awesome. We were randomly paired at the start of freshman year, and we’ve been roommates ever since. The roommate selection survey lists preferences for what kind of relationship you want with a potential roommate. The options are (paraphrasing) best friend, good friend and acquaintance. We’re not best friends, but we have such a great friendship.
We’re not very similar. We’re both introverted (that’s a very controversial description of myself, I know, but it’s true), but the similarities end there. He likes video games, and I like books. He’s short. I’m tall. He’s a computer science major, and I’m a liberal arts guy. But we do little things for each other. He often cooks and makes some for me. I offer to get any groceries he needs.
I can’t imagine a more stable situation than ours. In four years of living together, we have never once gotten upset with the other, because we pick up after ourselves, are respectful of noise levels and each pitch into common chores like taking out the garbage. It usually takes us all of five minutes to pick our housing for the next year, and in the rare times we disagree on something, we always compromise. I know he’d always do something for me, just as I’d do for him.
I associate him with big life moments — the day I moved into college, the day COVID shut everything down, even the day I met the governor — because he’s the person I see when I get back from class, clubs, work or anything else. No matter what happens — good or bad — he is always there, never adding stress to my life, often brightening my day with food. Though I’ll be out of Buffalo for at least the next three years and he’s got a nice position secured here, so we won’t be living together much longer, I’ll always be glad that he was my college roommate.
My first-year dorming experience was no horror story, but it was a total annoyance to me and my daily routine. I greatly overestimated my ability to share such a tight space with practically a stranger. Her and I met on Instagram and hit it off right away: we had similar interests, tastes in music and hobbies. So, I went into my freshman year thinking I was all set to have a great roomie and a new bestie. We neglected to discuss our lifestyle habits such as when we go to bed (me around midnight and her around 3 a.m.) or how we store food (me in the fridge and her left open on the windowsill). I was a total wreck my freshman year, and the lack of control I had in my own room was an added stress I was not prepared for. She ended up dropping out a few days before the end of the fall semester, and I literally have not seen her since. My quality of life went up exponentially since my first semester at Canisius. I don’t want to say it’s all because of my roommate, but that’s definitely a pretty big factor.
As of the end of 2023, I will have had seven roommates who have not been related to me. Ranging from a friend of mine's four-year-old son to my 24-year-old significant other, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with roommates. There’s a 1966 film called “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”; the title I’d use for the movie of the experiences would be The Best, The Evil and The Crazy. Definitely would be an Oscar winner.
With all of my experience with living with others, I have a few pieces of advice. First, trust your instincts about their character, but don’t disregard other people’s as well. Sometimes they’re right, and you just put yourself in a bad situation. Second, living with your best friend can be hard, but it can be a really great experience too, so enjoy that time while it lasts. You’ll miss them once they’ve moved out. Third, first impressions are not it. Meet someone at least half a dozen times before sharing a bathroom with them. Something one-on-one, a couple in public, a few with friends. People can be fake, and you don’t want to be living with someone because it’s when they’re only with you that they’ll take off that mask. That's when “the ugly” can come in.