Thursday, May 17, 2012

Roommates Have I Loved, But Some Have I Hated.

Roommates are often a necessity if you are single, live in an expensive city, and are either in college or have a job that doesn't pay very much. This was my life story for about a decade. For the heck of it, I made a list of all of the people with whom I have lived from the time I left home until I moved in with the BF, and the total came to 25 different people - 26 if you collectively count all of the boyfriends who would often stay for days and use up the hot water and eat the food without chipping in. I decided to write down a few of my roommate recollections...the good, the bad, and the awesome.

Pence Hall, 1997: I was 16, and we shared a dorm room for three weeks during WV Governor’s School for the Arts. I was there for Visual Arts and you were an amazing pianist in the Musical Performance program. You had the most beautiful curtain of shining dark hair I’ve ever seen. During the last week of the program, you convinced a boy in town to bring a case of beer onto campus, and we hatched a plan to sneak it into the dorm to share with the other kids. When I got to the drop-off point, the beer was gone. You had been caught by the RA’s, and you told them that you were the only person involved in the alcohol smuggling plot. The RA’s let you go without informing the program directors, but they kept the beer for themselves.

Arnold Hall, 1999: The first night of Freshman year, I came back to our room and you were having sex with some guy from down the hall, so I sat outside until you were done. The next day, I took a nap between classes and when I woke up, you were having sex again, about ten feet away from me in your twin bed. You slept all day, chatted online all night, and kept bags full of trash on your bed when you weren’t there. I spent most of the rest of the semester sleeping on the beanbag chair in our suite-mates’ room. You found out that you were pregnant at the end of the year and dropped out of school.

Falling Run Road, 2000: You had freckles and pale blue eyes, and you loved to run all over campus. Your boyfriend used to stay at our apartment on the weekends, and he only ever wore boxer briefs inside. He was beautiful. One night you came downstairs at midnight and found me in the kitchen, sitting on the floor with a glass of orange juice, crying because I hated all of my Poli-Sci and Econ classes and I didn’t know what to do because that was my major. You said, “If it makes you miserable, maybe you should change your major.” That honestly hadn’t occurred to me until then.

Walnut Street, 2002: We used to sit on the living room floor and get into arguments over whether Joey should end up with Dawson or Pacey, and you knew all the lines to every episode of Friends. You got your hair cut really short, and asshole guys told you that you looked butch but I thought you looked adorable. I would always yell at you to wear a jacket when it got chilly outside, but you hated jackets and only wore hoodies. You got engaged to a guy that you knew from your hometown, who had once dated our other roommate, and she moved out of our house and never spoke to you again.

Walnut Street, 2003: I knew you from High School, and you were the only male roommate I’ve ever had. I had been madly in love with your older brother when I was in 8th grade. You lived in the basement room, and when you got depressed you would listen to Dave Matthews Band and pretend to play the drums along with the music. When you realized that none of the other three girls in the house were going to make dinner for you at night, you bought peanut butter, Saltines, and ramen noodles in bulk from Sam’s Club and ate them every day until you moved out.

Bedford Place, 2004: You had the most fantastic tiny figure and you ate like a teenage boy and never gained an ounce. We had become good friends in school and I was so glad that you decided to study abroad with me and be my roommate for the semester. During our third week in London, you met an English guy who looked like Matt Damon, chain-smoked, and drove C-list celebrities around town in his Land Rover for a living. He was charming and polite and absolutely adored you. You moved into his flat a few weeks later and I missed you. He took us to his family’s home in Bristol one weekend and I was jealous of you for getting to live in the British Rom-Com movie that I’d always dreamed of. About a year after the two of you got married, he cheated on you with another girl and got her pregnant, and you divorced him.

Sherwood Crossing, 2006: I was supposed to have had a different roommate, but her mother got very sick and you moved in with me instead. You were so easy to live with, neat as a pin, and a great cook. You had the best hairstyles and accessories, and I have never, to this day, met anyone with whom I had a better time getting ready to go out with. You were the best dancer on the floor at clubs and at weddings, and you wanted to be a wife and a mother more than anything else in the world. We watched Gray’s Anatomy every Thursday night, drank champagne, and ate Oreos with chopsticks.

The Blairs, 2007: I admired you so much in college. You were always so talented, so optimistic, and sure of yourself and your work in a way that I never was. You were the closest thing to a bohemian California surfer girl that ever came out of Sewickley, PA, and you made even the lowliest thrift store dress look incredibly chic. We had a tv with rabbit ears on top since we couldn’t afford cable, and it only worked sometimes and only picked up 5 channels. You and the man you loved had been together since high school, and you married him in a beachside ceremony two weeks after you moved out of our apartment. All of the guests wore white.

Corsica Drive, 2008: You were a Jewish-Italian girl from New Jersey, and you became almost as close to me as my own little sister. You were never, ever afraid to say what was on your mind, and we could talk about vegetarian food and boys and celebrity gossip for hours. One night in November, I was in my room and I heard you screaming for help outside. A mugger had robbed you at gunpoint on our front porch, and he beat you in the head with his gun when you wouldn’t let go of your purse. I opened the door and pulled you inside of the house, and you were covered in blood from the gash on your head. We rode together in the ambulance to the hospital, and you got three staples to close the wound. I was so frightened that I called a guy I’d been dating to see if he could come and spend the night at our place. He never answered, and when I saw him a week later he said that he got my message, but had been too tired to call back. I didn’t see him again after that.

Corsica Drive, 2009: You were ridiculously beautiful, tragically stupid, and talked like a linebacker who had just won the Superbowl. One night at a house party you told me that you didn’t really like your boyfriend, but you hoped that he got you pregnant soon because you wanted to have a baby before you turned thirty. When I said that I wasn’t comfortable using the fireplace until we had it checked out by a professional chimney sweep, you said that it was no problem because your boyfriend was a “total pyro”…like that was supposed to make me feel better. You had screaming fights with your boyfriend at 2am and I finally stormed out of my room threatening that I would call the cops and have him arrested for domestic disturbance just so I could get some sleep.

That was when I decided that I was done living with roommates.


  1. Whitney, I love this post, little snippets of life, I wanted to read more, your writing is so good.

  2. That is a lot of roommates and some interesting events. I only had two different roommates, the first couple years in college. One was great, we're still fabulous friends. The other was a total wacko. The stories are hilarious though. I still can't believe some of the sh*t that went on.

    1. Yeah, even *I* can't believe I've lived with that many people! I parted on good terms with the majority of my roommates - some of which I'm still great friends with and others I've just sort of lost touch with over the years.

      That's the one good thing about crazy roommates: you never run out of ridiculous stories to tell at parties!

  3. Haha! I feel like I'm glad I didn't make this list with my ex's table smashing redneck friends :)

    1. That was a random occurrence and had nothing to do with you or your awesomeness as a person and as a roomie. He was also built extremely well and I enjoyed his shirtlessness at our Halloween party ;).

      Our indie movie nights are some of my most favorite memories of living in DC, and I miss your face!

    2. Hahah true..he had that going for him... Yes! Movie nights were the best. I never go see those movies anymore :( I repeat: come back.

  4. Totally funny and yes, well written. I'm so glad I had roommates. You're right that they make the best stories.

  5. aw man, I am simultaneous glad I never really had to deal with the whole roommate thing and devastated that I have missed out on some incredibly special moments and friendships!