Living with people after high school hasn't really been something I've had much success with. Growing up at home was pretty normal. I mean the standard conflict about my messy room, or having not cleaned the bathroom existed, but that was pretty basic. And aside from those things, I survived without too much drama.
Once I left for college however, it was a whole new ballgame. I was not aware that some people could be so otherworldly oblivious, or that 2 people could have so many different things to disagree on. Here now, is a brief history of my college roommates.
My first college roommate took it up on himself to let his friend sleep in my bed the 3rd night I knew him. I came home late to find a strange woman sleeping in my bed. It is not nearly as cool as it sounds.
I left that situation after 3 weeks to get my own room, but I had a suite mate whose friend would take Adderall and bang on my window like a savage at 4 in the morning. I was too scared to even open the curtain.
Then my next roommate liked to smoke pot. So much so that he got taken out of our apartment in handcuffs by the police. I think that he thought I called the cops because the next day he took the TV out of the living room and moved it into his room. I never told him that the cops had been walking past our balcony and heard him say, and I quote, "This is some really good pot!"
Then I had roommates in Italy. One of which dropped a giant glass beer bottle next to my bed while I was away one weekend and didn't tell me until I found a shard of glass on the floor the size of a shrapnel grenade. I asked him what happened. He said he didn't remember.
So it stands to reason that by the time I left college I was done with roommates. (Aside from the 2 extra years I lived with my parents, which is a story for another time)
When I finally moved into my own apartment last year it was the greatest relief of my life. I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and never had to worry about about anybody else cramping my style.
One of the benefits of having your own apartment is being able to open up your home to your dear close friends who need a place to stay when they come to visit. I have been more than willing to offer my pullout couch to the half dozen or so of my friends who have been brave/masochistic/desperate enough to spend a couple of nights at my place.
As I started preparing my apartment for my guests to arrive, I began having flashbacks to cleaning my room when I was a kid. My mother was so emphatic about every inch of the house being spotless before our guests arrived.
Did you vacuum under your bed?
No. Why? Will our guests be sleeping under the bed? Are they trolls?
Did you dust?
What do you mean did I dust? Of course I didn't dust. I never dust. Why would I dust?
All of this effort seemed extremely unnecessary. Would I ever really care if my home was that clean?
The answer of course, is yes.
I did not expect the neuroses I would develop about having my apartment being clean enough so that my friends wouldn't think I was some kind of filthy hippie when they arrived. I immediately began channeling my mother and putting everything away.
I found myself refolding the clothes that were already in my closet. Like my guests were going to throw open my closet doors, find unfolded shirts and say... "What is this? Unfolded shirts? I am outraged! I am leaving this dump!"
But some things can't be hidden. Things like 10 pounds of protein powder in a giant blue keg. I couldn't really put that away. What would my friends think when they saw that ridiculous purchase? Or the PedEgg in my bathroom? Try as I might I still can't find a great reason for owning that.
I tried to remember what it was like when I stayed at my friend's place in California last year. She is so sweet and when I arrived she told me to make myself at home. But instantly I knew she couldn't possibly mean that.
Even though we were good friends, I think she would have been quite shocked to find me sitting on her couch in my underwear at 2 in the morning drinking out of the OJ container while watching Britney Spears videos on YouTube.
I mean it's just a hunch.
Not that it is a normal nighttime activity for me, but ya know... sometimes.
But I didn't act like myself when I got there. I acted like a really awesome version of myself. And I did that by being as agreeable as humanly possible. I become a yes man. In order to make it easy as possible on my host, I just go along with everything.
Hey Rich I don't have a spare bed. Would you mind sleeping on our unfinished deck full of rusty nails and rabid cats?
Hey Rich I wake up at 6 am and scream like a banshee for half an hour, do you mind?
Not at all.
Hey Rich for breakfast I always eat half a sheep brain, would you like one?
Give me a whole!
And sure enough the friends that came to stay with me were extremely flexible. Even though my neuroses had me making sure everyone had a different colored towel to use so nobody would get confused and use the same towel, my hosting screw ups went nearly unnoticed.
Like when I forgot to replenish the toilet paper stash before I went to work in the morning. Or when I forgot to turn on the A/C before they went to sleep in my sweltering living room. They didn't seem to mind.
But I did need to acclimate myself to having people in my home. I had to remember to do little things I didn't normally have to. Like close the door when I went to the bathroom, or put on pants when I walked out of my room in the morning.
As it turns out I really like being a temporary roommate to my friends for short periods of time. It is like a vacation from your own life.
And if you'd like to stay with me, I'd love to have you. Just let me know in advance so I can hide my protein keg and practice putting on some pants.
Oh and by the way, I actually wake up at 5 to scream like a banshee. I hope you don't mind.