Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Remember the Roommate

I was recently reminded of how difficult it is to share your home with a roommate.

At first you both jump head first to the comforting conclusion that everything really is working out well. You share the rent and the chores and have a joint love for avocados and sitar music, how very perfect.

For the first few weeks you enthusiastically share too much information with each other and glaze your every movement with understated politeness. As the clock ticks, a few dishes pile up and crust and you see less of each other, but both are fine with you. Separate lives are good, we each have our own thing going on and that is why it works, you tell yourself. You even like the feel of cool soapy water on your hands as you wash the dishes, but the milk of your optimism is turning.

You step into the shower one morning and your surroundings finally disgust you, it is raining outside, the dishes are piled up, you have heard the same CD 5 times in the last week and if you want to use my computer please just ask first. You walk by each other in the tiny hallway like strangers. You strain to keep your thoughts and doings a secret. Doors close. Eyes are not met. Their presence sears your flesh.

You complain to friends, it consumes you. Your anger has grown exponentially in recent weeks and you are a twitching mess of emptiness. There is nothing to do but go away for a while. You pack your bags and leave with little ado or information exchanged with your address partner.

When you arrive home things are slightly better, you share stories of your trip. And you are both relieved to talk again and laugh a little. Their face looks subtly different to you because you have not looked at it straight-on in about two weeks. But over time the cycle repeats.

And most times the web of resentment is not the fault of either party, it is just the intrinsic dynamic that a roommate brings. It is as unexceptional and inevitable as smelly socks.

1 comment:

  1. "Their presence sears your flesh."

    I have truly experienced this feeling.
    I loved this post.