Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lessons Learned: The Roommate Dilemma – The Story of Patti

Never again in life will I have a roommate that isn't related or married to me. Wanna know why? Here are a few reasons:

It was freshman year in college; I was at University of Texas at Austin. It was exactly 211 miles from my parents' house in Dallas. Since I had waited to apply for housing (hoping to convince my Dad to let me go to Stanford); I ending up getting a room in the most tragic of dorms on campus. Littlefield Dorm was ancient, filled with all girls and devoid of air conditioning (major FAIL). Again, since I hadn't really planned on attending – I skipped the visit and didn't pre-pick a roommate (another major FAIL).

I was paired with Patti. Me and Patti in a tiny assed room with bunk beds, two desks, one sink and a window fan. Patti grew up literally 4 miles from me in Dallas yet I was only the third black person, not counting her maid, that she had ever spoken to <-- yes, she felt compelled to tell me this. Patti was a very pale Caucasian with light brown hair down to her waist, an unfortunate tendency to speak whatever random thought came to her mind (whether it was right or not), a disregard for others' personal property and a propensity to go blank at the wrong darn times. At night, she believed in brushing her hair 100 strokes before going to bed. For that alone, I could've smothered her in her sleep.

One evening I was actually doing the right thing. I was in my little lower bunk sleeping at ten o'clock on a weeknight. My mother called and Patti answered the phone. She looked over the edge of the bunk and told my mother I wasn't home and hung up the phone. My father called back an hour and a half later; she told him the same thing. He called back one more time and neither of us answered the phone. I slept on, unaware that my life was about to turn dramatic.

The next morning I went to my 8:00am Italian class (I was a freshman, I didn't know better), stopped to chat with folks in the Student Union and strolled back to my small, hot, tiny room. When I walked in the door, the dorm manager screamed out, "Michele, you have a visitor in the lobby!" At 9:15 in the morning? I walked over to the lobby and there wearing a three-piece navy suit and a fierce scowl was BougieDad. He was wildly curious to know why his youngest daughter wasn't answering her phone at 2:00am. This man no doubt stayed up all night and caught the first Southwest Airlines flight out of Dallas to arrive at my dorm crack of dawnish.

He went all the way in: Where had I been? What had I been doing? Who had I been doing it with? He didn't send me to college to run the streets... If I didn't know how to act, I could bring my fast behinds home. I had no idea what he was talking about. I trudged upstairs (we had to scream 'Man on the hall' to announce menfolk) so folks were peeking all in the hallway watching me march my Dad down the corridor. Great moment, seriously.

When confronted, Patti said she didn't realize that "lump in my bed" was me. (Laser beam side-eye) Not able to believe she could be that damn dingy, he wanted proof. I had to literally show the man the dorm sign-in/out sheet and have the RA vouch for me to prove where I was all night. He nodded and took me out to breakfast before catching the 42 min flight home. Thanks to the roomie, I had to check in every night of my freshman year. I say #RoommateFAIL

Sophomore year they sent BougieSis to live with me off-campus since she was attending UT MBA school. Dad said it was more cost efficient. Um-hmm. Actually, after that one night I have checked in with my mother every single day of my life. Moving on…

Let's see, there was the roommate that could not cook and almost burned down the apartment trying to microwave aluminum foil. Yes she did. The next week she tried to warm up food in the oven… still in a Tupperware container. Then there was the roomie I had when I was so broke that we had to share a one-bedroom with a full-size bed. Thank goodness we were good friends cause that was mighty close quarters. We had zero secrets and zero alone time. I'm a girl that needs alone time. Also she used to kick in her sleep. I spent a lot of time sleeping on the sofa.

There were the two roommates who neglected to tell me that my boyfriend was hitting on them. There was the male friend who stayed with me for a few days until moving back South. He had a regrettable habit of rolling around naked with random broads in my bed… and still being there when I got home. Then there was the two week stretch when Gene had nothing to do and just "hung out" with me in Los Angeles. Who knew he was a compulsive 7:00am vacuumer? Who knew he thought it was fun to rearrange my drawers and closet while I was at work? Who knew that with nothing else to occupy his time, he played video games until three in the morning? Some people cannot be idle.

Last but not least was the girl I stayed with for a month until my apartment was ready. She had friends over while I was working and my shoes kept disappearing. Not the Nine West joints, the Via Spigas. Her apartment also smelled a little like Mary Jane. She had one TV in the living room and since she was between jobs, she would watch Lifetime and game shows hour after hour after hour.

That was enough for me… lessons learned. It's the little things that get you with roommates, you don't like their music, their bathroom habits, their table etiquette, their forgetfulness to pay bills or replace toilet paper. With family and S.O.'s, you're invested enough to make it work. You can tell someone that if they leave the toilet seat up one more time you will kill them in their sleep. With others... not so much. I wonder what they would say about me and my roommate skills?

So tell me BougieLand, have you have been blessed with good roommate karma? Got roommate horror stories to share? What age is too darn old to still have roommates? The floor is yours…

43 comments:

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

My first roommate never had social contact with a black person either. A few weeks later I learned that she ran down the hall within an hour of our meeting and announced to a group of white girls that she was scared living with a Negro. It was one of those girls who became a good friend that told me this. I couldn't believe it, and she couldn't either because I was as soft and friendly as a puppy.

Anyway, racist white roommate couldn't bear living with a black person, it was killing her pride and her stereotypes, and she loved her stereotypes. She made up an outrageous lie that she was going through an early menopause, so for medical reasons, she needed her own room.

Leon X said...

Plays "Papa Don't Take No Mess" and watches the comments come in.

kissalife said...

This is too funny. I actually only had one really bad roommate issue. My sophomore spring semester I ended up with a new roommate because my previous roommate had flunked out. How she did that I have no clue she went to class and studied but I digress. Well this roommate was named Elham and she was one interesting person. She was never really there at night but when she was during the day she would sit in the middle of her little twin extra long bed and eat whole onions like they were apples. I mean she would literally sit and peel all the outer layers off the onion and bite into like it was the granny smith apple. The first time she did it I just stared...no clue. We lived in a non-air conditioned dorm in north carolina! Ugh the agony of just thinking about it. The smell would linger for DAYS! I would open the doors and windows and fans, air freshener. Now that I think about it, with her eating an onion like that...might have been the smell coming out of her pores..yuck.

And your dad making that trip something my parents did on a regular...

Sweetpea said...

wow, that was deep.

ASmith said...

In college I didn't have a roommate until my sophomore year, at which point I gained 9 roommates - all female. O_o. Luckily we all had our own bedrooms, but we still had to share everything else (and if you've ever lived with a girl, you know the bathroom is where all the sh*t really hits the fan).

5-6 girls all trying to get ready for a morning class? #fail.
All 10 of us trying to get ready to go out on a Friday night?? #MAJORfail
Passive aggressive notes reminding people to wash their own dishes, take out their own trash and not be loud past 10:00pm? #annoying
One girl sleeping with another girl's boyfriend IN THE HOUSE? #awkward
The other girls (sans me and the other black girl, cause we had better things to do) making it so awkward for the cheater and her partner in crime (in the proverbial sense, said partner didn't actually sleep with anybody she wasn't supposed to) that the parter in crime transferred schools? #hilarious

Anyway, I survived that school year for two reasons: 1) I was rarely there the first semester and spent a lot of time in my room the second semester and 2) I had 1,001 other things to be focused on, on a personal level.

I didn't have another roommate until senior year, that was my BFF and we lived off campus. To date, he's the only non-family member I know I could live with, and wouldn't hesitate to do so.

My current housemate and I get along fine but I'm looking forward to having my own space. I NEED my own space. I've been living with people (as in having to share things -- even if it is just the bathroom) for 23 years and I'm good on all those lessons. I want to leave stuff on the counter and it still be there when I come back in 2 days. I want to walk into my house and be sure that I'm going to know everyone in the living room. I don't want to have awkwardly flirtatious conversations with my roommate's boyfriend because he thinks it's funny. O_o

I think anybody over the age of 30 should be roommate-less, unless you're in grad school in New York. But even still... really?

Foxy Brown said...

i have been blessed with good roommate karma. i hope that continues cause i may have to get a roommate when i move to charlotte. there was one night i wanted to kill my roommate freshman year. she came home drunk and rowdy. woke up everyone one the hall, including the ra and the hall director. the chick she was with claimed she was assaulted, so security got involved. i get kicked out of the room so my roommate, the chick she went out with, the ra, the hall director, and security could talk. girl across the hall gave me a blanket and a pillow. i slept in the hall.

Brown Babe said...

I don't have roommate horror stories, per se...but I have come to the conclusion that I don't do well living with other people. I have lived with two really good friends 3 years a piece - once in undergrad, and the other in grad school. I think if it went on any longer we would no longer be friends...and I'm big enough to admit that its mostly me :o) I'm generally sweet as pie...but after a while I just get tired of being around people and need time to decompress. You don't always get that in shared quarters accounting for differences in personalities - making me super moody, and those little things become cause for war. For me this goes with family and friends a like - if we live together more than a year, the relationship suffers...we are only able to return to being more than civil to each other once we were no longer living together.

SMH...I don't know what I'm going to do when I'm married with children, but I acknowledge I am a work in progress folks!

AppleBerryMIA said...

On a related but unrelated note, I'm thinking of moving in with the boyfriend. Wer're about six months in... thoughts on that?

JaymeC said...

BougieDad seemed like he was NO joke. He didn't wait eight hours to check on his baby girl!

sdwjones said...

My horror story was also at UT-Austin and involved a roommate from the Dallas area (Richland?). My apartment roomie decided to capitalize on my personal belongings while I was pledging a sorority and kind of living in an alternative reality. She wore my clothes (which were too small for her anyway), ate all the groceries without replenishing and failed to pay her half of the rent, which caused the landlord to remove several appliances,( i.e. MY television and other stuff) as ransom for payment. I had to go to the Student Ombudsman office (attorney) and have them work things out with the landlord on my behalf so that only the trifling roomie was evicted. She never did pay me for the groceries her hongry azz ate up. :-)

GrownAzzMan said...

I have not had a roommate since my sophomore year of undergrad so your stories just basically cracked me up. Like you I will only live with an S/O or my child at this point.

OneChele said...

Not to be all up in the biz but this is the guy you met here in BougieLand? Interesting.
As to your question - OneChele does not believe in the shacking unless someone is putting a ring on it. I'm super old school that way though.
Just bear in mind what the moving in means. You are now in each other's lives 24/7/365. Money, music, Moms the whole nine.
Make sure there is more than one bathroom. It's my informed opinion that people really need a place of their own to pee.

OneChele said...

No joke at all. The stories I could tell...

OnlyMe said...

30 is my cut off for rommates unless you live in New York. After I finished school I moved back home for two years (longest 24 months of my life) and then out on my own. Boyfriend wants to cohab, I'm hesitant.

midwestdominicana said...

Give it six more then decide.

midwestdominicana said...

Only had one roommate once and it was for three months. Was my BFF and the three months were great. She was transitioning from DC back to the midwest and needed a crash pad till her rich parents could get her set up. I got some new slipcovers and $100 out of the deal. -_-

However, my brother has a laundry list of the worst roommates ever. From the homo/bi guy who was sleeping with a crack addicted bi girl and her bf, getting it on on the couch, floor, kitchen sink, etc?!! wtf? Their apartment was so bad that my brother rarely stayed there. I went over once and was assaulted at the door by the smell of two week old pizza and rotten garbage..ick and eww. Needless to say that arrangement didn't last long. Then there was the guy who obsessively listened to U2 all times of the day and night. The frat house (nuff said), the crazy 40-something year old who was returning to school and had no family to speak of, so was crashing at a house with two other guys and my brother...he would flip out randomly...i think it was ptsd, personally. I don't know how he did it. Thank goodness he is engaged and living with his almost perfect fiance'. Whew.

FreeBlackMan said...

For once I agree with you Ms. Bougie. The shacking is only good if we know marriage is around the corner. OR if you plan on never getting married and agree to be life partners. But it all better be discussed, spelled out, signed and agreed to before the movers arrive. Once you start merging furniture and washclothes, it's a whole different story. Expectations change, commitment changes and you are firmly locked in coupledom... Good luck with that

ASmith said...

Oh gosh, I'm like this. I'm so easy to get along with but giving me my space is IMPERATIVE to me remaining easy to get along with. Unfortunately, too many of my friends don't understand that and they can be SO overbearing (cause, let's face it, I'm awesome and who wouldn't want to spend every waking moment talking to me or being in my presence?). I have to turn my phone off sometimes (did that last week) just to get some time to myself.

The reason my BFF and I worked is that we're both like that. So it wasn't a problem for either of us to come in the house and the other one be in their room with the door shut (and stay there all night/most of the night). We understood that it wasn't personal and had nothing to do with the other one. We'd go a day or two and not interact at all (which everyone else thought was so wierd) but, it worked for us.

When I'm at home, it's funny because my mom will throw a fit if she thinks I'm going out too much and not spending time with her, but if I stay home all day and I'm in my room and she doesn't see me except for meals? That's perfectly acceptable. It's just how we do. ::shrug::

Mr.TramueL said...

Clever & Witty as always. Word.

I know myself and know that I could never have lived with another man, so the one & only situation that called for a roommate that wasn't blood, was with a female. It was perfect! We were both borderline OCD with neatness and organization, both had few friends so there were few visitors (Translation: no one screaming my name at 3a.m.) Respectful of each other in that way. Things changed when she showed up at my door butt naked talking 'bout she was so alone. Kids, Mr.TramueL didn't smash ... but he now lives alone.

I don't think you are ever too old to have a roommate, the uniqueness of different situations may benefit those involved.

ASmith said...

I'm with OneChele...

Once you move in, why do you need to get married? If that's not something ya'll care about, then go for it -- but if it's something that even just you want to keep as an option, I say wait for the ring... and no, "I'ma get you a ring" is not the same.

OneChele said...

Ooooh... anytime a story has "she showed up at my door butt naked" - it's either really good or really bad...

OneChele said...

You just had to lead with "For once" huh? LOL

Andrea M said...

No Amy, No! I lived with my last SO - moved in after six months... it was too soon and one of us wasn't committed to the relationship but to cost-savings. Ended horribly. Like small claims court, call the sheriff ugly...

RoyalLee said...

No roommates since college. The keg-storing, Kid Rock-looking, trailer park girl bangin', frozen pizza addicted roommate was enough for me. I became enamored with the wonders of Lysol and Fabuloso after him. I know my limits... I can only live with my child and whoever the next Mrs Royal will be.

ConvertingMe said...

LOL at BougieDad coming to Regulate at 8am! (Regulate by Warren G is playing in the back of my mind)

I have had the worst roommate karma.

The one from Okla: who snored louder than an outboard motor on rocket and begin crying ten minutes after her mother left.

The 19 year old freshman: who had never made a bed or cleaned for herself. Total slob and spoiled - never a good combo.

The False Virgin: She preached God - 24/7/366 and claimed she was a virgin. She spoke badly about those who didn't believe in waiting for sex until marriage. Turns out she was pregnant at 14, 15, and 16.

The Liar & The Thief: Twin Sisters who gave new meaning to bad and worse.

I have told the kids once you leave you will not be coming back. I plan on enjoying living alone with the Hubbster but we will need separate bathrooms.

rozb said...

When I was in the Navy I had a roommate while I was stationed overseas that would bring random guys home while I was sleep. If there was any mercy, I slept through everything, sometimes waking up to some weird brother wearing her bathrobe asking me when is breakfast. Oh yeah - she was a sheltered white girl from Texas and was starting to date black men. Or I would wake up to go to the bathroom or something and would hear them getting busy. When this happened I usually turned on all the lights and screamed "HELLLLL NAAAAWWW! GTFOOH!" (You know the full acronym.) The next day she would apologize and try to make a joke out of everything, all while she had her morning cigarette and Pepsi, not even bothering to brush her teeth. She got out of the Navy 6 months later, and tried to start dating black guys in Texas until her father pulled a shotgun on her date and told her she better not bring another N!&&*# to his family. That ended that phase of her life.

I live alone, and if I have to make ketchup soup and put my rottweiler out on the street in daisy dukes, I will remain that way.

OneChele said...

Whatcha know about that Purple Fabuloso?

Annette said...

Unless you are considering a permanent arrangement (marriage), this is not a great idea, and may hasten the end of the relationship. Spend lots of time together, but keep your place until you know it is for keeps.

Gods_Man said...

In my first year of college I shared a school sponsored apartment with three guys who had been friends since grade school. We were two to a room. I think the one guy was bitter that he got the short end of the stick. He flunked out the 1st semester because he spent 6 out of 7 days doing drugs with the guys across the hall. Every now and then some of my things would disappear but for the most part he was gone. 2nd semester I got a new roommate who played basketball. He started "sharing resources" (*ahem) with a girl in the apartment above us and never came back.

2nd year I got new roommates who were major drinkers. We actually set up a bar in the room complete with a drink chart for proper mixing. It was so crazy that I spent 3 weeks total in the apartment across the 1st semester. They ate every bit of food I put in there so I ate out all the time. 2nd semester I moved out of the school apartment and moved in with my then girlfriend, which is a whole other level of foolishness. To AppleBerryMIA I say DON'T DO IT!

Jen said...

have you seen those episodes of Buffy where she is randomly assigned a roommate called Cathy who immediately puts up a celine dion poster, puts 'Do you believe' by Cher on loop, irons her jeans, labels her hard-boiled eggs, makes Buffy log all her calls...?
Buffy insists she must be a demon! Her friends think she's gone stir-crazy. Turns out, in the end, Buffy's right. Cathy IS a demon. It makes sense, come on, IRONING JEANS?!?

Do you think any of your roomies have actually been demons? Could explain a lot!

Reads4Pleasure said...

Let's see, freshmen year I had 2 sets of roomies. Originally I was stuck in a triple with 2 small town girls who were pledging a white sorority. After I woke up to my bed moving (I was in the top bunk) because the chick below was getting her freak on, I moved out. The next roomie used to hump her pillow in her sleep (at least I hope she was sleeping) and call out her boyfriend's name.

Sophomore year I had the pathological liar roomie who wrote me letters all summer about her dad the cardiologist and her stay at home mom. She must have forgotten that she was actually from the college town. I met her mother at church one Sunday who cackled loudly when I told her about the letters. Her father was a phlebotomist and her mom worked at the cable company. This chick also told me she'd never heard Midnight Train to Georgia either. And yes, she was black. Her mom cackled at that too.

After I ran an Indian girl out of the room junior year with my guinea pig, I swore off roomies. I had some chick show up briefly, but my evening routine of watching Jeopardy followed by a spirited dance off to "B better have my money" between myself and my 6'4" flaming friend Raymond in the hall proved too much for her.

bougiesis said...

Just so you know, one Friday night when I was a Freshman, I was in the Lobby watching TV and missed a call from BougieDad. Why did the man call the dorm front desk and have the person who answered track me down? It turned out to be okay to be watching TV but I had to get better at my regular checking in with the Bougie Parents, they were not really about their girls being far way. Mind you it was 90 minutes North. All this to say - no joke :o)

Jasmin said...

Me and roommates = a no. My current roommate and I used to be friends...'nuff said.

Lol, honestly, that was one friendship I knew wasn't going to last, but I thought I could just make it through college and then drift off into the night. :-) My roommate is generally a Debbie Downer and seems to look down on other Black people, while I'm the social butterfly getting her fair share of attention--I don't have time for people who always have something negative to say or those who somehow put off 7th grade until now.

On a "space sharing" note, nothing really bothers/bothered me, except my roommate seems to be hard of hearing (she was basically raised by tv, not parents) and doesn't seem to realize when she's being loud. But I let her know with a quickness (Ashley, I agree passive aggressive = fail. If it's bothering me, I'll tell you, skip that Post-It mess.)

oyan said...

1. AA female room mate who made a 'bad' drug deal. left town, with me to explain to the 'investors'
2. 3 caucasian female room mates who washed their hair every night@ 10p.m.. then walked around the apt in their bikini panties, nothing on top except a wet towel around their necks. With all of the windows open, curtains drawn
4.AA female room mate brings home very suspect date, who rapes her, while I'm in my room watching tv. she never screamed
5. caucasian room mate. w/cancer, who 'came out', and set her sites on me
6. caucasian room mates who filled up bath tub with beer, every other night, and invited the SS Kitty Hawk for the party
got more stories.....but that's it for now

oyan said...

Added: the twins, who were extremely overweight (300lbs at least), who cooked and ate pork products all day. I lasted 2 months with them.

OneChele said...

Wow... just wow.

sunt97 said...

Hey I once went to visit my best friend and while I was there sleeping at the foot of my friends bed and she at the other end, her best invite in her botfriend and proceeded to have sex with him while we were laying there. I was like OMG. 2 months later the roommate dropped out when she found out she was preggers. Than goodness I only had roomates during the summer for only 6 weeks and they were all friends.

Tiffany
Peace, Love and Chocolate
http://liferequiresmorechocolate.blogspot.com

uglyblackjohn said...

Went to college in Hawaii so my parents couldn't just pop in to see how (what) I was doing.
My roommies were kinda' sorry and they would just sit and wonder how I got the the girls they wished would only talk to them.
After that I had a string of male and female roomies who I got along with well.
The trick is to get a large enough house or a double- master apartment.

Sarah said...

I enjoyed the post and your reader's comments. I don't have any crazy roommate stories. The two years I had roommates in college were uneventful. The last six plus months I lived with the last boyfriend were hell, but that is a different topic. The two plus months I stayed with my sister were pleasant and I wouldn't have minded staying if there had been any decent jobs in the area. As long as I have my own room I can retreat to for quiet time, I'm adaptable.

M. Free said...

I had a roommate who use to change her clothes in her bed and literally change her maxi pad while we were watching TV...sometimes in her bed.....

RandomRambler said...

I had a cousin as a roommate and someone who I thought was my BFF as a roommate. Needless to say, I lived by myself my senior year of college and vowed never to have a roommate again (unless he's my husband). Both my cousin and my friend made my life sooooo miserable! They were just rude, inconsiderate, and my cousin made sure that my business made it back to Houston before I did. Two words...NEVER.AGAIN!

www.madnessatitsbest.blogspot.com

nadetteeatreadrant said...

LMAO! i've been blessed with really good roomate Karma. Even when I lived with this random guy and girl who were from minesota and spent a summer in delaware, they were pleasant, clean, and paid their share of the bills on time. if i had your karma, i wouldn't ever want a roomate again.

southernbelle44 said...

So, my BFF in college (we'll call her Farrah) and I decided to room together in the dorm our Junior year. Great idea, we got along fine, and had about the same level of cleanliness. Our senior year, we moved into a 3 bedroom apartment (with her other friend who I really didn't know). I'm a big proponent of cleaning up after yourself. I'm not a neat freak, but I believe the common areas (living room and kitchen) should be clean. They both would cook and not clean the kitchen, i.e. leave dirty dishes in the sink and food on the stove or counter. I even called a house meeting and discussed it, and both ladies said they would do better-needless to say they didn't... I got tired of cleaning up after them and would let their dishes sit forever (really they were my dishes but they used them, too) until one of them cleaned up. Also, she had some friends of the male persuasion over one night when I was sleeping. She told one of the guys (who was a mutual friend) to come into my room and wake me up. Obviously, I was pissed, and let everybody know it. Needless to say, that experience turned me off to roommates (Farrah and I went through a rough patch, but now we're on the right track again). This turned me off to wanting a roommate ever again. Although I was looking for a roommate when I moved last year, I really wanted to live by myself. I currently have no roommates, and the next person I plan to live with is my husband! That one situation (not to mention the issues of dorm roommates in college) has made me appreciate living by myself.

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