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…