Rooming with roomies. In a house with rooms.

Author oh, rebecca. Category

Today I have a friend coming over to see my teeny tiny house, not as a hanging-out visit or to play with my dog or to borrow a dvd or eat my food, not that I have any. He's coming over to check out the living quarters, as a potential roommate.

This, to me, is a Very Big Thing.

I'm a solitary person. Apart from the many many years I spent living with my mother, I've only lived with a handful of people: my best friend in college (Very Bad Idea), two other girls in a house/apartment built into a barn (Not A Lie), and with my last serious boyfriend (Not My Finest Hour).

Very Bad Idea seemed like a great idea at the time. High school best friends, going to college, living the life? Sounded awesome. It was at times - on some levels, it's great having a roommate you've known for awhile. It's also living hell sometimes. Our friendship pretty much died over the course of one and a half semesters, though, all because of a microwave. My microwave, a graduation gift from my aunt, was coming home to live with me after I unceremoniously quit halfway through the second semester, and this made my best friend Quite Mad. It was all so long ago, so immature and trivial, on both of our parts, that for all intents and purposes I've blocked out the worst of it, and now we both choose to gloss over the fact that we didn't talk for about two years after the incident. We've grown up and all but forgotten the intricacies of the situation, but it was Not Pretty while it was happening, and it made me ask myself, if a tight friendship can be torn asunder by a microwave, what chance does any live-in friendship hold?

My second roommate situation went a little better, mostly because it was with girls I'd never met before. After trying again, unsuccessfully, to attend the university I'd flunked out of during the Very Bad Idea era, I got a job doing barn chores at a nearby farm. Pay wasn't much, or anything really, but room/board were included, and it was close enough to the university and the county community college that I could pick up and go to one another if I should choose. Also, it kept most of my college friendships intact, and it was not *that* far from all my favorite bars. (Bear in mind, I was newly 21. I had a LOT of favorite bars.) My two new roommates and I literally lived in a barn - a house that was built into the barn - hence the "Not A Lie." Exit out the front door into the main aisleway; exit out the bathroom to the tack room, to the side aisleway. Other than the gigantic windows in my bedroom that always made me think someone was outside watching me do whatever I was doing even though we were in the middle of nowhere, it was a good experience. Oh, also other than waking up in the middle of the night every two or so hours to go bottle-feed an orphaned foal; that wasn't my favorite part. We were all very different girls, but managed to have fun together and get along pretty well. Even if we did live in a barn. By the way? It is very difficult to explain to houseguests exactly what a breeding dummy it is and why it is the first visible thing on turning down our driveway. After awhile in the barn, I got homesick and came back to Detroit and lived in my mom's house again for awhile, which sucked for reasons that belong in another blog. (Love you, Mom!)

Then, a few years later, I had what we will call Not My Finest Hour. I learned a lot from this experience; namely, that a boyfriend and a girlfriend struggling to get along with each other in the first place should probably not move in together. Oh, especially if they work together, too. For a year and a half or so of being together, I pushed for it till it happened, and then I didn't know what to do, and I couldn't wait to get out, or get him out, or please for the love of God, someone leave already. We fought, we made up, we fought again, made up again. At some point I went to Ohio to visit family, and came back to say "Are we still together? Because it doesn't feel like we are." We'd broken up for hours at a time on countless occasions, and I'd screwed up pretty continuously because I guess I didn't like him that much, but this was it, the real thing, the break-up. That led to a month-and-a-half long stint of walking around on eggshells, tiptoeing around each other as we tried to figure out which of us, if either of us, stayed in the house, and who got what, and when, and why, and how. With some finagling of the finances I figured I could handle it, so we went with that plan, but in the meantime, he had to stay somewhere. Somewhere was there. That was fun. It's a lot of fun trying to sleep on a mangy old lumpy couch while your ex slumbers effortlessly on the queen bed you used to share in the room you used to share, a few feet away. Likewise, I'm sure it wasn't fun for him when my Dude Best Friend, who coincidentally had just come home from being overseas for four years, who I mayyyyyy have had romantic feelings for over the previous many years, came over to pick me up for a sort-of-date. As I said - Not My Finest Hour.

Since then, the only being I've lived with, apart from an assortment of betta fishes, and for a brief stint, a darling cat named Mabel Pauline who ended up being better suited to living at my mom's house, is my pit bull, Frankie. Admittedly, Frank is not the most ideal roommate. I come home from one of my jobs and he is either a) lounging on the couch without a care in the world, sometimes licking one or another of his nether regions or b) sitting guiltily in a corner because he's destroyed a book/shoe/trash can/plastic doohickey in his boredom, nevermind the box of toys and bones and kongs I conveniently place at a doggily grabbable height. He doesn't clean up after he wrecks something, and he sure doesn't clean up after me. Menial chores like dishes and taking the trash out are too plebeian for him. But he's a big black pit bull, so he must make a good watchdog and earn his keep that way right? Well, although I have those signs saying "Beware of Dog," this 'watchdog' is more likely to kill your face with kisses than to attempt any sort of malice or ill will, unless you are actually a cat or squirrel in a human disguise. He only barks when he has to go outside, and much like me, he hides when the doorbell rings. I hate answering the door. It's usually Jehovah's Witnesses.

But now. Now I have bills racking up on bills, and no money, and a second (paying) job not looking likely, and the urgent need to find my horse somewhere else to live (more on that later), and a friend happened to mention that he was looking for a room to rent. That lightbulb went off, and it's not used often so it was a little dusty and flickered with potential conflict and apprehension for a minute before it burned bright, but I offered him my second bedroom, which has always been my library/den, meant (in my mind) only for books and a chair and a lamp to read by.

He declined but thanked me for the offer, and I was inwardly and outwardly relieved, given our somewhat complicated friendship, the details of which I won't dare go into here, other than to say what I just said about it: it's complicated. I had made The Friendly Gesture and offered, but knew he would refuse, and was content and secure in that knowledge.

A few days later, though... the question came up again, from him, and as I've never been fond of the take-back, I didn't bother with that, but reinstated The Friendly Gesture. Before I knew it, I was detailing the ins (few) and outs (many) of the house, and we were talking internet and bills and rent. And now he's coming over today to check out the place, meet that vicious dog of mine, and see the room that may be his room for a while. I've been cleaning like a madwoman, trying to get every room, or most every room, in tip-top shape. I've also been freaking the hell out about things like: our complicated friendship, potentially losing my God-given right to walk around pantsless (or less frequently, shirtless), having someone else in my tiny house when I have to poop or fart, our complicated friendship, whether or not my dog will like him or vice versa, whether he will be a dependable roomie, our complicated friendship. Most of my friends have had a predictable response, given the nature of our complicated friendship, which is now a vastly overused phrase in this post, but the generalities of which you can probably infer by now. That's what worries me the most.

But, being a generally optimistic person, depression and life circumstances notwithstanding, I'm looking at the positives as well: that complicated though it may be, our friendship is still that, a friendship, and there are many times where I need a friend around but don't feel like putting on pants (there's that again...) and leaving the house to find one, and don't feel like inviting people over to comfort me, preferring to wrap myself in a blanket and curl on the couch with my dog and The Big Lebowski. Having someone who goes to all the same bars I go to, who knows a bunch of the same people I know, and who (hopefully) won't let me sit around and throw pity parties for myself every night is gonna be awesome. Or it better be.

Also, I'm not gonna lie... the rent-money-help is quite appealing.

I think the benefits (companionship, monetary helps) are going to outweigh the negatives. I don't have the kind of relationship with him that I had with the people in the Very Bad Idea, Not A Lie, or Not My Finest Hour situations, so who knows how it will end.

Should be fun finding out, though.

Oh, also? After I warned him that I don't have internet, he said he'd pay for it. That's pretty much an automatic win. Right?

2 comments:

angfic said...

OMG Get internet already! hahaha <3

bex said...

It's coming!!!!! He's moving in in like, less than a month. So then I will have it!

But I don't have the Xbox anymore :(

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