Having an American roommate sucks. First of all, it’s annoying to have to share an apartment (or in my case, a house) with someone because you can’t afford the place by yourself at age 28. Then it’s annoying because American roommates don’t follow the standard common-sense rules of living.
A few years ago I had a roommate who didn’t eat anything with melted cheese and hated marshmallows. She didn’t know where anything was in our kitchen – after three years of living together – and when she emptied the dishwasher, she always put everything in the same cabinet. She used to heat up two table spoons of pasta sauce in a big pot on the stove, and she used to keep big piles of things in her room that she never had time to go through. But she was away most weekends to see her boyfriends, and she always took out the trash in the bathroom. We ended up being great friends, despite our differences.
Now, I come home to a disaster most of the time. Laundry everywhere, socks and underwear strewn around the living room (which also doubles as my roommate’s closet) and bras, gym clothes or ballet outfits hanging over doors, chairs or on every doorknob.
My new roommate is always on the way to somewhere else. She never slows down to actually finish anything she starts. She starts a load of laundry and then she leaves. She takes a shower, leaves her dirty clothes on the bathroom floor, and then leaves. She even makes her lunch and dinner to take with her before she leaves.
One day I sat down on the couch to watch TV. A big pile of clean, dry clothes (sort of like the one above) took up most of the couch, so I went to shove the items over to one side. A half-eaten apple was wedged in between a sock and a tank top, just like that.
While my first roommate liked to put everything in the same cabinet, this roommate seems to have a towel problem. I constantly find bathroom towels mixed with kitchen towels or cleaning rags in our kitchen drawer – if they make it that far. Sometimes they just end up in a pile on the living room table, and I have to put them away.
Some of the towels are ripped into two or four pieces, because my roommate apparently need rags for something. Perhaps she couldn’t find the rags that we keep with the cleaning stuff under the sink?
After a weekend away, I couldn’t for the life of me find my electric mixer to make whipped cream. I looked in every cabinet imaginable, high and low – nothing. A few days later, I went to grab a pot holder from our little drawer next to the stove, but it was stuck on something. Then I realized that the mixer had been squeezed into this tiny little space.
One concept that seems to be foreign to Americans is to keep track of their stuff. All roommates I’ve had constantly ask “Is this mine?” or “Is this yours?” How can you not know? I mean, I understand if you don’t know if a tomato is the one you picked up at the store, but don’t you know where the frying pan came from? If you didn’t buy it or get it as a gift, it’s not yours! I got into an argument the other day about a frying pan, where my roommate kept insisting the pan I’ve had since I first moved from my host father’s house in 1999 was hers. Boy, will she be surprised when I move out and take it with me.
While she believes some of my stuff to be hers, she doesn’t seem to know how much stuff she actually owns. Whenever I clear off a table or a shelf – especially in the bathroom – she just fills it with more stuff. It’s like she can’t stop spreading out. If I let her, she would take over the entire house. She has already taken over the kitchen table, and when I clean, I have to pack everything up and put it in her room. Her excuse, of course, is that her room is too small.
I finally bought her a shoe-pocket-thingy that you hang over the door because I was sick of constantly tripping over sneakers and flip flops in the kitchen and living room. The thing fits 24 pairs. My roommate was surprised and said “I don’t even own 24 pairs of shoes!” After she left, I picked up all of her shoes I could find around the house and started filling it up. When it was full, I kept counting. There weren’t 24 pairs of shoes, there were 37!!! And then some odd shoes all by themselves, in addition to that. How can anyone live like this?
But soon, there will be no more peanut butter mixed into my strawberry jelly (I HATE peanut butter!). There will be no more nights when I think I have the house to myself and my roommate strolls in with her boyfriend at midnight and they start ju-jitsuing each other all over the couch, making socks, underwear and sofa cushions fly all over the place…
Soon, I’ll have a place with my boyfriend, and he will be the only roommate I’ll ever need. I can’t wait. When that day comes, I will finally feel like a grownup.