Allison Plean: Roommates for rent

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I walked downstairs in my house to find our couches, coffee table and TV gone one morning. Either we'd been robbed, or my roommate with all the nice furniture moved out.

I've had 25 roommates since I left the parental nest, and that doesn't include the gratuitous couch dwellers. We spend a lot of time with these people, and they can make a big impact on our lives.

My roommates have run the gamut during the years.

There's the roommate who eats your last ice cream sandwich and breaks all your things and never replaces any of it. There are those who bring home everyone from the bar at 3 a.m. when you have to work at 6 a.m. And, of course, there is the roommate who takes in a pregnant stray cat whose water breaks and starts delivering seven kittens on your bed. (True story.)

I've also had some of the best roommates a girl could hope for. One roommate used to wake me up in the morning by waving a faerie wand and dancing and singing on my bed. Another roommate and I got locked out on our balcony on our first night at our new apartment. We were stuck out there in sub-zero temperatures for six hours, but we laughed the entire time.

Roommates play a very instrumental role in our young adult lives. Residents of the same house or apartment tend to morph into mini-cultures and micro-families. They also make the rent cheaper, they can bring you a spare key when you lock yourself out of your car, and sometimes, they even make banana bread.

They are your first line of defense when your bathroom runs out of toilet paper, even if they put it on the wrong way.

The tricky part about roommates is that they know more about you than anyone else. They are privy to your secret life that boyfriends and best friends may not even be aware of. They know you take really long showers and listen to the same sad song on repeat every time you have boy trouble. They know what kinds of food you left in the refrigerator for six months too long. And they may know about gross habits, such as my roommate who use to eat egg whites with ketchup in the middle of the night.

Our homes are supposed to feel like the safest places in the world. That's one reason why it is so important to live with someone you trust. It's tough when you come home from a long day at work to find a passive aggressive note waiting for you on the kitchen counter. But there are very few people who know an easy way to confront conflict.

This time, it took me two months to find new roommates. It's hard enough to find people who can commit to a job in this town, much less a lease. I put an ad in the paper but didn't call back any of the more than 20 people who responded.

I just wasn't ready to start the interview process that gets trickier the older you get. Or maybe I didn't want to deal with moving out or moving on. I just want to come home to my safe little place, where I don't have to worry about passive aggressive notes or robbers.

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