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Having Roommates

1 rating: 1.0
Not having enough money to live alone, so you share a place with your friends.
1 review about Having Roommates

If it weren't for the whole "cleaning" situation, this would be boss.

  • Dec 16, 2008
  • by
With the exception of one year, I've always lived with people I've known well and liked. 

This one year exception was a year I spent with 3 total strangers, three girls I moved in with when I was working for a year as an English teacher in Spain.  Since Spanish is not my native language, I was always a bit shy around them, and their natural-born fluency in the language intimidated me.  They were also very loud, and never hesitated to speak their mind.  I was, frankly, a little bit scared of them.

Because I was afraid of them, and because the head of household was one particularly domineering 29-year old girl named Elena, that apartment was the cleanest place I have ever lived.  This was because Elena kept us all on a strict cleaning schedule.  Every week, one of us would clean the entire apartment: this included two bathrooms, one of which was equipped with a bidet into which Ana, my other roommate, would often use as an ashtray, one kitchen, one mile-long hallway, and one living room.

In an effort to be helpful, and because I had a lot of time on my hands (my teaching schedule only ran between 12 and 15 hours per week), I volunteered to make a chart.  The chart, I felt, would eliminate confusion, and put pressure on people to be sure to do their cleaning.

I did my cleaning every week.  I've never cleaned so much in my life.  I never once missed my week.  I did my mopping, sweeping, and scrubbing dutifully, and I felt like a valuable member of the household. 

It was when it was Ana's turn to clean that I would get most nervous.  This was because there was an underlying current of mistrust and disgust between Ana and Elena that I, the blubbering foreigner, always ended up in the middle of.  Like the time Ana burned a bag of popcorn in the microwave right before Elena had plans to go away for the weekend.

She was disgusted.  How could Ana do this?  This was absolutely disgusting.  Katie, you better tell her to clean this up.  It better be cleaned up by the time I get back.

Of course, I had no intention of telling Ana anything of the sort.  I decided that rather than get in the middle of this heated (no pun intended) issue, I would make myself scarce.  If I didn't see Ana, then I couldn't be held responsible for telling her that Elena was mad about the popcorn.  In retrospect, I now see that the easiest thing would just be to tell Ana, but, as I've mentioned, I was scared of both of them.

My plan worked until Sunday night.  Elena was due to come back late that night, and I hadn't been home all weekend, preferring to spend time with my friends that I was not scared of.  Ana wasn't home either, and I was home safe.

Then I had a troubling thought.  If Elena came home and the popcorn wasn't cleaned up still, there would be hell to pay.  But Ana wasn't there for me to tell.  So I took a rag and cleaned up the popcorn, hoping to maintain peace in the household.

I'm not proud of the above story, but I think it illustrates some of the extreme dynamics that can occur when you have roommates.  The bottom line is, if you want a clean house, you need to be open and honest with your roommates.  Or, make sure that they're scared of you.  It's a pretty effective tactic.
Clean up!

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