This story written by Malati Marlene Shinazy
As a second born child, with three kids of my own, I like the energy of a house full of people (see previous story, “A Room of Her Own”).
My first roommates were my sisters. In our room we each had a portable / movable closet, bed, desk and chair. And, we had our own sofa. We transformed the configuration of our huge bedroom to meet our regularly changing privacy needs. Sometimes it felt like we lived in three micro-studio apartments. But, when we were done with homework, we’d invite our brother in and it was party time!
In college, as soon as I could move out of the dorm, I rented a house with four other unconventional like-minded students. We ranged in age from an 18 year old sophomore (me) to a second year microbiology Ph.D. student. We had private bedrooms where we spent most of our study time… And on weekends, it was party time!
Once my children left the nest, I had the opportunity to spend several years living alone. I have successfully learned to enjoy my own company, as all self-help books tell us we must do. And, I unequivocally Do Not Like Living Alone …
My house has a living room separating the master bedroom and its bath from the guest rooms and their bath. I decided to rent a guest room to re-experience another human being coming and going, and have extra cash flow… Sounded good on paper.
I quickly found a young man stationed at the local military camp looking for off-site housing. Immediately, my friends beset me with concerns:
1. He might be a slob!
2. He might stiff you on the rent!
3. He might annoy you and you’ll never be able to get him out!
4. He might be a mass-murderer!
With a little due diligence, I determined he was not a mass-murderer. Everything else, I’d deal with after he moved in.
The first few weeks with a roommate were not instantly comfortable…
Turns out it’s against my nature to just rent out a room. I felt bad each time he’d return in the evening and “go to his room.” So, I urged him, “Please, make this your home away from home.”
> Before long, if one of us made a pot of coffee before dashing to work, we’d leave a note: “Free Coffee.”
> When he left all the garage lights on for 48 hours, I requested he mow the lawn – A penalty his wife agreed was appropriate 😉
> And, the skittish, suspicious-of-everyone cat purred incessantly on the rare occasion my roommate and I watched a movie together.
I never did experience any of the worries my friends enumerated and was genuinely sad when he announced his new promotion included moving away.
I thoroughly enjoyed living with my roommate. Although days or weeks would pass without seeing each other, whenever I came home, it felt like home, not just “house.”
Time to find a new roommate… mass-murderers who are annoying slobs need not apply.
photo by SFC Jose “Joe” Garcia
California Army National Guard