If you’re reading this, I applaud you for Googling me. You should Google me, really, it’s the only sensible thing to do in this day and age, me a potential future roommate. I’ve learned a thing or two in my ornamented past about publicly writing about real people, but I’m going to break that rule here, just this once.
I hope I made a good impression on you both, but obviously I couldn’t fully describe myself in a short introductory letter, and I’m even worse at revealing my true character over the phone. The telephone to me is like morning breath, it’s an inevitable aspect of life that doesn’t reflect me in any accurate way, but fortunately it is temporary and I do take care to brush well before engaging in any real-world interactions. I want to give you the opportunity to really get a sense of who I am, though, I feel like it’s only fair. Unfortunately this blog isn’t going to do that, either.
This blog has an agenda. Like most good writing should possess, the writing I do here is starting to adopt a certain voice, a character, and while this character is definitely a part of me, it’s not going to do the whole of me justice. But by all means, read, I’m not saying don’t read this, just that… I’m kind of posing for the camera, here. The things that are going to be most relevant to any given roommate probably won’t be found here.
So what are those things?
The most relevant, I suppose: I do pay my rent on time, no matter what financial hardships I may be going through, I make the rent a priority. I believe I was a day late one of the first few months I last lived in Texas, and it bothered me to no end. I am clean, but as I’ve discovered with my current roommate, I won’t be the only one that cleans, particularly if I know it will only last an hour before there are coffee grounds on the counter again (why is this so hard for him??). I’ll clean the bathrooms and the kitchen and mow the lawn, probably more often than I would if I had some help in this, but less often than it needs. The dude, I swear, I’ve known him forever and I love him without question; he just doesn’t clean up the place but once every three months. Dishes in the sink for a week, maybe more. Maybe because he’s not very good at cleaning. Who knows.
What else. What should you know about me.
I value sleep. It’s very hard to get on my bad side – even if our personalities don’t gel I’ll always treat you with respect and courtesy – but being routinely woken up out of my REM cycle can and does make me rather pissy. I don’t talk much, not just on the phone, I’m not a talker in general, and most people assume I’m shy when they first meet me, but I wouldn’t call it that. I do want to socialize, I do want to find out more about you, I’m every bit as curious about the next person as the next person, but I’m willing to wait it out, for you to reveal yourself instead of being prompted for a chance to invent a self in front of me. If I wanted to know you like that I’d go visit your Facebook page. Or your Tumblr, I guess. Instead let’s just talk about things, world things, funny things, sad things, angry things, smelly things, rumors and stories and music and books and coffee and wine and food. Talk about the world and you’ll show me yourself and I’ll show you myself and before long it’ll feel like you’ve always known me.
I get along famously with animals. Except I’m not big on birds as pets, and I have a phobia of horses.
When I write, and I write a lot, I tend to work pessimism-to-optimism style, like I’ll start out focusing on the absolute worst side of any situation and just get that out of me like I’m extracting some toxin, because the whole goal of it is to come out clean on the other side. I write to purge the world of its undesirable bits by detailing them, calling them out, speaking the name to take their power, and since my world starts with me, my first impulse whenever I sit down behind a keyboard is to get on record about what bullshit stupidity I’ve managed to get myself into lately. And it kind of works. I sometimes wonder how people who don’t write every day still wake up to face the world, because I don’t know of any other coping mechanism that will so directly allow you to face the demons, and in doing so, see that their claws aren’t so big.
If I write long enough, the world is a sunny, smiling place. Flawed, but that’s what makes it perfect.
Now then. S—–, who called me first, you would be my first choice to live with. You not only came off as completely cool and laid back, but also you surprised me in your concern for my situation, how insistent you were that I come down and meet any potential roommate because that’s the only real way to get to know them. To use your term, to “feel their energy,” which is the reason I won’t likely get to live with you and your brother and whoever, because you wholeheartedly believe this is a necessity. I both agree and don’t agree. I would definitely choose to meet with you before doing this blind, but I’m also not afraid of doing this blind. There would be great things about living in a house not far from the river in a secluded setting for an affordable rent, and there would be not so great things, and almost no things from either category are predictable.
It’s like watching movie previews, I think. Maybe the preview is great, full of all the stuff you like, Clooney’s in it and there’s neon-blue ponies and it’s directed by that guy who did Shawshank, everything you love. This is a movie that will probably not live up to the hype in your own head. You may still love it but it won’t be why you expected to love it, and quite likely you’ll walk out of the theater going what the hell, shaking your head, like. Or maybe the preview isn’t that great – that gross Clooney’s in it and those fucking ponies, but the guy who did Shawshank directed it, so it’s got a shot. Going into this one with lower expectations, you might come out hating it, but you’re giving it a fairer chance. And either way, if you do love it, it won’t be for reasons you expected. And if you do love something for the exact reasons you expected to, then you’re not allowing yourself to grow, and I’ll try not to spend a whole lot of time around you in the future.
My roommate expectations are low, and maybe, S—–, yours are fairly high. Maybe you’ve just had a great roommate experience and want to duplicate that, and believe me, I’ll do my best, but if we would get along famously it wouldn’t be for reasons you’d be able to name after one cup of coffee.
Or maybe you’re better at picking out movies than I am. But that energy theory isn’t something I’ve really considered before, and already there’s a reason for me to like this movie that I didn’t expect.
Plus, and this is just for the sake of being totally honest, you sounded just bangin’ hot over the phone, I’m not even kidding, I was honestly kind of distracted by it and did my best to make that fact irrelevant to the proceedings. Especially when you said you played tennis in college, I was all, oh that’s just not fair. But this is the only time I ever intend to bring it up, even if (and this has absolutely never been my experience, not even once) you do turn out to be bangin’ hot, I will keep that shit under my lid. We do not talk about Fight Club. If you’re hot, you already know it, I don’t have to say it, and anyway I’m looking for the least drama in a living situation possible, I’m not about to start hitting on my roommate.
That said, if we don’t wind up living together, you want to maybe go play tennis sometime? Cup of coffee? I’ll buy.
Now, at the risk of things getting confusing, but it’s not my fault the universe works this way, I want to address S—-, the other person who called me back. I want to say to you again, I am sorry I didn’t catch your name that first time, but you called just a few minutes after the other S called me, and your number said it was from Pennsylvania, which first made me think my pregnant sister was calling but I don’t think she’s due for a couple months, and then by the time I caught back up to speed I’d missed your moniker. Plus you just, you talked a lot.
This of course is not at all a bad thing. Being a person who doesn’t talk much, I tend to gravitate towards the talkers, and I’m glad to find them when I do. It was just, such a contrast to the slowly developing conversation I had just had, which felt more like a passive exchange of necessary information between two people who suspected they might really get along, whereas you were doing the opposite. If I may say so, your approach to the conversation seemed to come from the pessimistic side. Perhaps this is the way you garden, too: your first goal in the conversation seemed to be to get rid of the weeds. And I really appreciated it, believe me. You were doing me the courtesy of making sure I knew exactly what kind of situation I would be getting myself into. And it sounds like a hell of a good time.
I’ve met people like you before, I think, the people who put their money where their mouth is, the people who walk the walk. I try my best to do the same, but I make things easier on myself by not talking that much, and I’ve never gone so far as to raise my own chickens. You have some very clear, noble, enviable life philosophies, and you live by them, and I wasn’t just being courteous when I sounded impressed (though I felt like I sounded like I was just being courteous – that’s the phone for you, or for me, at least). I would greatly enjoy being around somebody like you on a daily basis because your life would challenge me to make my own life all the more impressive to me. It does make me nervous how much energy you seem to have; I wonder if I could keep up. Which is to say just being aware of a person near me who gets twelve things done before breakfast and still has time to read the paper, that’s going to inevitably affect me and my own behavior. Right now my roommate puts all his energy into his two jobs, and when he’s at home he’s either drinking or sleeping, and so when I’m at home I’m either trying to be quiet or getting ready for work or for sleep according to some routine, and if the routine is broken I tend to forget things. Like if the phone rings at the wrong time I might forget my lunch. It’s such an unproductive environment for me; my house right now feels like a cave, built for hibernation, but since you work out of the house, invite people over to the house to help you work, host giant collaborations of cyclists for which you make all the food, I can only imagine the shake-up in store for me and my petty routines.
What do I want you to know about me, S—-? Only that I already think who you are and what you do is fantastic, and that I really believe living with you would be a great thing for me, and I would hope I could contribute more to the house than just the rent. I do believe in what you believe, from what I can tell. We should grow as much as our own food as possible, and live as greenly as possible, I can’t stand the burning of fossil fuels, the wasting of nonrenewable resources, it’s like the world has never before eaten a pizza. With a pizza so clearly divided up into portions, especially a delicious pizza, every time you pick up a slice you’re getting a literal pie chart displaying how much of the resource you have left, it’s nonrenewable for at least an evening, you couldn’t in good conscience order another one and you need to save the leftovers for lunch tomorrow besides, soclearlyyou have to stop halfway through. Four-eighths. There must be some for later.
Every time I fill up my tank, I have a vague awareness that I’m cheating at something, that I’ve said an overly casual “oh well” to the disappearance of twelve gallons of a magic liquid which will never exist again. But I haven’t been strict enough with myself on this. I biked most places I went in Texas and Virginia, and I want to have the opportunity to do that again, but here in Ohio I live almost thirty miles from my place of employment and it just isn’t feasible.
I want to be greener. I want to be proud of the choices I make. I want to live with someone who doesn’t put his beer bottles in the trash even though I set up the paper bag for recyclablesright there, I mean it'sright nextto the can, just put it in there!
Also I want to be more assertive with people. It’s hard with him, though, I’ve known him since we were li'l squirts. Which is to say teenagers, raising hell, smoking cigarettes out behind the bowling alley. But before my rebellious teenage years I was raised in the dirt, in the garden, we did grow about an acre’s worth of food every year while my parents still had the back to put into it, we had apple trees and blueberry bushes and even a shitty grape vine, I mean we lived off the land and I was proud of that and I still am. I would graciously accept your offer for space in the garden, and I would plant whatever would help me make a more delicious and healthy pizza, because sometimes I think pizza is just the only thing in life, just the only delicious thing.
Whatever happens, S and S, thank you for looking this up. I do think I am a fair roommate, and I try to be a good person. I really do. Whatever happens, I would like to meet both of you in person one day, I think. I’d wager the both of you would improve my life to be a part of it.