Thursday, April 07, 2011
It's been a long time since I've had to worry about roommates. How to get them. How to keep them. How to keep them honest. I confess that I was lucky through most of the years that I was living with people other than my immediate family. I was fortunate to have friends who needed a place to live as much as I did, and we were able to get along for the year or two that the lease required. Of course, I was also a big fan of the one bedroom no-roommate experience. That meant that there was no worry about who forgot to pay the phone or water bill. It was all on me, and the lights never went out, and the water was always mostly warm when I got in the shower. This was not the case when I moved into my first apartment. I moved into a two-bedroom townhouse with the guy who lived across the hall from me in the dorm at Colorado College. When we transferred to the University of Colorado, we decided to live off campus: by about one hundred yards. The location was ideal, we just needed another couple of guys to take the other bedroom, since the rent was a little expansive for full-time students, even with my supplemental income from my job at Arby's. We interviewed a few people, but we were mostly concerned with the ability to pay rather than the ability to get along. The first guy we met hit all the right notes: funny, wealthy family to make sure the checks kept coming, and good-looking. That last bit we hoped would bring more women to our bachelor pad. Then we were stuck. The next few interviews didn't do much to instill confidence or our sense of adventure. We waited until the first day of classes before we settled on Bill. Bill was a tall guy with a big, blond moustache. He had money in his checking account, and he didn't appear to have any particular issues. But we had never lived with Bill. As the weeks wore on, we discovered that Bill was a bit of a hippie. Not the Grateful Dead version, but the social conscious kind. He wanted us all to shop at the local vegetarian co-op. It didn't seem to register with him that the other three guys with whom he was living were big-time carnivores, and our shelves tended to be stocked with corned beef hash and hamburger helper. My buddy from Colorado College was such a brand name aficionado that he refused to eat anything but Miracle Whip on his Oscar Mayer bologna sandwich. When you add in the late night guitar playing in the nude, Bill was not long for our little enclave. Soon, we found ourselves sitting around the kitchen table plotting ways to get him to move out. We would cover his part of the rent, since it meant we would never again have to hear his warbling version of "Roadhouse Blues." Finally, it fell to me as the elder statesman, to deliver the bad news. "It's not you, really. It's us. We're just not ready to evolve, I guess." He was gone at the end of the month. I saw him a couple more times on campus, and he went the other way. I can't say I blame him. We weren't particularly kind in our treatment of him or his moustache. Little did we know that this same interaction, some fifteen years later, would get us our own reality TV show. How times change.