My first mistake was thinking a roommate would help make living in the city more affordable.
If one roommate can bring in some cash, just think what three or five could do. I seriously needed someone to split expenses with, but I don’t care much for people, so I had a real conflict on my hands.
If you too are thinking of getting a roommate for financial reasons, learn from my experience. Here are some considerations.
1: 100% unemployment rate
Despite my constant nagging, none of my roommates are employed. Not a single one. When I ask why, all I’m told is that they can’t. Well, that is a fixed mindset and a big part of the problem. Based on my observations, it’s more like won’t.
Last week, one roommate gave me a sob story about how his English isn’t very good so nobody will hire him. Whine, whine.
I was like, “Buddy, your lack of a solid grasp on the rules of grammar should be the least of your worries. Before we tackle that issue, let’s get you to stop sleeping for 19 hours a day and peeing in strange places.”
I’ve tried my best to teach them soft skills, like shaking hands, to increase employability. So far, it isn’t doing any good. I also took it upon myself to sign them up for special classes, which not only costs me money, but hasn’t resulted in a single job lead for any of them.
2: Medical issues
My roommates are always bumming rides from me because none of them have a driver’s license. And they refuse to use public transportation because it’s scary and people are always touching them without asking permission.
At least once a year, I have to haul them to their doctor’s appointments. And every single time, they forget their wallets, so I have to pay the bill. They owe me so much money at this point.
None of my roommates have health insurance. Of course they don’t.
A short while after moving in, one of my roommates was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. Basically, it means that unless he dines exclusively on raw meats, he’ll have explosive diarrhea all over the house. Plus frequent vomiting.
I’m the one who cleans the bathrooms (as well as the rest of the house), and there’s no way I’m cleaning up that mess. So now we have a chest freezer filled to the brim with turkey legs and rabbit carcasses.
3: The mess. Oh, the mess.
Despite implementing an easy to follow, color-coded chore chart, none of my roommates do their assigned chores. My roommates are very, very messy. I keep a rug inside the door for wiping mud and debris from extremities, but I am the only one who seems to understand.
Just the other day, I was sweeping the kitchen floor. My roommate casually strolled over and stood right in the middle of the dirt pile. I couldn’t believe it.
Don’t even get me started on their personal hygiene habits. If you’ve never met someone with breath that smells like French fries rotting in a back alley dumpster, then you’ve never had the pleasure of meeting my roommate.
4: Meal service
For some reason, my roommates demand that I serve them meals. If I’m not moving quickly enough during meal prep, they yell at me.
When I got home from work the other day, my roommate raced to the top of the stairs and started hollering in my face, making very loud barky noises. His tone was super rude.
Sometimes, if meal prep is taking too long, my other roommate grabs a pillow from the couch and shakes it real hard. Now we can’t have nice things. As if we could afford them anyway.
On second thought
I must admit, the situation I’ve gotten myself into is my own fault. All of my roommates were infants when they first moved in. I was under the impression that they age more rapidly than humans. By the time they hit their first or second birthday, they’re supposed to be the equivalent of teenagers, and most teens have jobs. Why should these teens be any different?
Lots of dogs have super important jobs, like as police officers, TSA agents, and models for pet store flyers. I’ve been in countless bookstores and libraries where cats have found employment. I wasn’t so far off in thinking my own dogs and cats could find jobs too. Except they haven’t and now I’m severely outnumbered and drowning in debt.
But on the bright side, their fur is soft (when they allow me to pet them, on their own terms, of course).
And come to think of it, every time I hang out with them, play games with them, or even just look at them, I feel super happy. That’s probably not a coincidence.
Now that I think about it, they’re pretty amazing roommates after all.
Nicole Rusch is mostly a high school teacher, but also sometimes writes things. She lives in Rochester, where she enjoys conversing with her many cat and dog friends and eating candy.