Thursday, April 17, 2008

Life Lessons

I am mostly nice, but sometimes I write things that are mean...

I am one of those people that is scared to speak up without knowing what I am talking about. I think it goes back to elementary school when I once responded to a question and some of the other kids laughed at my answer. In their defense, they were 8. Also in their defense, I said pianos were percussion instruments, so I guess I deserved it, but it still affected me deeply. Even now decades later, to avoid people laughing at my responses (and the possible crying that followed the elementary school incident), I just don't speak unless I know what I am talking about. It isn't easy, but this means that in order to talk at all I have to try to remember as many tidbits of information from as many sources as possible.

I am 36 years old now, and as such I feel like I have at least a good enough knowledge base to talk about many subjects. I keep on learning though, mostly from my friends. A few years ago I was grateful to have them to rely on to inform me about a whole new world of female specific information. I am thankful ladies, it was much appreciated. Now I can talk about fingernails.

I also pick up information from other people I associate with. Sometimes I meet someone who just has an incredible amount of knowledge about many and varied things. Over the last year I spent a lot of time with one such person. He was my roommate, and all I can say is that his set of ideas was very foreign to my collected experiences. Some of what he had to say was surprising. Pretty much all of it blew my mind and made my head shake. Somehow my inner censor has gone on vacation and I suddenly feel that it is appropriate to share these ideas on the internet for everyone else to see.

Please, dear readers, I invite you to expand your worlds with the top fifteen ideas and notions of my former roommate:

  1. If you want to brush your teeth and watch TV at the same time then do so. Take off your shirt, fill a glass half full of water. Take that glass, your toothpaste, and toothbrush into the living room. Have a seat on the couch and start brushing. When your mouth is full of frothy toothpaste, just hork it out into that glass and continue watching TV.

  2. All human behaviour can be predicted by having someone answer a 15 question test, then assigning one of four colours to that person based on his or her answers.
    i) Believe this system to be the ultimate tool for interpersonal relations, assume it is completely infallible, and never bother to critically analyze the process. *
    ii) At random intervals remind your roommate that she is a green. If your roommate looks puzzled and says "agreeing to what?", just get agitated and loudly repeat "You're a green!" until she understands.

  3. It is ok to ignore your roommate when she says hello, as long as you feel she does not show enough variation in how she says hello.
    Tell her that repeatedly greeting you with the same old word 'hello' everyday is boring.
    ii) It is also ok to ignore your roommate if she says "Afta'noon Guv'na".

  4. Phone calls are the most important part of the day.
    If your story cannot achieve a four hour run time, then call multiple people and tell them all the same story until four hours has elapsed. Example. if you just got a job as a "Food Services Worker" at a hospital, and you want to tell people you just got a job at the hospital organizing diets for patients. Since that only takes 8 minutes to relate you must call thirty people.
    ii) 70 long distance phone calls per month is not out of the ordinary.
    iii) When talking on the phone, do so in the living room, but make sure your vibrating bed in the bedroom is constantly vibrating.
    iv) The louder you talk into the phone, the better people can hear you. Speak so loud that anyone can hear you in any room of the apartment. Immediately after getting off the phone, knock on your roommate's door and tell her to turn down her TV because you can hear the voices through the wall. Never realize that she just listened to four hours of your voice coming through the wall and didn't complain.

  5. Seminars solve every problem.
    i) It is not weird to spend lots of money in order to attend a seminar on debt management.
    If a seminar urges you to find a job that makes you happy, and also tells you that you should wait 90 days before making any major life decisions, then immediately quit your job and give them 90 days notice.

  6. If your roommate cleans up after you, do not try to be more tidy. Instead act insulted and belittled.
    If you put your phonebook on the couch every day, and every day your roommate moves it from the couch to the end table, then this is to be taken as an insult.
    ii) If your roommate moves your pen from the couch onto the end table, this is also an insult.
    iii) If you put your newly purchased percussion practice pads, drum sticks, the box from said pad and sticks, your music books, a pad of paper, and the bag in which you carried everything home on the couch, and your roommate moves them all to the end table, then get very angry over this incident and confront her.

  7. Anything to do with alcohol is awful.
    i) Anything to do with alcohol is to be considered a sign of 'classic alcoholic behaviour'. Mention this term often.
    ii) When it comes to alcohol, try to behave as if you are the president of the dry grad committee in grade 12. In other words, act like you (and everyone else) is still in highschool.
    iii) If necessary, inform your 36 year old roommate that drinking doesn't make her cool. Then say the following phrase softly and slowly to drive in the point, "Drinking is not cool."

  8. Sex is gross. So is kissing.
    i) Noises of disgust should always be made at the mention of sex or kissing, even if it is mentioned by characters on a TV show.
    ii) Disgust must also be displayed if there is no mention of sex or kissing, but you have made a leap of reasoning that a certain situation has lead to sex. Example: If your roommate's best friend comes over and spends the night, then the next morning you must look disgusted and ask your roommate which of you slept on the floor.

  9. If you are accustomed to putting your dirty dishes on the counter top, it is impossible to learn to put them in the dishwasher. If questioned about why you put dishes all over the counter just say "because I lived by myself for too long I can't change now." This answer works for lots of things, like learning not to put all your belongings on the couch. Or like wanting to keep a giant record player where it blocks an entire hallway.

  10. Never EVER take your clothes out of the dryer or washing machine because this is your roommate's duty.
    Once your roommate has taken your clothes out for you, please feel free to get mad at her for putting them on your bed. Tell her that beds have a lot of germs that you really don't want on your clean clothes.
    ii) Once your roommate has learned to put your clothes on the top of the dryer, make sure to immediately fill both washer and dryer with a new batch of clothes. Leave the clothes in there for her to take out and put with the other clothes already on top of the dryer. The ultimate goal is a mountain of clothes on top of that dryer.

  11. Plastic, paper and cardboard recycling must be a top priority. If your roommate throws out some cardboard, please make sure to retrieve it and put it in the huge 127 litre garbage bag in the laundry room. The recycling must occupy more space in the laundry room than do the washer and dryer.
    i) Despite being your personal cause, you must store your recycling in the apartment, and never ever take it to the recycling bin unless your roommate offers to drive you because the cardboard sitting in the small laundry room has taken on a musty, damp smell.
    ii) You must often tell your roommate how important recycling is, yet never even buy a cloth shopping bag. Always get the little white plastic shopping bags. Don't buy proper garbage bags that conveniently fit your kitchen garbage container. Insist on using the tiny plastic shopping bags instead, so that they don't go to waste.

  12. If a piece of furniture can fit into a room (or hallway), then placing it there is fine - even if there is no place left to walk through that area (or hallway). Example: a two foot wide, 5 foot long console record player clearly fits perfectly in the three foot wide, seven foot long hallway. The presence of such a console record player looks awesome to you and in no way looks congested, cramped, cluttered, out of place, or ugly.

  13. Old couches can be worth $1300 if you put $1300 worth of reupholstering and wood refinishing into them, therefore they should be heralded as valuable antiques even before a single dime has been spent.

  14. Anything older than the 1977 is an antique and must be kept in the apartment even if there is no room. Even if made of particle board covered in a faux-wood plastic veneer. Even if it says "Sears" on it. Even if it is a five foot long console record player and you do not own any records. Even if it is really really ugly and blocks the entire hallway.

  15. Sudden loud grunting and violent jerk spasms are fine as long as you say they are caused by a mild case of Tourette Syndrome coupled with a form of Restless Leg Syndrome (even if you only do them during commercial breaks on whatever TV show you are watching, or during pauses in conversations). Loud burps are also acceptable due to your inability to prevent them (I assume from the Tourette Syndrome again).

  16. All behaviour except yours is rude.
    It is your job to point out rude behaviour. It is never ever rude to tell someone that they are being rude. Tell them as often as possible. Include an exaggerated, exasperated sigh and an eye-roll when telling someone they are rude.

That is it, the top 15(+1) things I learned from my former roommate. I'd like to say I hope you learned something from him, but I am pretty sure you didn't. I'm even more sure that you just learned that I am a vindictive bitch for writing this. You are completely right. I have done no good whatsoever by posting this potentially hurtful article. ... Still, it was a rough year for me. I am still decompressing. Besides, this is my blog, and writing about things that upset me makes me feel better. Perhaps if we hadn't had two fights on his last day here, I wouldn't feel the need to write about his impact on my life.

  • BONUS MOVE-OUT SPECIAL #1: When cleaning it is not necessary to make things clean so long as the actions are carried out.
    i) When washing your bedroom walls, don't bother doing a good job. Just run some water over a dishrag from the drawer near the sink. Don't even consider using cleaner either, unless your roommate makes you use some.
    ii) When steam cleaning the carpet, if you run out of water then do not stop. Believe in your heart that the action of pushing the machine across the carpet is still good enough, even if the carpet doesn't get wet. If confronted by someone claiming the carpet isn't clean, then just say the carpet is just that dirty, that you pushed the thing around already and shrug it off as being done. Then put on your jacket and get ready to leave.

  • BONUS MOVE-OUT SPECIAL #2: If you have an item that you do not wish to take with you when you move, simply 'give' it to your roommate before leaving. If your roommate says "Warren, I don't want it." then say, "Throw it out then. It's yours. I don't care what you do with it." This logic is infallible to you, and to argue with it deserves an angry response. If your roommate absolutely insists that you are responsible for this item, then yell "FINE!" and storm off with it.

* This colours test is funny. Once you have identified your colour you look up the description in a book and it is shocking how much that description will sound like you. Just for fun I looked up the other colours too and holy shit they all sounded just like me! I am sorry but sometimes you are confident, sometimes you are funny, sometimes you are emotional, sometimes you are organized... any one person is all the colours of the rainbow. Those colour description paragraphs are just specific enough to be different from each other, yet general enough to allow us to see ourselves in each one. I wonder why people don't realize this.


Eight Lives Left said...

This is a wonderfully well-written post and I am just sorry you had to go through something like that. Your roommate sounds highly annoying and judgmental. Good riddance!

Anonymous said...

I'm just hoping that he didn't leave you the 5ft long 2ft wide particle board with plastic veneer old console record player that probably weighs 300lbs as one of his "gifts" to you. But maybe we could push it off your balcony... that could be fun.

Nick S said...

Words fail me..

All I can say is, I'm glad I no longer have a roommate.
My old roomy used to write a note and tape it next to a drop of spilt Ketchup on the sideboard with an arrow pointing at it saying " have you seen this ? ".

Thank for the hilarious read :-)

dykewife said...

what a genuine asshole! of course, that's insulting a very functional and useful body part. no one needs to be inflicted with such an assholian dickwad. your life must be so much more pleasant without him there.

Sarah J M said...

No no! Warren is not an asshole.

He just lives by different rules. He has a set of standards that most people would think are silly. He thinks the world is more complicated than it is. He places importance on unimportant things. He sees meaning in situations where there isn't any. He sees the world in a way nobody else does. Calling Warren an asshole is like living with a Martian and calling him an asshole just because you don't understand his ways.

I can sum it up for you right here: To borrow from his "Colours" method of defining people, I think we had so many problems because he is a Yellow and I am a Green. Put the two of us in a room together and you get... light green.

I'm sure to Warren what I just said made perfect sense. Beyond making sense even. To his ears such a statement would ring with truth and drip with meaning... but to everyone else that analogy is a complete waste of thought.

Jessiegreer said...


You are such an excellent writer. You tell stories that constantly evoke strong emotions in the reader and keep us wanting more. You are also incredibly hilarious. And believe me, i'm laughing. But not at you, like all those mean 8 year olds.

Keep it up, girlfriend!!!!