Theme IX, Games: The Roommate Lottery

By Mickey Shiotani

About a month ago, I switched dorm rooms with another student. Though the time and energy put into packing and unpacking my clothes could definitely have been used to study for my midterms, I was relieved at the idea of a fresh start, an opportunity to finally take control of my life instead of having to look out for my roommates. Once I got settled in to my new room, however, I was struck by a realization. Instead of the background cheers of the crowd in Madden 14 and my roommate’s laundry all over the floor, I was faced with noise from the unidentifiable but overall discomforting business along Third Avenue at night. What I had thought of as an escape to freedom was an invitation to play another game. Though the difficulty levels may vary, freshman must nevertheless confront the near-impossible task of making a room shared by multiple people a livable environment for themselves. After asking some of my friends, I have come up with the most common conflicts I have observed within the past few months.

Common Room

Jake (Third North) vents to me of the countless times he’s had plans to watch a basketball game after studying, only to realize his suitemate and ten other friends watching college football. Make your suitemates work for that spot —  have your friends occupied with those seats as you get food and drinks for everyone. To show opportunity is to admit defeat, and damn right you’re not giving up that Lakers game for anything.

Cleaning

Try to picture what Anthony (UHall) has to wake up to this every morning: hair on the sink, and a nasty odor coming from the shower. Empty soda cans on the table and unwashed dishes piled in the kitchen. Somebody’s going to deal with it eventually, but for some twisted reason it always happens to be him. Whenever I meet my suitemates, I would use this issue to strike a oh-so-casual conversation, which allures them into a guilt trip, resulting in them saying something like “yeah, I’m probably going to do that soon.” If this happens, mission complete. If not, keep trying until the living space looks unlivable — then it’s time to do something about it.

Curfew

The city doesn’t sleep, and unfortunately neither do most roommates. According to Finn (Rubin), the worst ones are the computer game players: with continuous mouse clicking and cussing that happens from an intense game of DotA, it’s impossible not to stay awake. Eye masks and earplugs help on weekdays, but if your place also happens to be the kids’ primary Saturday turn up location? I pity you.

Air Conditioner

“Turn it down too low, you wake up with a runny nose and a sore throat,” Henry (Palladium) complains about the summer, “But turn it off, you’re drenched with sweat.” The subtle AC button mashing between you and your temperature-insensitive suitemates could get pretty intense.

Relationships

It doesn’t get any worse than your roommate having a boy/girlfriend. Michael (UHall) can assure that. He comes back to his room every afternoon, only to find that every once in a while his door is locked. Then follows a hasty “give us a minute” remark by his roommate. Not only does it make the whole situation awkward, he remains holding the heavy burden of being “that guy” every time he does so.

Regardless of your situation, your experience with rooming with others will not be nine months without some struggles. Make the best of what you are given and, you will no survive, if not thrive in, this certainly unique experience.

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