Sitting home during this Covid-19 quarantine has got me thinking…more than ever probably! I got to thinking about who I would want to be quarantined with! Anyone, like me, who has lived in and around New York City for the better part of 20 years will tell you it’s practically a given that you’ll end up with some interesting roommates! I have had my fair share, to say the least! Sitting down, looking back and doing the math, it appears I have lived with at least 15 different people. I have been very lucky to not have endured any truly horrific roommate situations.
I mean, there was the one night on the Upper West Side I slept with a butcher knife under my pillow after my roommate’s abusive boyfriend broke the glass on the front door of our apartment building. My roommate folded and let him back into our apartment. My bedroom door was locked, so I felt safe but concerned about my roommate. I texted him that he could sleep in my room with one stipulation: if “Crazy” were to bust in, I would throw my roommate towards him as I made my escape. “I’m the Neve Campbell in this movie,” I assured him, “I’m making it into the sequel.” But it was just that one and only time I was scared for my life…all other times were good times. Or maybe, just times.
My first post-college “adult” apartment was a two-story townhouse in Hoboken that I shared with three friends from school. Hoboken has that right-out-of-college feel to begin with, and our huge apartment lent itself perfectly to gatherings pretty much every weekend. Essentially it was college part two, replacing the 8 AM classes with 8 AM jobs and bigger bank accounts. When you are 23 years-old, weekends begin on Thursday night. It was also the time in our lives where some friends were still living at home, so more often than not there would be many-a-couch-surfers every Friday and Saturday night. This was right around the time I was discovering my sexuality and coming out of the closet! Complicated good times. Drunk good times. Or just times.
One year I lived with three females in a huge four-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s posh Upper East Side… with one bathroom! We had a very strict shower schedule in the AM. Jessica would shower at 6:10, I would shower at 6:20, Lea at 6:40 and so on. Most mornings I would even shave while Jessica would shower. In hindsight, Jessica and I should not have been talking trash about another roommate during what we thought was our private bathroom bonding session. Especially since one day that roommate forgot her lunch, came back into the apartment and heard our entire conversation. Shady good times. Or just times.
Definitely my most “entertaining” roommate – was my friend and co-teacher Carl. Carl taught 11th grade AP Calculus while I was teaching 9th grade English. Carl is an incredible teacher who also knows how to have fun once the Friday afternoon dismissal bell rang. We spent many a Sunday afternoon laying on the couch hungover, binge-watching “Law and Order: SVU”. Carl would inevitably use this time to say that we drank way too much over the weekend and that this week we are going to be extra healthy and extra committed to the gym. Sometimes he would even go so far as to dump out the remaining alcohol in the apartment, proclaiming, “Tomorrow we start a cleanse!”
Fast forward to Friday afternoon and Carl was inquiring, “Where is all our alcohol?” “Dude, you dumped it all out Sunday afternoon, remember?” Cue laughter and him asking why do I listen to him when he’s hungover? Awesomely good times. Or just times.
Today I live in a (somewhat) small but very cute and very affordable two-bedroom apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I have a very nice gay male roommate. We are not alike in any way shape or form though: complete opposites. If he loves a movie, I’ll probably hate it or fall asleep halfway through it. The queens he loves on “Drag Race” are not even in my Top 20. Regardless of our differences, there is one tiny fact that IS a big deal for me: he works from home…all day, every day.
It isn’t even the fact that he works from home that is so annoying and irritating. It’s the fact that he has transformed our living room and kitchen, the common shared areas into his workspace. He sits every weekday from 10 AM until 7 PM with feet up on the coffee table and computer in his lap. He keeps the television constantly on, blaring some old Netflix show to provide background noise. It’s so loud I can barely hear myself think sometimes. Stressful good times. Or just times.
We have VERY different views on if this is acceptable roommate behavior. He feels it is his apartment – he pays rent and therefore can utilize the space however he chooses. I disagree with him on those opinions and feel if you work from home you should respectfully work in your bedroom or another room that is not considered the common areas, especially if the other roommate is also home during business hours. I argue that he utilizes the apartment as a home office and apartment when it’s really just an apartment. Stressful times. Or just times.
On the other side of the spectrum apart from him working from home all the time, he is often not there outside of his chosen business hours. He travels often and has a longtime boyfriend in the neighborhood where he stays most nights.l Looking at the bigger picture, he is not messy (I’m the messy one), he rarely brings people over and he pays bills on time. Most importantly, he is a good guy and a good man. So I will try to be more patient, more cooperative and more lenient with his work situation. I can just think of him more like the guy who rents office space in the apartment rather than my roommate. In the grand scheme of things it could be a lot worse; tonight if you look under my pillow you won’t find any knives! I feel better already..it’s all how you look at something!
GOOD TIMES. ACTUALLY THEY WERE ALL JUST TIMES.
Stay healthy and safe my friends!