September 25, 2007


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It is roughly that time of the semester when most freshmen make an important decision in their lives. They discern whether their respective roommates are future friends or sociopaths. There is little wiggle room on this one. Random room assignment affords us the unique opportunity to know our peers intimately whether or not we want to.
I have had my fair share of roommates. Freshman year I was blessed to have someone with whom I connected and we had a pleasantly uneventful year. Sophomore year, I had three crazy motherfuckers.
When I arrived at my new residence after a long summer, I noticed that my new roommate had already moved in. There was a refrigerator, two pairs of shoes, some unpacked clothing, a computer, and copious boxes of Nutri-Grain bars stacked on his bookshelves (really, it was obscene). He was not home so I proceeded to settle in, unpack, and ponder what type of person he was.
Admittedly, I was a bit nervous. People with few things worry me; I am the complete opposite and suffer from affluenza. My father incessantly tells me I must unclutter my life and own less — to own my possessions and not have them own me. That is a nice thought, but let us not forget that Mr. Kaczynski also was a man of few things.
Opening the refrigerator to put in my Frappacinos, I could not help but notice the lineup of prescription bottles on the top shelf. I had gone to boarding school; I was no stranger to this type of thing. I thought it would just be the generic Adderall mixed with some painkillers. Silly me — they were schizophrenia and diabetes medications.
A few short hours later I met my schizophrenic, diabetic, anime-loving, transfer student roommate. He had holes in his socks. He had a beard. He was visibly uncomfortable in his own skin. He left four days later. I felt a mix of sadness and pity when he told me he would be leaving Cornell because his “symptoms and problems were getting worse.” To be so young and troubled must be devastating. On the upside, though, I inherited a refrigerator, slept in my room for the first time, and dodged one hell of a bullet.
I naïvely basked in the glory of my newfound super sized single for the next 48 hours until a knock and a 6’ 4” shot-putter arrived at my door. He was pleasant enough and used gallon water jugs for water bottles which I found quite impressive. He also had one hell of a sense of humor. One night coming home from the library, I was met with a limping, crying, inebriated girl who exclaimed as she hobbled down the stairs, “Oh, god, are you the roommate?!” Why, yes, I was the roommate to the student who was nowhere to be found. In his place, in my room, though, was a guy hunched in my chair, finally empty of vomit, who promised not to die if I let him sleep in my room, a befuddled bloke who sat next to the vomster not knowing what to do, and another non-descript crying girl. I babysat until around 2:30 when my roommate came home. He then angrily forced all of his acquaintances to leave, regardless of their states. Hopping into his bed he turned to me and said in a cheerful tone “I’m going to bed later than I thought.” And that was that — hilarious!
Apparently tired of Cornell and of tormenting me, roommate #2 left without so much as giving me a refrigerator less than three weeks after he arrived. I simply came home one day to a half empty room.
My third roommate, yes third, was not to be outdone. Explosively gaseous, caustic, and greasy, he hailed from the Bronx by way of Jersey. One day, when we were still speaking to one another, he was in a particularly chatty mood after returning from a fraternity party. He told me about how he played billiards “with some fat whale,” but that the other girls would pay no attention to him. Not wanting to delve into the obvious about why that was, I responded,
“Yeah, I hear the girls here can be tough.”
“I think I know what the problem is, you know? You see, I’m used to dealing with women, and these here — these are just girls.”
“Oh, I see. So how were the girls at your last school?”
“Fuckin’ Jersey bitches were no good neither.”
Actually, what was “no good neither” was my never-ending rooming saga. After this last gem, I left for a single. If I can give anyone debating going into sophomore year with a random roommate any advice, this is it: don’t. Getting a single will be the best use of $800 you will ever spend. And you won’t have to deal with any Jersey bitches.