The Roommate

I have had many a roommate in my time.

I have siblings, for a start. And, growing up, we had family members stay with us on occasion in a way that required some creative room-shuffling. I never lived in a dorm, which is good, because if I never have to share an actual bedroom with someone else again in my life it will be too soon (sorry Ben).

Many of my friends throughout college-time moved from dorm to house to apartment to house with new friends each time their lease ran out. The entire concept of moving that regularly was horrifying to me, especially if all of your roommates didn’t come with you. I am a creature of habit, and having a “home base” to return to is one of the things that keeps me grounded.

As a result of this, I had five different housemates cycle through a house that I remained in for the duration of my time in the city. It helped that the house was spacious, dirt-cheap, and that our landlord was the chillest dude you could ever imagine.

Anyone who has had roommates knows that it’s not always fun, even if you’re friends. Sometimes being friends beforehand makes it harder, because being best friends doesn’t always mean you have constantly compatible lifestyles.

Sometimes I am just trying to be antisocial and that’s how it’s gonna be

Sometimes this meant that we weren’t necessarily friends by the time we stopped being roommates. Sometimes this was remedied with time. Sometimes it wasn’t meant to be. Regardless, I bear none of them any ill-will and hope they would think the same of me.

Due to the fact that we weren’t on a lease and could literally just leave whenever we felt like it, there were some last-minute additions to the household that turned out way better than they could have. Like, way better. Like I could have been murdered probably, but instead I got Karlee.

just 3 cute roommates bein cute

Karlee and I were not friends when she moved in. I vaguely knew her older sister, but Karlee and I had probably talked like three times ever and are both capable of such incredible awkwardness that it’s really a miracle we ever spoke to each other at all.

And it took awhile. I can be standoffish and sometimes when people are nice to me when I’m being standoffish it can make me more so. Also, I can be kind of a jerk sometimes and Karlee has never been mean to anyone in her entire life for any reason, which at first weirded me out but later (obviously) became one of my favorite things about her.

she was like “let’s be friends” and I was like “I’m gonna go take a nap under my bed”

But when we became friends, MAN DID WE BECOME FRIENDS.

I grew up in the suburbs, and Karlee grew up in the sticks. Our respective parents had equal-but-opposite parenting styles that somehow resulted in us being extremely compatible. We were both also very weird in equal-but-opposite ways, and we both fed off and influenced that weirdness in each other.

She made me nicer. I made her spicier. I taught her that you can extinguish a candle by putting the lid on it (and it will not explode), and she taught me that she apparently has no concept of temperature in her mouth because she would regularly eat tater tots directly out of the 425 degree oven (the first time she did this in front of me, I screamed, which scared her and made her scream, which then made me scream more).

She is arguably more sensitive than I, and yet she did not cry and I would cry constantly and for any reason. Our work schedules were mostly opposite, so we would leave each other gifts in the hallway outside our rooms – a box of candy, a cool magnet, a t-shirt, a full-on-birthday-style gift (balloon included) for no occasion at all. We always had at least one bag of tots in the freezer, and would make “communal tots” every evening that we were both home at the same time. We picked the creepiest looking face masks we could find and did them while watching superhero DVDs on our orange-screened 1998 Sony TV (it came with the house).

she’s beauty and she’s grace

She is an instinctively pure person. She told our first-ever trick-or-treater that she could take “as much candy as she wanted” and then watched in silence as the 5-year-old dumped literally the entire bowl of candy into her backpack and then left. She once (to me only) called someone a hot mess, and then remedied it by calling them a “lukewarm” mess instead. While watching a particularly alarming scene in a TV show, a dish shifted in the drying rack, and she calmly said, “wow, even the ghost that lives in our kitchen is appalled”.

She once had the single most incredible response to a homework question that I have ever seen in my life.

how can you not love this person? I think about this daily.

I had a bunny named Pikku, and we treated her as though she was a tiny, furry child. We sang to her. We brought her fistfuls of dandelions from our yard. We lived in a mildly terrifying neighborhood (on more than one occasion we were awoken by police lights flashing as our neighbors fought each other in the street with 2x4s), so Karlee would stand guard on the back deck with a flashlight while I filled gallon-sized ziplock bags with fresh grass to supplement Pikku’s hay diet in the warmer months.

As time went on, we became better friends but also discovered that we had become so bizarre that it was unlikely we would ever be able to have a third roommate join us again. You may think that you would have loved to live with both of us, but when you can’t listen to a single song without it being turned into a ballad for a bunny, you may change your tune (lol).

to the tune of “Sweet Caroline”, in case you’re wondering)

Some notable experiences that Karlee said I should share here:

  • One time she worked later than expected and we texted her over 100 times. I felt this was the appropriate response. She agreed.
  • Another time I went to play Pok√©mon Go in the park at 10pm on a Sunday and then watch Deadpool and bake a cake with some guys we were friends with, and she downloaded the app and came with me even though she had previously been in her pajamas and had not slept all weekend.
  • She discovered that the smell of toast being made was the only time I ever craved toast, and so when she made some for herself, she would make some for me first. It is the only thing she can make “from scratch” that does not start on fire. I’m not being mean – she will agree with me on this.
  • A skunk lived in our shed, and we named her ShedSkunk and forbade our landlord from harming her. She needed to be relocated once she had three children, because there are few things more frightening than having to sprint across your lawn with arms full of groceries at dusk while being pursued by an absolutely livid mother skunk. We would bang on pots and pans to create a limited window of opportunity in which the other could travel from car to house.

I can feel in my bones that she would be the person in a movie that everyone believes to be super sweet and defenseless, until their friend is threatened and they singlehandedly take out and entire enemy base using nothing but a stun gun and a spork.

I realize that I am occasionally speaking about her in the past tense but I assure you she is still alive (which is good, because the number of texts we send each other that just say “are u dead” would be very suspicious if one of us actually did die). We just are no longer roommates due to time and circumstance.

we still text though obvs

Also, this entire post was inspired by Karlee finally crying when she saw that I had drawn her previously. ARE YOU CRYING AGAIN NOW KARLEE??? (say yes).

Okay love you bye


One thought on “The Roommate

  1. Treasures, absolute Treasures. Yes, Karlee is the purest kind heart. She could not be mean to anyone or thing unless she has to protect those she loves. At that point it’s probably a John Wick movie scene. Anyone who gets to have a Karlee in their life is the luckiest person in the world. There is nobody else like her. P.S. your a talented writer.

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