When I showed up for my freshman year of college, my roommate was a no-show. Since then, I have had one waking nightmare after another—the one who brushed her teeth so hard, she passed out in the bathroom and conked her head on the sink; the one who drank a case of beer every night; the one who paid $250 in rent while charging me $900; the one who accused me of stealing his $100 guitar when I had three guitars worth fifty times that. Needless to say, I now pay out my ear to live alone and it’s worth every single penny.
Members of our editorial team would like to share stories of our worst roommates ever. We hope you will share some of your favorite stories, too, either in the comments section below or by contributing your own story.
Ashley Nelson, Editorial Assistant: The Secret Room
I needed to get to San Francisco, and fast. I had moved back to my hometown for the summer months and would have bunked with Beelzebub himself had he provided a swift alternative. I quickly found a room for rent on Craigslist and went to meet the couple. He owned his own computer business and worked from home. They obviously could pay the bills and both had a pulse (my only prerequisites at this point), so papers were signed, handshakes were squeezed, and I moved in the following week.
At first, there were the little things: her getting mad if the dishtowel got too wet, say, or his late night deliveries from visitors attending “business” meetings in our kitchen. But then came the strangest discovery. I realized that my housemates were adamant about me never, ever, under any circumstances, taking out the trash. Naturally, this was completely fine with me until the weekend they went out of town and I decided to do it. I opened the door that led down to the trash area and stepped into a small room that I’d never seen before; I couldn’t believe what I saw—the walls were stacked from floor to ceiling with black laptops (black in hue and the market in which they came from). There had to be at least 500 of them. Hmm. I moved in with friends shortly thereafter. Last I’ve heard, they’ve moved out of the country …
Jennifer Hastings, Editorial Assistant: Am I Invisible?
My childhood friend and I lived happily in our little apartment in San Francisco until she suddenly decided to take on some volunteer work in Costa Rica for six months—amazing opportunity for her, panic for me. I had to find a replacement on short notice and I am not one who likes roommate searching, especially in a kooky city like San Francisco. My friend ended up finding a co-worker, Melissa, who needed a temporary place to stay. My friend described her as, “Shy, a little quiet. No, worries—it will be great!” So Melissa moved in and she was definitely quiet … or was it that I was invisible? You see, the girl never spoke to me! Seriously, walked right by, no words, nothing. I would leave her notes inviting her to go have a drink and she wouldn’t respond. I would politely wave to her if I saw her out and she would ignore me. I tried everything to “break the ice” but this girl was nothing but ice cold. It got to a point where I would say things like, “Still ignoring me today, Melissa? Okay then. Have a good day!” Six months later, she moved out and to this day, still no word.
Vicki Santillano, Staff Writer: Like My Chest Hair?
Luckily, most of my roommate situations have worked out for the best. However, I wasn’t sure this would be the case when I was trying to find an affordable room to rent in San Francisco (not unlike attempting to locate the Holy Grail or the Fountain of Youth). It’s all about Craigslist here, which guarantees at least one encounter with mind-boggling eccentricity. Mine came at 7 p.m. one cold August night. I was to tour a room in a house occupied by one other person—a guy who seemed normal enough in his emails. Upon arriving, I discovered he was in his sixties (at least) and wearing a shirt unbuttoned down to his navel, revealing a thick nest of grey chest hair. I ignored his semi-lecherous grin and attempted to hide my panic … until he showed me my future room. Its walls were cotton candy pink and adorned with numerous crucifixes and a picture of the Virgin Mary. And yes, the room was currently unoccupied. He assured me that the religious paraphernalia came with the room, so I told him I decided to move to Boston instead and quickly made my exit. I got an email the following week telling me he had “chosen someone else” as a renter—as if he was rejecting me! Best of luck to him or her.
Natalie Josef, Managing Editor: Oh the Horror …
A rent-controlled room, across from Dolores Park in San Francisco—too good to be true? Um … yeah. My roommate’s charming “idiosyncrasies” were as follows: She never—never—left the house, though her ad said she loved travel and walking outdoors with a passion. She wouldn’t share any common items; I had to have my own sponge, silverware, pots, and dishes. The one time she ever left town, she asked me to take care of her cats, and of course, I said yes. Both required medication and had to be fed twice a day, which sounds simple enough, but they could only take their medication an hour before or after they were fed—I had to get up an hour early each morning and chase them both to force the meds down their throats and then wait an hour to feed them, which was then repeated at night. One project of hers—to paint the hallway—took months of her trying to decide between two identical shades of yellow. Then she wanted to spend the holidays with me … I had moved in with her in November! Oh and the worst—she would groan, moan, and make inappropriate noises while sitting on the toilet, which of course was right next to my room. By February, I was actually fearing for my safety so I gave notice, took on a second job, and moved out on my own. I learned that one way or another, you pay for things. The rent was great, but I paid—with my soul!