Oh the Horror!
Having just found a wonderful new roommate, I thought I’d take a moment to commemorate my top six roommate horror stories—in no particular order.
- Freshman year I shared a low-cost triple (cage) with two other girls. One treated life like a competitive soccer game (see number 3), and the other edited porn on her computer, two feet from the head of my bed. A trembling virgin, I was forced to watch the moment of penetration on repeat every night as I went to sleep. Therefore, when I was about to actually lose my virginity, I thought of her beady little eyes.
- My otherwise wonderful roommate, let’s call her Julia, talked during the middle of the night. She would sit up in bed, open her eyes and hold a perfectly bizarre conversation. One night she startled me and said, “How do you wanna do this?” “Do what?” I said. She pointed to the floor and said, “We should put some mattresses down there.” This is when I wondered if she was trying to seduce me. She was not. Later she explained that she had been dreaming about a slumber party. Eventually, I was tempted to start making up things that she said. If I had more balls, poor Julia would have thought she had a whole range of psychological disorders. “Yeah, you said something about your sister and a clown.”
- The soccer player dominated one half of our tiny low-cost triple (cell). She never acknowledged me or made eye contact, unless I specifically sought it out. We rarely talked, so maybe this is why she chose to communicate via lists. She posted several threatening lists. “Items You Have Touched: Peanut Butter, Q-Tips, Hair Dryer.” Of course I was guilty of touching all of the above, but I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to–we had never established that–we had never established anything. After the notes, our relationship became clear, resembling the featured picture.
- This story didn’t happen to me, but it’s so traumatizing that I had to include it. In college, when you’re assigned complete freaks, my female friend had a roommate (a girl!) who used to masturbate compulsively in the kitchen. Even when parents were visiting , she rubbed away. “Mom, this is Gilda. Don’t mind her. You should be flattered.” Imagine trying to eat cereal in front of that. Eventually my friend got her some psychological help.
- My dad told me this story. Deep in the Northern California winter, his seriously impoverished roommate made an announcement. “Hey, guys. I’m not going to pay for heating this year. I’m just going to wear sweaters, but you can pay for the heat….” If they did pay for the heat, it’s not like he wouldn’t also reap the benefits!
- This story takes the cake. Every summer I work for a sort of literary summer camp for “senior citizens.” This crochety old New Yorker named Doris terrorized the sweet grandmothers, frightening them with the harsh realities of life under George W. She famously collapsed, and when the paramedics were reviving her, they asked her who the President was, to see if she was cogent. She snapped, “He’s not my president.” One summer her health was particularly bad, and late one night, she told her roommate to call 911. The following conversation ensued:
Roommate: We don’t have a telephone
Doris (clutching chest in pain): Use the payphone!
Roommate: But I’m in my pajamas.
Doris (gasping for air): Robe! Put..on..a robe.
Roommate: I don’t have a robe.
Doris: I need help!! Use the payphone.
Roommate: Do you have any quarters?
What happened next is unclear, but Doris became exasperated, and I imagine locked herself in the bathroom. The roommate went to sleep. In the morning they found her dead on the toilet. Possibly because of her roommate, who griped about calling 911, Doris had to suffer the indignity of dying with her pants around her ankles.
Now it’s your turn! What are your roommate horror stories?