So, for all you kids out there getting ready to think about college, or going off to college, or applying to college, or have heard of college, here are some words of wisdom from my brother, Mr. Funny, on how to get along with your roommate. Let him gently guide you through those first few weeks when you are no doubt scared and hopeful, nervous and excited, stoned and drunk. Because remember, college is all about fun and making new friends and exploring new and exciting ways to get drunk and shag strangers at parties.
Take it away, Mr. Funny!
The prospect of going to college with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) was unsettling to say the least. I wanted to try to be “normal” and get the full college experience with a same-room roommate. That’s how it is in college, yes? Besides, what other options did I have as a freshman? When I got to the University of Central Florida, I predicted it would be the cool experience I never had as a socially inept nerd in a Miami public high school of 4,000 people.
When I first got in contact with my roommate over the summer, Josh seemed, well, cool. He was was into classic rock and we were on the same page about dividing up what we’d bring. I’d provide the computer and TV and he’d bring the phone (we didn’t all have cell phones back then), ‘fridge, and stereo.
He got there a couple of days later than I did and had not arrived with the ‘fridge. He brought an old phone with the numbers barely attached and a stereo. My parents did that parental thing where they took us all out to dinner to get to know him, and he and my father bonded over weed, the cost, and the various qualities you could get in South Florida. While my father and Josh became two peas in a pod, I felt I had less and less in common with him. But, I was there to be social.
That night, my father bought his new BFF and I some booze and a ‘fridge. [Editor's note: Didn't he also buy Josh a "water-based tobacco pipe" at the local head shop?]
Then, one morning I woke up, eyes still shut, mind still half asleep to what sounded like water dripping form an leaky air conditioner. Starting to realize there was no boxed a/c unit in our centrally air conditioned dorm suite I opened my eyes to find Josh, eyes closed in front of the foot of my bed urinating both on the floor and on the box of stuff I’d yet to unpack. My fears of sharing a room with someone included him leaving dirty clothes and opened containers of food and drinks around. My reality was a roommate who, seemingly unconsciously, pissed on my stuff. Things were ruined! I mean, sure, my facial hair had still not caught up with my age, but I hoped one day to be able to use the electric razor I moved up with that was now soaked in piss.
Shaking and holding back vomit I yelled for him to wake up, and finally tried to steer him toward his bed while getting piss on as few things as possible. He did not wake up. I used his bath towel and wiped up. Not wanting to go back to sleep and wake up thinking this was a dream I immediately emailed my mom, sister, and best friend about what happened. [Editor's note: That's the kind of email all big sisters enjoy waking up to.] Later on when he woke up I asked if he remembered what happened. He didn’t. I explained and he was apologetic but in a way like one would be if you accidentally ate your roommate's apple or something. While I’m sure he didn’t realize I was so damaged by OCD, that shouldn't be an issue after you urinate on someone’s property. Dogs mark their territory. Some primal instinct in me also felt I had been intruded upon. I was filled with rage, disgust, and an ape-like desire to fling my poo at him!
But, I didn’t want to touch my poo.
Not soon after, when we returned from Labor Day weekend visits to our home towns he brought back a plethora of drugs he decided to sell to random people in our room. I, having just been in a head-on collision on my drive back was not in the mood to deal with the prospect of getting arrested with this guy.
There would be no "strike three." [Editor's note: So my brother moved out and had other gruesome, but not nearly as horrific, roommates. Including my future husband and the father of my children!]
OCD didn’t go away, and, in fact, some crazy stuff happened because of it during my college experience, but at least I was away from Josh. I saw him about a year later, sitting on the grass outside the Fine Arts building staring out into nothing. I didn’t say “hi.” I just left him to whatever it was he thought he was doing.