After surviving my Roomate From Hell, I jumped around to different people, finally moving into a dorm room with La Actress. La Actress was a theatre major and we lived together for a total of three years realively peacefully. It was usually outside forces that caused us to fight (aside from the usual fights about money owed, dishes unwashed and ridiculously long showers). This series of Throwback Thursdays will be about a variety of incidents that occured while we were living together.

As I’ve mentioned before, our dorms were set up to accomodate four people. La Actress and I were sharing one room while my old roomie Smiley planned to share with one of her best friends. Unfortunately, her BFF dropped out before the semester started, so we were placed with Kentucky. She was an exchange student…from Kentucky. I’m extremely creative, I know.

One of our first hurdles as new roommates was food. Smiley and I were used to living together, having already survived each other and eventually becoming close the year before. One of the realities of her life was that she had Type I Diabetes. When we first moved in together, she showed me her insulin and gave everyone a talk about what to do in case of an emergency. One of the scariest moments our first semester was when her blood sugar dropped very low. She had warned us that with her, there’s very little warning; usually she just acts out of character and angry. Lets just say that this particular time, we had to wrestle her to the ground to get a blood sugar reading and I practically asphixiated her trying to get apple juice down her throat before she seized (she ended up being fine).

Her sugar levels always seemed unpredictable, even when she watched what she ate and how much insulin she used. Our first year, we all made sure not to eat each other’s food without asking and we had stashes of snacks around to give to Smiley if she needed them. And no matter what, we NEVER ate Smiley’s food because we didn’t want her to find herself with low blood sugar and no snack to bring it up. Our new roommates didn’t consider this issue. It was definitely a difference in expectations – Smiley and I were of the same mind: you buy the snack, you eat the snack. La Actress and Kentucky wanted to share all foods, which would have been acceptable if Kentucky ever bought food.

Smiley and I called a dorm meeting to discuss this issue, but no one could agree on a time to meet within the next week. And during that week, we had something else move in with us. Rotting food.

La Actress bought an entire five pound bag of potatoes which sat in our pantry from the day we moved in until a month later. I guess the bag had gotten damp, and La Actress didn’t remove the spuds or dry them. She just stored them in our pantry. They started to grow mold and started to smell like old gym socks pulled from the sweaty feet of a man with a medical body odor issue, wrapped around old fish and disintigrating trash. I’ve smelled a lot of bad things in my life (I was a nanny once upon a time), but even walking by the pantry made you think there was a rotting corpse and open sewer line sitting in our kitchen. Opening the pantry was virtually impossible without a HazMat suit. I briefly wondered if this was how companies create tear gas.

After the torment of my Roomate From Hell, I had vowed not to allow any roommate to bother me without saying something. I wanted everyone to know each other’s thoughts and expectations from the very beginning. So the first day we moved in, I let La Actress know that I was fine with a lot of things, but my #1 rule was never, EVER to have sex next to me. Never. Ever. After having had that happen previously, I wanted to make it clear that it wasn’t happening again.

So at our roommate meeting, I was determined to be honest about how I felt. Despite agreeing with me, Smiley refused to talk the entire meeting. I’m pretty sure she didn’t want anyone to resent her, but it made it more difficult for me since I didn’t have any overt support. I brought up the food issue and we all agreed to share large quantity staples (like butter and salt) but individual food was off limits. That’s when the hard part came up. It was clear to anyone with olfactory glands and half a brain that the potatoes in our pantry were rotting faster than a dead animal in 120 degree weather. Unfortnately, La Actress didn’t seem to notice.

“So…food is covered. Is the meeting over now?” Kentucky asked. I glanced at Smiley only to watch her eyes shift away. Damn her.

“Uhhh there’s one other thing.” My tone was tinged with hesitation. I paused, not sure how to begin.

“What is it?” The look on her face told me that Kentucky thought I was going to say something about her dishes or general messiness. I had bigger fish to fry than textbooks left on the floor.

“I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed” I said, giving Smiley a hard glance, “but the pantry has started to smell.” Luckily for me, Kentucky was all over this issue. She immediately jumped on the bandwagon and agreed that we should remove the offending vegetables. The only person who seemed reluctant was La Actress. According to her, she didn’t smell anything, the potatoes were new(ish) and it was a waste of food to throw them out. After a long discussion (which with four women, means an incredibly long talk with diverging thoughts scattered around, giggling and talking over each other) she finally agreed.

I was so exicited to have roommates that respected each other, and we lived peacefully for the next few weeks until I experienced my Worst Halloween Ever.

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