Fresh out of college and with no job offer on the table, I had two choices laid out plainly for me. One, I could continue to stay on at a public relations firm making fifteen dollars an hour and look for a place to live on the campus where I had been an undergrad, or two, I could quit my job and move back into my parents’ house. I opted for the first option, but the issue with staying on campus after graduation is not about money. It’s about who you’re going to have to bunk up with in order to stay there.
As one might expect, at a large state school like the one I went to, the majority of students are undergraduates, so when I heard about an extra bedroom living with 4 other girls in a house just steps from campus and the bars, I jumped at it. I had gone to the house once prior to moving in to check it out. I had only met one of the girls, but she seemed normal enough and I needed a place to dump my stuff as soon as humanly possible. My lease at an apartment building a few blocks away was ending in days, and I was getting dangerously close to calling my mom and telling her I’d be moving back in with her and my dad. I was 22 at the time. In hindsight, I should have just gone home to my parents. The next four months were a living hell for me.
Any roommate will have tendencies that will annoy you for no rational reason. But these tendencies can sometimes build up. I foolishly moved into this large house under the guise that I would be taking the attic as my bedroom. On moving day, I was informed that I would be sleeping in the connecting room to the attic. This meant that another girl living there, who had already set up in the attic, would have to walk through my room to get into hers. A nightmare scenario for a plethora of reasons I don’t think I need to explain. Okay, not a plethora of reasons. Two, really. Masturbation habits and bringing girls back from the bar. Those were my main concerns. But fuck, man. I had no idea how annoying having someone traipse through your room would be. I’d be asleep on a work night at 2 a.m. and this girl would come stumbling through being a drunk 19-year-old. The next issue I had was toilet paper. Conservatively, and let me stress the word conservatively, these girls were running through a 12-pack of Charmin in four days. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life. I’d go into the bathroom in the morning before work to take a shower and if a fresh roll was on, it’d be gone by 5 o’clock when I got home.
I had not signed a lease with these girls and I was technically living in a room that was, according to the landlord, not to be occupied by anyone. I was paying something like $350 a month for the privilege of staying there, and I had paid for four months up front. The plan? Wait it out until my four months was up and leave under the cover of darkness unannounced at the end of the last month which I had paid for. The plan worked flawlessly, with one comically absurd request coming from all of them a few days after they realized that I cleared all of my stuff out of the room and had left my mattress (which needed to be thrown out after four-and-a-half years of college). The request was simple. I needed to honor their lease (which I hadn’t signed) for an additional six months because I never found someone to take the room. I made a group chat with all four of their numbers, and I texted back “lol.” I then blocked all of them on my phone and on all social media accounts.
My favorite story from this four-month mistake came about two months into my residency. This incident, alone, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We’re in the trust tree right now, so I expect all of you who are reading this to understand and side with me 100%. It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was under the impression that I was the only one in the house at the time. Without a seconds hesitation, I decided right then and there in my bedroom would be a good time to fire up some porn on the old laptop. What I didn’t know was that I had inadvertently pressed a download button somewhere on the website that I was on. I don’t torrent. Not movies, not music, and especially not porn. I learned the hard way growing up that downloading illegally will inevitably lead you to a blue screen of death. So I had no idea this was happening because, obviously, I was focused on doing something else.
My computer must have completed downloading the video I was watching because a few days later, unbeknownst to me, our house received a letter from Comcast. It was a warning regarding the downloaded video. It basically said to cease and desist, and when I got home from the work the night that this letter arrived, all four girls were sitting in the living room, with the television off, in silence staring at me. One of the girls slid the mail across the table giving me a look that said, “I’m going to rip your head off.” I skimmed the letter and then chuckled. Honest to God, I started laughing. One, because I knew that I was caught red handed. Like of course it was me. I can’t lie my way out of this. And two, because I couldn’t understand how they could be so mad about this. What 22-year-old man doesn’t watch porn? Answer me that. I’d bet that it’s less than 5% of the population in America.
Anyways, they told me that this sort of thing better not happen again, I replied with a half-assed “K” and I went up to my room to start secretly packing my things. I would not leave this hellhole for almost two months after this, but I still think about how big of a mistake it was moving in with those heathens. Hopefully they found a sublessee for my room. It must have been a real struggle coming up with an extra 350 between four people for six months. .
Image via TSM