Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Into the Wild of Roommate-dom

Story from the front. An anthropological treatise.

When one journeys into the hazardous land of Craigslist to obtain new habitation, one cannot expect the highest quality of living situations.  Indeed, within this urban jungle, this forest of concrete, brick, and brownstone, lie untold variations of human.

Some varieties of the roommate species portray one personality, then reveal their true qualities after a short time, adopting an affect scientifically known as “fake nice.” Characteristics attributed to this breed include the insincere laugh (which, in practice, is more of a “titter” or polite “heh heh” than a genuine “chuckle” or even “guffaw”), the adopted tone used in speaking to the roommate (usually higher in pitch), and the patronizing language (“Oh, wow.  You went to the gym?  Good for you!”)  Examples of this human breed include KSwiss, aka New York Roommate/Case Study #1. Additional practices include hoarding the remainder of roommates' security deposits.

Another peculiar type of roommate is the brilliantly colored, “no holds barred” variety.   This breed exhibits no apparent malice nor any intent to disrupt the harmonious living of the apartment.  Though this means that she is generally unwilling to actively contribute to the household by performing communal functions such as washing the accumulated dishes or cleansing the floor surfaces, such behavior renders her remarkably open to other personalities in the community and to their habits.  This type of roommate will make such comments as the following: “I’m totally laid-back, too.  I mean, you can bring six guys into the living room and I can walk in to find them in their underwear smoking pot, for all I care. In fact, bring it on; it’s been kind of a dry spell.”  The primary weakness of New York Roommate/Case Study #2 may, in fact, be that she is too accepting and willing.

A final variety of roommate researched in this study belongs to the subset “artist” and the more specific genus “anal artist.”  Unlike the whimsical “free spirit” association of many creative types, this type of artist is welcoming yet surprisingly territorial, kindly yet firmly demanding space and quiet in which to work, prohibiting shoes to be worn in the apartment as they “track the city in.”  As the lease-holder, she retains power over the hive, decorating the communal space with “a friend’s painting-slash-sculpture” that this anthropologist deems atrocious.  Though this roommate variety exhibits a meticulously managed creativity, New York Roommate/Case Study #3 is not without anomaly.

I present a case study.  Wednesday morning, approximately 7:15 am, this anthropologist had returned from the gymnasium where she had physically exerted herself to the point of attaining a distinctly reddish-purple hue, which was accented by the profusion of perspiration coating her hair and clothing.  Thus, she prepared to partake in the daily cleansing ritual – the shower – but only after re-hydrating by feverishly gulping fresh water.  The water receptacle – the second – was not fully emptied as this anthropologist entered the bathroom to perform the shower ritual.  In the moment between setting the glass on the counter and turning to lock the door, Case Study #3 entered the room.

Thus, this anthropologist was presented with the anal-artsy roommate in her natural state.

Surprised, Case Study #3 rushed back to her personal space and refused to answer the anthropologist’s inquiries into whether she required use of the facilities before the performance of the shower ritual.

After reviewing the Dictionary of Anthropological Terms to accurately yet concisely describe the curious incident, I have selected the following designation: Awkward.

(In an entirely unrelated incident, I present another variant of public "awkwardness" or, perhaps, acute "embarrassment." However, upon further thought, one theme of this particular embarrassment may coincide with the previously mentioned incident...)

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