I’ve never had a roommate.
Other than my parents, I have never lived with another person. Not in a dorm. Not in a bachelor pad in Brooklyn with five of my Frat buddies. Not with a girlfriend. Nobody but me. For the last fifteen years.
I’m told that this is an unusual thing for a New Yorker, particularly one involved in “the arts.” But I can’t even imagine living with someone I like, let alone someone I don’t.
I hear all these “crazy roommate” stories and I am baffled. I know bright, intelligent adults who have advertised for roommates on the Internet.
What is the if/then logic at work there?
“IF he has a computer, THEN he should live in my apartment.”
This acquaintance of mine (I don’t really have friends – but that’s a story for a different day) posted a message on Craig’s List looking for roommates. He then conducted face-to-face interviews with people who replied to his post.
What a ridiculous waste of time. Everybody knows how to bullshit their way through an interview. That’s the first thing we learn in college.
What questions might one ask while interviewing a stranger who would like to live in one's apartment?
QUESTION #1: Do you smoke?
ANSWER: Not really. Only socially.
What does that mean, “I’m a social smoker?”
"I like to reek of stale smoke, but only when I’m in very close proximity to other people."
If you smoke, you are a smoker. To thine own self, be true. Accept the label, and move on with your life. And stop hiding it from your parents.
The only time most closeted smokers are really “out” about it is when they are with other smokers. There's a real sense of community among the self-polluters. I sounds like a bad pun, but smokers do tend to travel in packs. Because they can’t keep up with the non-smokers. And nobody notices how bad they all smell.
The best thing that ever happened to smokers in New York was Mike Bloomberg. Have you stood in front of a bar on a Friday or Saturday night? It’s like a smokers support group. Everybody shares war stories about how much/little they paid for their last pack. It’s the perfect icebreaker.
And if a guy sees a cute girl step outside and light up, he knows he’s got eight minutes (eleven, if she smokes American Spirits) to make his case.
The moral to this story is - if you are single - start smoking! If you are even modestly attractive, it will help you get laid.
And then lie about it when you’re looking for an apartment.
QUESTION #2: Do you like to pick up random strangers in bars and bring them back to your (my) apartment?
ANSWER: No. I’m not really into that.
I am constantly amazed by the level of promiscuity that exists in New York.
I blame it all on “Sex and the City.”
A whole generation of bright-eyed young women have migrated to Manhattan, yearning for the “glamorous” life of Carrie Bradshaw and her skanky friends. Every single guy in New York City should write a thank-you note to HBO for making it easier to score with idiotic girls from the suburbs.
People seem to enjoy getting drunk, and then getting naked, with someone they met two hours earlier at a party, or a bar. Not that I would know anything about this. I don't go to parties, or bars. And I don't even like to wear shorts in front of people I don't know.
But I’m old-fashioned.
I know plenty of attractive, well-educated women who seem to think it’s a good idea to welcome a perfect stranger into their apartment (and their pants) while their ability to defend themselves has disappeared into a bottle of Absolut.
At least one of these girls refuses to sit on public restroom seats. Because she’s “afraid of catching something.”
I have no interest in being awakened in the middle of the night by sounds of my roommate getting "bizzy" with some Dominican dude she met in the V.I.P Room at Lotus. My apartment has a “No Men After Midnight” policy. And I am the only exception to that rule.
You want to "go wild" like you wish you had in college? Be my guest. I just don't want to be in the next room while it's happening.
QUESTION #3: Will you eat my food?
ANSWER: No. We will separate our food and respect each other’s property.
If you come home late, and you’re drunk or stoned, you want something to eat. If you open up the closet and there’s a bag of Fritos in there, you are going to eat one. Then one will turn into two. And then, well, there are certain urges that cannot be controlled. Fritos is one of them.
You’ll reassure yourself that it will be okay “just this one time.” You’ll promise yourself that you’ll get up early and go to the supermarket before your roommate ever notices that they’re gone.
But you’re drunk and/or stoned so you will forget this promise once you have eaten that last Frito.
Then, some time later, your roommate will say, “Hey, did you see my bag of Fritos? I was sure I had some left…”
And you will lie. And it will be awkward.
QUESTION #4: Will you kill me in my sleep?
ANSWER: No. I'm a vegan. (Williamsburgh, only)
I am amazed when I see people who have fallen asleep on the subway. I'm scared to ride the subway fully conscious.
I see people on the subway, late at night, asleep, wearing their backpacks on on their chest. It's a knapsack. It's not a bulletproof vest. If you are unconscious, you cannot protect yourself. Even if your Jansport is made of kevlar.
If I'm not dating you, or related to you, I don't want you around when I'm sleeping. Nothing personal.
I’ve seen “Taxi Driver.” Travis Bickle is out there. And odds are he can’t afford his own place.
My friend/acquaintance tells me that he loves his roommates. That everything is working out great. But I’m convinced that, some day, he will have major surgery and the doctor will notice that his pancreas is missing.
And it will be for sale on Craig’s List.
I’m sure that - at some point in the distant future - I will get married. And I will have to welcome somebody else into my home on a permanent basis. But I will be old then. And probably in need of round-the-clock care. So I won’t mind.
As long as she doesn't steal my pancreas. Or my Fritos.