I never know what’s going on in my apartment.
There are four of us, spending all of our time alternatingly at work, in class, with our significant others, or on stage. The odds that more than two of us will ever be here at the same time are dwarfed by the odds that the apartment will be empty when one of us arrives.
The way i figure it, you and your college roommates would have to be absolute dweebs for this not to be the case. “Dweebs,” for sure, because the four of us are definitely geeks, so i had to find a word that had more of a “shut-in” connotation.
It’s not hard to spend nearly three quarters of your typical waking hours outside of your collegiate abode; it’s not like we do it intentionally. In fact, occasionally going days at a time without re-entering it really isn’t a challenge — especially when you’re dating someone with their own apartment.
What starts to occur is that, with so many lengthy departures, your home can hold something unusual for you upon your return. Different. It can be full of surprises. And, though these surprises might prove alarming at first, as the length of your residence increases the unusual circumstances that you find yourself entering into become less and less alarming.
Rearranged or missing furniture should not phase you, nor should strangers reclining on said furniture (even if they are the only people presently in your house). The appearance or disappearance of drastically large amounts of any kitchen items, including actual food or liquor, should be duly noted but not unduly fretted over. Finding a sign on your front door that proclaims “Ring hard and often; cover $5” should only bother you if you do not have a doorbell. You should expect to find large new appliances, game / home-theatre systems, or piles of laundry more often than not. You should strive to exhibit no surprise upon the emergence unexpected or unwelcome people from your roommates’ bedrooms. If any of your personal effects seem to be lost or missing, even from your own room or bathroom area, you should allow ample time for them to be returned or replaced before entering a period of mourning.
Then there are the notes. Even in this technologically advanced age, notes are the most effective form of roommate to roommate conversation. Why? You can blow off an email, but there is only so long that you can profess to ignore something that is affixed to your doorknob, disco ball, toilet-lid, television screen, Brita pitcher, or bedroom door. Additionally, you should learn to anticipate what will at first seem like non-sequitir content in said notes, which will eventually bloom to make a terrifying amount of sense once you put the correct context in place, as in the only vaguely exaggerated examples that follow:
and, a personal favorite excerpted from Elise’s house:
College… it’s an adventure.