Friday, August 7, 2015

The good, the bad, and the (very) Mormon

I was in a blogging mood yesterday, and I was trying to come up with something to write related to Israeli culture. I have some ideas for that in the future... but as I was (trying to) fall asleep last night listening to one of my roommates cackle loudly with her loud friends steps away from my door at past 2 in the morning, a different idea came to me. Roommates.

Ah, roommates. At this point in my life I've had just over 30 different roommates. And at this point in my life, I can say that after living with those 30-ish girls, I still like about 1/3 of them. Honestly, when I added that up... I thought the percentage would be lower. I'm pretty impressed. I've lived with some 'colorful' characters to say the least. I've also lived with some really great people that I count among my best friends- but unfortunately they were the exception and not the rule. 

BYU is culturally a weird place, and along with that came some weird roommates. Maybe that plays into some people's decisions to get married at 20... being able to choose your roommate would be a plus, I suppose (although not a mature reason to get married haha). If I hadn't gone to BYU, my hypothetical roommates might have been weird and annoying in other ways... who knows... I can't say if it would have been better or worse (though my money's on better). I'm well aware that I was never a perfect roommate either- I know I'm not always a little ray of sunshine that cheerfully takes out the garbage 24/7. However, I'm also fairly certain that I'm not a sociopath.

I chose 5 of my "favorite" past roommates to profile. I changed their real names to names that I thought suited their personalities. 

Who? Mary  From? Utah. Duh. When? 2007. Hallelujah- only for one semester.
The beginning: While exchanging emails before meeting, she sent me back a one-sentence reply- "Wow, we have absolutely nothing in common." Off to a great start! After only a week of living together, our relationship soured when I was accused of "glaring" at her while she sat on the stand at church waiting to give a talk. Immediately after sacrament meeting, she stormed up to me near tears , demanding to know why I tried to sabotage her talk. I think it was just my "zoning out at church" neutral face, and she was probably used to seeing fake Utah smiles. Mary constantly accused me of not liking her... which led to me actually not liking her.
Fun facts: 
-Heartily disapproved of us buying hot chocolate at Starbucks, hanging pictures of attractive men on our wall (reported us to her stake president father, who reprimanded us for this), and skipping FHE in order to do homework (reported us to the bishop, who did not seem to care haha)
-Owned a large collection of edited movies, including even some PG ones that would be SO inappropriate without special editing (in Utah there are companies that do this- although I think some of them have since been sued and shut down).
-Didn't allow me to leave anything in the kitchen/living room... including small objects such as pencils (Immature 18 year old Marissa played a fun passive aggressive game of leaving pencils on the kitchen table and laughing when she would move them back into my room without fail while I was gone).
-Didn't allow anyone to SIT ON HER BED, even while she was out of town for the weekend.
Biggest pro: She moved out after the first semester.
Biggest con: Forcing everyone to pronounce her name with a Utah accent upon pain of death glares (as I said before... Mary is not the real name...).

Who? Edith. From? Pacific northwest. When? 2008-2009
The beginning: I'm afraid I didn't give poor Edith much of a chance. After meeting her for the very first time I cried (not in front of her) because I had such high hopes for my new room roommate, and they were just dashed (I was 19 and dramatic, forgive me).
Fun facts:
-Her roommate from the previous year had attempted to commit suicide, and afterwards informed Edith that it was her fault for being such an incredibly annoying roommate. Not to make light of suicide or to say that it was actually Edith's fault... but it might give you some insight into her level of annoying.
-Snored louder than my dad.
-She did not know that Paris was in France. She was one of those people that really  made you wonder how they were accepted to BYU...
Biggest pro: She was not evil (unlike some others on this list). Clingy and socially awkward, yes... but not conniving.
Biggest con: During the entire year that we were roommates, there was not a single day that I did not see her underwear sticking out of the top of her pants. I have no idea where she bought such low-riding pants and such vast pairs of underwear, but there were times when I swear I would see at least a 10 inch swath of granny panties. It was scarring.

Who? Wanda. From? Utah. When? 2009-2010
The beginning: Tentative getting along until her passionate fits of rage escalated and I just hid from her when possible.
Fun facts:
-Once got viciously angry at me for not leaving her enough space on (my) DVR and (my) TV for her to tape "Dirty Jobs." How dare I... that sounds so important.
-Favorite pastime was PG-13 (sometimes R-rated) making out on our couch with her IQ-challenged boyfriend. I almost wished that Mary could have come over and had her daddy reprimand them or maybe pay someone to edit out what was happening in our living room.
-To contrast the making out, our living room was also the scene of many screaming matches between Wanda and the boyfriend. My personal favorite line that I overheard was her screaming, while sobbing, "WHY DO YOU STILL LOVE ME EVEN THOUGH I'M SATAN??!!". Valid question, right?
Biggest pro: Not having to share a room with her. After the underwear/snoring fiasco of the previous year, I paid extra for a private room.
Biggest con: Every morning at around 7 a.m., her devoted boyfriend would pound on our front door until Wanda woke up to let him in and hand over THEIR COMMUNAL TOOTHBRUSH. Yes, they shared a freaking toothbrush. So not only did we get woken up early every morning... we had to go through the psychological pain of knowing they shared the toothbrush that sat on our bathroom counter.

Who? Riley. From? UTAH. When? 2007-2010.
The beginning: In contrast to the previous little nightmares I've discussed... this one I was actually "friends" with for several years before her true colors came out. I say "friends" and not friends, because looking back it wasn't a real friendship. I was always stepping on eggshells so as to not upset her... that's not a friendship- it's manipulation. If you have a "friend" like that, I suggest getting away. With real friends, you should be able to be yourself.
Fun facts:
-Home-schooled and one of 11 children. Grew up very sheltered and in a very different culture than I did.
-We lived together for 3 years, and along with another girl (who was one of my really good roommates!!), I considered them my best friends.
-After a visit staying over at her family's house, I was given the silent treatment for a few weeks and was very confused. When I confronted her, I was informed she "never actually liked me," "thought that by pretending to be friends with me she could help me be a better person," "couldn't handle my negativity anymore," and that we "would no longer be friends." 

That was very shocking and traumatic. I wish now that I had had an awesome comeback or been able to have a mature discussion... but basically I was just really sad and didn't stand up for myself. There was a whole story about something I said that deeply offended her family, which looking back is sort of hilarious since what I said is ridiculously unoffensive. If you know me, you know that I can be sarcastic sometimes, but also that I have basic people skills and would never intentionally say something to offend someone- especially to a friend's family that had invited me to stay at their house. Of course, being the fake people they were... no one said anything to me when I said it... they just pretended nothing happened and I didn't find out I said anything wrong until I confronted her after weeks of the silent treatment.

Riley also informed me that I would still be "allowed" to live with her next year, as we had already signed contracts together, but that we would of course never hang out again. Ha. I have more self-respect than that. I found another place to live, and moved out of that apartment early too. I don't actually believe that she never liked me and never had fun with me- I think she just said that to hurt me. I do believe that she wanted me out of her life. Of course, a normal (non-psychopathic) way to do that would to just make other friends and grow apart.
Biggest pro: After our "friend break-up," I went to Paris about a month later for a study abroad. It changed my life, and it was an amazing few months that helped me to get over this ordeal. The best 'revenge' is being successful and happy in your own life! (I may or may not have plotted a different kind of revenge, but thankfully I didn't go through with it haha).
Biggest con: This was 5 years ago now, and I hate that I still think about it sometimes. If I ever brought it up to my parents, my dad would definitely start singing "Let it Go."

Sorry... that was long. Moving onto something more lighthearted.

Who? Priscilla. From? Neighboring state to Utah. When? 2010-2011.
The beginning: She seemed fairly quiet and nice (and she actually turned out to be fairly nice- just odd), though it weirded me out a bit that her mommy regularly slept over in her room.
Fun facts:
-She was determined to be famous. She had a website to help her get discovered that was complete with a plethora of embarrassing modeling shots and clips of dramatic monologues. (Pro college tip: google your roommates. Then, when you're annoyed with them you can find satisfaction in laughing to yourself about the embarrassing information you found on the internet).
-Priscilla practiced opera singing in her room every day. It was part of her 'get famous' plan.
-She still collected dolls. And brought them all to college with her and displayed them in her room.
-Priscilla had a habit of making to-do lists. One day, while doing laundry I found one such list on the washing machine. Thinking it had fallen out of my pile of clothes, I looked at the paper. Much to my surprise, one of the items on the list was "Play with and dress-up dolls in new outfits." Her room was next to the laundry area, and while before I thought I was hearing her talking on the phone... I now realized she was talking to her dolls. 
Biggest pro: Being able to laugh about the time that I had an adult roommate who played with dolls for the rest of my life.
Biggest con: Being creeped out when her mom would give her intense hours-long massages with new age music playing and lots of incense.
(Update- the website is still live!! Provided me with 20 minutes of laughter)

And just for fun... a few other anecdotal glimpses into my life, there was-
-The roommate who taught me that I never want to smell like curry for an entire year again (it was potent- it wasn't just our apartment that smelled- it permeated).
-The (same as above) roommate who began every morning by forcibly coughing up phlegm at the sink right across the hall from my bedroom. Apparently that was what they do in her culture "in order to expel bad spirits." Nothing like starting off your day being woken up by that.
-The roommate who was dramatically disowned by her family, which led to her family members (that I'd never met) harassing me on facebook to report on her whereabouts to them and force her to go to church.
-The roommate who would only emerge from her room if she was wearing headphones, in order to avoid all human contact.
-The roommates who pretended to be our friends and say they wanted to live together the next year... but then snuck out and signed a secret other contract without telling us (after many years at BYU- the main thing I can't stand is fake-ness!!).
-The roommate who wore a brown snuggie like a monk's robe and was usually found huddled around a pile of Bible commentaries and writing talks for fun.
-The roommate who got married during the school year but continued to live with us.

As of now, I can say that I am a proud BYU roommate survivor. I don't know if any of these experiences actually helped me to grow as a person... but at least I can laugh at (most of) these experiences now. Thank goodness for summer vacations that let me recharge, my family being willing to listen to my complaints, the foreign language housing being a breath of fresh air that got me through my last year and a half, and my eventual graduation and ability to leave Utah.

To end on a positive note, there's also this list of former BYU roommates-
-The one who traveled Europe with me and never ceases to entertain me with her awesome stories and sunny outlook on life
-The one who deeply understands my sarcastic personality, and is always ready to discuss things as diverse as the conflict in Syria to the attractive men she enjoys objectifying (variety is the spice of life).
-The one who participates in choreographing dances with me, and even though we don't have the chance to talk all the time- our friendship always has the ability to pick up where it left off.
-The MULTIPLE roommates who kept me sane by being cool, smart, and normal people amongst the chaos that was the crazy roommates.  (p.s.... if we're facebook friends, and this post showed up on your news feed... you're on this list ;)

This was pretty therapeutic! I invite everyone else to comment or tell me someday about your own tales of crazy roommates. So far in Israel it's been alright- one semi-crazy person and the rest normal. After all of this, I can deal :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you couldn't make up a list this bizarre and sad! So glad you can laugh about things now!