Roommates get a bad rap. And often, for good reason. I’ve had some seriously insane ones. There was the girl who made everyone leave their socks outside and the guy who left an imprint of his balls on our bathroom floor where he powdered them every morning. He was fun! The four years I spent living on my own were absolute bliss. I dropped my underwear in the middle of the floor, slept with the TV on if I felt like it (I like to fall asleep to infomercials) and sang Queen songs at the top of my lungs. But when I moved back to NYC, financial necessity dictated that I have a roommate. As luck would have it, there was a vacancy in my best friend’s apartment. I say best friend, but I should also mention she was my roommate in college for three years, so I knew we could cohabitate peacefully. In total, we’ve lived together for eight years now. Sure, I look forward to living alone someday again. Or maybe, if I’m lucky, with a romantic partner. But there are so many wonderful perks of having a (non-crazy) roommate. Check them out after the jump.
1. Someone will know if you die. One of the anxieties of living alone is that something will happen to you and no one will know. With a roommate, I can sleep peacefully knowing that there is someone in the world who will know if something bad happens to me. If I don’t come home, someone will call the authorities. Or if I fall down the stairs or accidentally leave the oven on and fall asleep (both of these things have happened to me), someone will be there to make sure that I have no broken bones/that the apartment doesn’t burn down. It doesn’t hurt that my roommate is a nurse. So she can also save my life if I go into cardiac arrest.
2. You have an automatic second set of everything. A second closet. A second book shelf. A second music collection. My roommate and I don’t wear the same size clothes (she’s 5’0″ and I’m 5’6″), but she has an amazing jewelry/perfume/makeup/record collection that I am allowed to rummage through from time to time. Even if you live with a dude, he probably has things you can borrow — like a bike, or a book, or some baby powder for your balls. GROSS!
3. Blame the mess on someone else. When you live alone, the dishes are always yours. When there’s another person, the dishes are always theirs. I call this The Dirty Dish Principal. This also applies to the trash. Or when you run out of toilet paper.
4. Your coffee is waiting when you wake up. My roommate goes to work before me, so she makes the coffee. I go to bed after her, so I turn off the lights.
5. Someone can bring you sick supplies. When I am sick, I have someone who I can text to bring me home chicken noodle soup, saltine crackers, tissues and orange juice. And when she’s sick, I let her borrow my decongestant, which I have back stocked like crazy because I get sinus infections almost quarterly.
6. Sometimes you need a second opinion. On your outfit. On your life. On whether or not it’s supposed to rain today. On how to fill out an I-9. Roommates are useful for these sorts of opinions. Although mine is sick of me asking, “Do you think I’ll be too cold in this?” That’s my favorite annoying question. She just ignores me at this point.
7. Someone else will kill the water bug. I am physically incapable of killing water bugs. For those of you who have never seen one, they are like super sized cockroaches that show up when it rains a lot. They love NYC apartments. So they visit us far more often than I feel comfortable with. All I can do when I see one is shriek at the top of my lungs and chase it around with a can of Raid. But they are resilient motherf**kers. Raid is like water to them. It takes a flogging to kill them. My roommate didn’t volunteer for the job … but it’s hers.
8. Being locked out is a thing of the past. So I can’t kill a water bug, but I make up for it in other ways. I never lose my keys. Ever. It has never happened to me in my entire life, except for the time my entire purse was stolen. Other than that, I have a perfect key record. My roommate, on the other hand, misplaces her keys on the regular. So she’s lucky to have me.
9. You have someone to share that bottle of wine with. I realize that not all roommates are chummy enough to share a bottle of wine together. But I share wine with mine. Back in the college days we shared 40 ounces of Old English and bottles of Jack Daniels and packs of Parliament Lights. But we have outgrown all those vices. And we can afford wine now. And conveniently, a wine store just opened across the street. About once a week, we share a bottle at the kitchen table, or on our front stoop and just talk about shit. A time-honored tradition since 1996.