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September 13-20, 2006

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How not to handle the roommate from hell

Slap shtick: Corporal punishment, although tempting, is rarely the answer to your roommate woes.

My Year With a Caveman

How not to handle the roommate from hell

By Loren Newman

It wasn't the fact that my roommate was a sociopath, ate my food, stole my stuff and professed to be an ardent anarchist. That I can deal with. I can put up with chronic weed smoking, cheating, repetitious Rent-soundtrack playing, loud chewing, macho posturing, naked sleeping, bar-soap usurping, snoring, farting, stoned poetry reciting, hygiene forsaking, tone-deaf singing, laundry neglecting, early retiring, mess inducing, violence threatening and a colorful variety of other undesirable traits.

The proverbial straw that broke this only child's back came during an exchange we had during our first week together in our palatial freshman digs. Somehow, after a thorough exercise of all other topics familiar to young gentlemen everywhere, the conversation turned to the opposite sex. This prompted me to delicately initiate the often awkward but very important "tie on the door handle" issue.

"Don't flatter yourself," my roomie responded flatly and returned to noisily chewing his pizza.

All right, fuck this guy.

How to deal with the effect of this Cro-Magnon skewing my rosy doctrine of universal intelligence and goodwill? A similar battle has been waged since Darwin, who, after presumably surviving his undergraduateship at Cambridge, published The Origin of Species in 1859. Taking a few pages out of the church's battle against evolution, I ignored my roommate.

In fact, from late October to the day he flew back to wherever the hell he was from, we did not again exchange a single word. Our lack of verbal correspondence did not, however, stop us from endlessly antagonizing each other. The cruel animosity that grew between us reached epic proportions by Christmas. If either of us came in while the other was sleeping, the lights--all of them--went on. Early wake-up time? Hello, Led Zeppelin. Is someone changing his undies? It must be time to leave and forget to close the door.

Did I mention I go to Stanford? In 2005, over 17,000 applicants were turned down by a Stanford acceptance rate hovering around 10 percent. Several of those applicants were eloquent and deserving friends of mine. How did Fred Flintstone beat out all those enlightened valedictorians?

He was the recipient of the only two-word noun to strike love into the hearts of admission officers nationwide: football scholarship.

The funny thing is, I like football. I made it to all of our home games last season, and I count a few members of the team as friends. But how much is a university like Stanford willing to sacrifice in order to win on the football field? Quite a bit, apparently. The kicker is, after all that salutary neglect of admission standards at Stanford, the football team still really sucks.

For every situation, from the horror roommate to being locked out of your dorm room when the RAs are out of town, every college at UC-Santa Cruz has a housing office to assist you: Campus Housing Office: 831.459.2394, 104 Hahn Student Services Building. College Eight: 831.451.2361. College Nine: 831.459.3767 .College Ten: 831.459, 2394. Cowell College: [email protected]; 831.459.2173. Crown College: 831.459.5370. Kresge College: Joao Simas, [email protected]; 831.459.4433. Merrill College: Kristen Weaver, [email protected]; 831.459.5233. Oakes College: 831.459.3988. Porter College: 831.459.2746. Stevenson College: [email protected]; 831459.5058.

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