An Ode of Sorts
By: Taylor Nam
So I’ve had a lot of roommates, and they’ve more or less NOT been the embodiment of the horror film starring Leighton Meister and that guy with the hair.
There was the original roommate, aka Little Brother. He made me tell him stories about unicorns and flying cars, and stories in which our entire family would have to sneak out of the house to escape burglars (and our escape would inevitably involve unicorns and flying cars). We’d stay up until the wee hours of something like 9 o’clock, but I imagined myself a night owl. An aspiring artist, if you will, a wordsmith, a spinner of fantastic tales.
Then when Little Sister and I started bunking together, we had our fair share of roommate fuss. Mostly about laundry. And whose stuff was really on the floor (it was hers). My high school years were defined by the two of us crying over documentaries about domestic social strata. Okay, fine, it was Gossip Girl. Same difference.
Going into college, I thought it might be, um, weird to share a room with someone who wasn’t my sibling. I mean, Leighton Meister really had me primed for blood, guts, and demons. Just kidding, I don’t even know if her movie had blood or guts or demons in it because I never watched it and I literally just Googled “horror film roommate” so that I’d appear pop-culturally knowledgeable with that reference. Anyway.
My college roommates were perfect tens, and I mean that in the Olympic gymnastic sense. They were Ramen noodles and all nighters. They were music with the bass in your chest. They were weekend trips home just to pet the dogs because we had missed them so much. They were stories and laughing so hard until I was sure I had punctured a lung. They were cry-on-my-shoulder and borrow-my-shirt (but bring it back) and can-you-PLEASE-turn-off-your-alarm.
I had this one roommate that sang to her food. This same roommate also taught me the magic of snacking in bed whilst perusing Netflix. I had this other roommate whose laugh was so contagious and so quick that I can’t help but laugh around her. And then there was the roommate who found it perfectly normal to act out scenes of Frozen with me because we just wanted to be stars and have solos and let it go, okay?!
And then there was the roommate that always let her oatmeal erupt in the microwave, cascading down the sides of the bowl like a science experiment gone wrong. Oh wait, that was me.
Then, when I moved to the city, I got a new roommate and I hit the jackpot, again. My roommate introduced me to the wonder of documentaries about food. She dyed my hair red when I had the sudden whim. She asks me to read my homework aloud to her, just because she’s patient and encouraging like that. And she bought me a bookcase for Christmas and I almost cried. All in all, this roommate keeps me young.
So here’s to you—past, current, and future roommates. You all have put up with my bad habits (like offering your chips to my guests—sorry I come from a big family, the whole “what’s mine is yours” thing is stuck with me forever), my eating habits (copious amounts of spray butter and apple cider vinegar), and my sleeping habits (sometimes, never, a lot).
You’ve ignored the stray socks that frequent the floor. You’ve given me things to dream about, like unicorns and flying cars. You’ve listened. You’ve let me have the bed by the window, because know how often I lose my keys, oops. You’ve learned to fall asleep with the light on because this book is just so good and I promise I’m almost done!!!
You’ve laughed with me, you’ve gotten midnight milkshakes with me, you’ve done ab workouts with me because, gawd, those midnight milkshakes. You’ve all spit some serious truth into my life. You have all made it impossible now for me to live by myself. I’m super dependent now, thanks to you fine folks. I can’t imagine my life without you and so, to you, I dedicate this piece.
Peace and love, roommates. You know who you are.