Last week, while my Facebook was exploding with friends’ posts about getting into Stanford’s and Harvard’s graduate programs, I faced a dilemma: Do I change out of my 5-year-old sweatpants and oversized sweater when getting my SpoonRocket order? Not that I cared how I looked — I was just worried the guy who delivered my mac and cheese at 3:21 p.m. would be the same one who delivered second one at 3:42 p.m. I decided I didn’t care and kept my comfortable clothes on.
Walking around in whatever you please and looking like absolute hell are only two of the perks of living in an apartment with your sister: You can holler for toilet paper when you’re all out, there’s no embarrassment in having a messy room, and any food in the house is up for grabs. And best of all, you get to eat hot buffalo wings and blue cheese dressing at 10 p.m. in her bed while watching “The Office,” and no one judges you for it. In fact, that type of behavior is deeply celebrated and highly encouraged.
Three years ago, I lived in a house that had previously been a sorority. When the sorority lost its charter, it decided to lease out its rooms to girls for a very reasonable amount, and I considered myself extremely lucky to have found such a bargain. I lived with 29 other girls. Being more of a guy-friend kind of gal, I thought this total immersion in estrogen would drive me up the wall, but I loved it. Twenty-nine girls means 29 possible friends, each unique and awesome in her own way. Well, almost each. Because we had a food thief.
The culprit first stole small portions or bites from people’s food. Some pasta here, a few spoonfuls of ice cream there — she must have liked her food rich, because no apple or brussel sprout ever went missing. But then, she started getting comfortable. I baked two cheesecakes once and left one in my assigned fridge slot. A few hours later, I came back and saw one-third of the cake missing and a knife with traces of cheese filling and crust thrown rudely on the counter. That knife carried a message: “Not only will I eat your cheesecake, but here, look at the knife I cut it with.” How dare she? I beat that cheese by hand! I crushed the graham crackers with my fists!
I furiously typed my first — and hopefully last — angry, ranting email and sent it to the house. “From now on, I’m spitting in my food” remains the most credible threat I’ve ever made.
Five days later, our house manager’s cheesecake was also selfishly devoured, and all hell broke loose. Food was laced with laxatives, and warning messages colored the kitchen until cameras were installed, which was announced to everyone via email. But the thief struck again.
When caught, she was faced with two options: pay a huge “I’m sorry” fee or leave the house. She paid the fee, we got a free meal, and that was that. Somehow, though, that didn’t make it all alright.
My experience may sound bad, but the food theft — as utterly traumatizing as it may have been — was only one small aspect of living there, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time at that house in general. It was so convenient always having someone around to hang out with. I met girls from Oslo, Lyon and Taipei. I even met girls all the way from Southern California, believe it or not. I learned that artichokes aren’t completely disgusting and that strawberries in salad are a thing. I saw stereotypical American chick-flick moments come to life in front of my eyes: baking cookies from leftover cookie dough (because cookie dough can totally constitute a meal), cutting and styling one another’s hair (my bangs had never looked so lopsided, and I loved them), and emptying whipped cream cans in and on one another’s faces. It was terrific.
But that doesn’t beat living in my own apartment with the girl who’s down to have a marathon of every “Friends” Thanksgiving episode that’s ever aired, despite the fact that we’ve been rewatching this series for about six years now. I mean, she’s heard me sing Rihanna’s “Stay,” and instead of asking me to stop hurting her ears, joined me with her own awful voice and complete ineptitude of carrying a tune. In this apartment, I can walk into someone else’s closet and wear whatever I feel like, and I can have whole conversations by yelling across walls. Best of all: We have space. We have so much space that we keep trying to come up with ways we can fill up the apartment, and we have so many bare walls that we can cover them up with every single Mumford and Sons poster there is, and we’d still have room left over. I have my own bathroom, people. Let that sink in.
Sure, it’s kind of far from campus, but biking is a great way to lose that weight you’ve put on from Ici and CREAM. And yeah, our neighborhood is kind of scary, and my friend did get mugged right outside the day we moved in, but hey, that’s what pepper spray is for. Living in an apartment makes you feel like an adult; unlike living in a dorm, where “decorating” means buying one poster and hoping it doesn’t offend your two roommates, living in an apartment means you can get that huge, ornate mirror you’ve always secretly wanted and you can have friends over for home-cooked meals. You can tell who steals your cheesecake. And, when you have a roommate as awesome as mine, you never have to do laundry or wash dishes.
But don’t get any ideas. She’s all mine.
Contact Sarah Dadouch at [email protected]