Monday Roundtable: How Do We Live with Ourselves?

What’s the thing that makes us at least mildly insufferable to anyone who shares living space with us, be they family, roommates or romantic partners, yet we cannot change as it is a fundamental and immutable part of who we are? Is it insisting on everyone composting even though we can see it slowly destroy our relationships? Is it sleepwalking? This is honesty hour. Please be kind; we know, we know already. Share your secret/not-so-secret shame in the comments!

Vanessa: I’m Sorry My Hair Is All Over The Bathroom Floor

“You’re one of those girls, aren’t you,” an ex once said to me knowingly, as I shook my long wavy hair out of my face in what I hoped was a sexy and alluring way and shed about 74 pieces all over her bedroom floor. She wasn’t being flirty, that ex of mine. She was talking about my hair, and how it is long, and how it falls out of my head a lot, and how I am “one of those girls” who shed everywhere. And she was right! I do shed everywhere! I can’t help it! Sometimes I comb my hair and like, 400 pieces fall out, and I try to pick them all up off the floor but I miss 5%, which is a small percentage but is still like, 20 hairs, and I understand people are (weirdly?!?!) grossed out by hair, and I AM SORRY!

I don’t live with my current girlfriend, but I spend a lot of time at her house, and I try really hard to be a great considerate girlfriend guest, but still her housemate has had to gently ask me 15+ times to remove some of my hair off the bathroom / kitchen / living room floor. No matter how vigilant I am, there my hair is. I think I do a pretty decent job of removing it from the drain post-showers, because I know that particularly disgusts people (and I actually get that, because while dry hair is not that gross to me, wet clumps of hair that have caught soap and dead skin and goddess knows what else while in the drain and then have to be pulled out by your bare fingertips and look like slimy dead animals are truly objectively disgusting, that we can all agree on) but the hair wants what the hair wants. And my hair wants to be everywhere. Yes, that is my hair on your counter / in your bathtub / under your pillow / probably in your mouth. I’m sorry I’m like this. I’ll take out the compost and make dinner and do the dishes and unload the dishwasher and I’ll even take the notes at our house meeting and call Comcast when they inevitably start ripping us off. I love you, please don’t be mad about my hair. It loves you too.

Creatrix Tiara: Leaving Glitter/Threads/Fluff/Glue Everywhere, Probably

I messaged my ex-boyfriend/current best friend asking him about this since we lived together for about 3-4 years and that was word-for-word his response. Very soon after we started living together was when I got into burlesque, and I only had half the bedroom floor to work with most times, so that’s a fair assessment. Hell, I live alone now and my bedroom floor is still covered in confetti from the Australian marriage equality postal vote announcement, so clearly that habit hasn’t gone away.

Stef: Disappearing Act

My apartment is essentially a home for my cat and a bunch of my stuff; I work around 80 hours a week at my regular job (give or take) and usually only come home to crash. I’m not the tidiest person, and if I’m already tired from work my level of fucks has a tendency to dip dangerously low. I currently live with a wonderful and considerate human being, and when one of us is neglecting something that needs to get done around the house, the other one generally will pick up the slack without needing to be asked. This has been an issue in previous apartments however – I’ve lived with a couple of people who were annoyed that I wasn’t around enough to participate in the household (or whatever). Personally, I feel like as long as I’m not around to create a mess, I’m doing you a favor. The other thing is that when I’m actually home, I need a lot of alone time. I’m in my room with the door shut more often than not. It’s nothing personal, I just need to unwind and watch Teen Mom sometimes. You can still help yourself to some of the soup I made!

Alaina: I Can’t Pay Rent On Time

LISTEN. I know who I am. Which is why I take out too much money in student loans and pay my rent twice a year in large lump sums. When I live with people, they don’t want to me to do that. And when I’m forced to pay rent month by month, I almost always pay it late. I’m not good at month to month money management!

Also, I probably won’t talk to you. I hate small talk and when I have housemates spend 90% of my time in my room to avoid it, even listening silently from my room for a moment when the halls are silent so I can go the bathroom.

Mey: I Need You to Pay Attention to Me

I’m needy. I’m high maintenance. I like being around people because I like paying attention to them and I like them paying attention to me. If we’re gonna be roommates, we’re not gonna be the type who each go off into their bedrooms and never see each other. We’re going to spend LOTS of time together. I love cooking for people, watching movies with people, cuddling on the couch, hosting parties, asking how I look, spilling my emotions and just about any other activity that involves the people near me paying attention to me. I’m an extrovert and I love talking about feelings and being physically close with people, so if you’re the person I see the most, I’m going to try to do all those things with you.

A.E. Osworth: “Secret Dirt”

When I talk to other human people, I describe myself as “very clean” or “extremely neat.” And when you visit my apartment, this will appear to be true. I have what one friend has described as “an adult’s apartment.” At least, at first glance I do. My wife, however, knows better. Because she has to exist in a space with me, which means she occasionally opens the closets. Or my secretary desk. Or, like, turns my desk chair around and sees that it is covered in computer equipment and clothing. In plain sight, everything has a home. As soon as I can close the door on something and it is out of sight, however, I will smash things together on a shelf and not fold them. I will leave things in the refrigerator WAY past their expiration date. My wife calls this all “secret dirt.” I imagine I am insufferable. If you’re reading this, honey, thank you for staying married to me when an empty cider can fell between the bedside table and the wall, and I left it there for a month because I couldn’t see it and forgot about it.

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya: Always Home

Hello! It’s me! I’m always here! Look, I try not to get in people’s way or all up in their business, but because I work from home, I’m pretty much always… home. And sometimes that means I’m on the phone for work or watching television for work, and I’ve only ever lived in small apartments and have never had a private office space, so I know that it probably gets annoying sometimes. Everyone always prefers a roommate who’s never around. Hell, I prefer roommates who are never around. Because I love to have the place to myself when I’m home… all day! I think it was even hard for my girlfriend to get used to in the beginning of our relationship, because it meant that she was literally never ever alone when at home and, hey, who doesn’t enjoy a tiny bit of alone time now and then?

Heather Hogan: Are You Supposed To Be Working Too?

I’m not a person who can sit still and relax if there’s stuff that needs to be done. Dishes, laundry, sweeping, mopping, dusting, clutter. When there’s anything that needs cleaning or tidying in my house, I observe it and file it away in a mental list and the absolute second I am finished working or the second I wake up or the second we got home from whatever obligation, I pounce on it with unrelenting focus.

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I thought was that the dishes needed to be unloaded from the dishwasher that ran during the night, that there were three spots on the living room hardwoods from the snow and salt we tracked in yesterday, that the cat trees needed to be vacuumed, that the air filter in the cats’ room needed to be changed, and that the upstairs bathroom needed to be cleaned. I vaulted out of bed, and did it. Stacy woke up and groggily said, “I’ll do X things” and I was like “No, I’ve got it” because I didn’t want to wait for her to do it because I can’t sit down and enjoy reading my book or playing my video game if it’s not done, so the sooner the better, and I also didn’t want her to have to chase me out of bed at 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday after working until 2am every night last week. So she’s stuck either coming home from a 12-hour workday and hour-long train commute to unload the dishes in the middle of the night so I don’t have to or feeling guilty that I cleaned the entire house from top to bottom before she got out of bed.

Also, when we have company over, I cannot, like, put the dishes in the sink and say, “We’ll clean this up tomorrow” and go to bed. I mean, I could do that, but I would just lie awake and stare at the ceiling and think about how the stuff in our house is not in the correct place. Stacy and I are both introverts and I know after an evening of socializing she would really prefer to get inside a blanket fort with a cat and watch Netflix but how can she do what she needs and also what I need, which is to have everything in its place? I don’t like clutter! I do not like it! It makes me feel like I’m somewhere on the scale between “anxious” and “fire ants crawling all over my brain.”

So, uh, I guess the short answer is: I micromanage my space and have a hard time relaxing?

Carmen: Just So You Know, I’m Never Going to Stop Talking

Oh this one is EASY. I talk. I mean, sunrise to sunset, I talk. I’m exhausting. I process my feelings out loud, I process almost every thought out loud, I talk back to the television. If something’s funny, I am going to laugh and that laughter will probably reverberate off the walls. Sound is how I make sense of the world around me. Loud is my love language.

Once when I was about seven or eight years old, my mom complained to my grandmother that by the time Monday morning came around for me to go back to school after the weekend, her ears hurt. Yeeeaah, it was pretty bad. But, I want to say something in defense of myself!

I am so much better about it now. Living with roommates as an adult taught me the importance of respecting other people’s quiet time and personal space. I’m not perfect, but if I realize that you need your own space, I’ll pull back. I’ll be buzzing with energy I can’t let free, but I will hold back. It’s the mature thing to do (or so I have been told).

Molly Priddy: Overlooking Messes

I’d say I’m usually OK to live with, except I’ve had roommates and girlfriends and even a wife tell me this one thing: My threshold for mess is higher than that for most people. If my house is messy, like there’s a collection of random shit on the kitchen table and my office desk is cluttered and the bathroom sink needs cleaning, I’ll stop seeing it as mess and just sort of register it as How My House Is Now. I eventually hit capacity — when it shifts from “messy” to “dirty” — and clean everything up, but usually my threshold is just higher than other people’s.

Valerie Anne: Who I Am As A Person I Guess

Living in New York for my entire adult life means I’ve lived with many, many strangers, but I actually have a pretty good track record, as far as I know. Two of my roommates only moved out to move in with their now-husbands, and one left because she was moving out of state. It’s never been a dramatic “I can’t live with you” type of deal. So I’ve never asked anyone, but if I had to guess, I’d say my answer is a combination of Molly’s and part of Stef’s; my threshold for messy is a lot higher than some people’s and when I’m at my apartment, I don’t want to have to make small talk. Some of my roommates have been happy to live our parallel lives that never intersect except for a friendly hello in the rare instances we run into each other, some are relentless in trying to hang out and get increasingly frustrated when I postpone or dive into my room when I hear a key in the front door. It has nothing to do with my feelings about the actual roommate; I lived with a good friend of mine for a few years and I would still do that. Sometimes when I’m home I just want to be home and not “on.” And as for the mess thing… I don’t know how to fix that. I have to turn my mess-detector off most of the time because if I turn it on I can see ALL the mess, and next thing you know it’s 3am and I’m scrubbing the walls. But I try to keep the common spaces relatively neat (sans “my” chair in the living room, which is usually a heap of sweaters), I usually do my dishes in a timely manner, and I respond well to polite task assignment; so once a roommate learns that I wasn’t joking when I said that in the roommate interview, mess-related problems become a non-issue.

Natalie: I’m Messy… Sometimes

When I’m feeling in control of my life, my space is immaculate. Everything is in its place, the faint smell of a scentsy candle wafts through the air and there isn’t a speck of dirt or dust to be found. But when things start happening to me that aren’t within my power to change, things in my space start to get a little messy… much to the chagrin of whomever I might be living with at the time.

It’s less about my mood and more about reminding myself that in spite of whatever crazy thing happens at work or however 45 decides to upend my sense of safety and security and how those things affect my moods, I’m still in control of something. I can pick up the laundry I’ve dumped on the floor, I can dust off all the furniture, I can vacuum the floor…when it feels like I can’t control anything else in the world, I can control this space.

Erin: Home a Lot/Kitchen User

I think the things that are probably annoying about me as a roommate is 1) I work from home so I’m always there, and even though I tend to stay in my room rather than a common area I bet it’s like “can you just leave for one goddamn day,” 2) I make most of my meals so I’m in the kitchen a lot, which is sort of unavoidable tbh as a human being, and I know it’s irrational to get mad at someone for cooking meals at traditional eating times but sometimes you just do and I get that, and 3) I have people stay over which I know is not always some people’s favorite. Other than that I’m perfect.

Laura M: Dish Procrastinator

I am very comfortable leaving dishes in the sink for days on end. This has annoyed every roommate I’ve ever lived with, at some point. Sorry, everyone! It’s just not a priority. I realize this makes me a nightmare person to live with and I apologize.

KaeLyn: Consistently Leaves Hair in Drain

I shower like, not as often as some, but more than Science recommends and when I do, if you live with me, you know it. I always shed hair in the shower. It’s significantly better now that I have a huge undercut all the way around my head, but it still happens. Every time. It seems like I should probably be bald by now, but I’m not. Where all this hair is coming from, I truly don’t know. Anyway, I’m also profoundly near-sighted and I can’t see a damn thing when I’m in the shower, which means I can’t see the hair clump I leave in the drain and I forget to clean it 99% of the time. Waffle has 20/20 vision and is never pleased to see that I’ve taken my biweekly shower. “KAELYN, COME GET YOUR HAIR!!!”

Raquel: I Don’t Want To Talk To You

When I get home, I need like, at least two hours of decompression time: to sit alone, to bumble around the internet, to read, etc. I can’t stand small talk, or answering “how was your day?” and having to respond, until it’s at least dinnertime. I’ve lived with some of my very best friends, people I could spend hours talking to, and I’ve hurt our friendship because I’ll walk in the door and go straight to my room, and if they want to hang out immediately after work, I’ll almost always flake. I’m a much better friend again immediately after we’re no longer living together anymore. It’s weird, because if I don’t go home, I’m fine — happy to go to happy hour, or run errands, or go to the movies. But if I stop at home first, I immediately go into a zone where I just need s p a c e.

Reneice: I Am Allergic To Dishes

I hate doing the dishes. If Laura and I lived together I bet we’d accidentally grow the cure for cancer in our piles of avoided dishes in the sink. I think this is common for people who love to cook, we put in a ton of work making mouth-watering meals then want nothing to do with cleaning that up. I have better things to do like eat, watch netflix, pick lint balls off my socks, etc. I once had a roommate put a pot that I left in the sink before leaving for a two week vacation ON MY BED waiting for me when I got back. That’s how bad it’s been at times. Fortunately now I’m better about biting the bullet and getting them done before it’s a public health problem, but it’s still enough of an issue that I’d be hard to live with if you want a clean spoon without washing it yourself and aren’t willing to wait 48 hours.

Carolyn: Assumes You Have Died

I have a lower mess threshold than most people and a higher desire to handle messes, which could either be a negative or a plus, depending on how you think about it. But mostly, if someone I live with says they’ll be home at a certain time and they’re not I assume that they have died or something. I didn’t realize where the root of this was until a partner and I stayed with my parents for a week, and she was incredulous that if they left they’d say “we’ll be back in 44 minutes” and would be back in exactly 44 minutes. Everyone has their damage.

Laneia: Can’t Understand Why You Don’t Know Where That Goes

Judging by how frequently I have to talk about it, and how many eyerolls and groans are received when I do, I think the most annoying thing about living with me must be how I expect everyone to put things back exactly where I’ve decided they need to go, and then how frustrated I become when they don’t! But in my defense, I have to say that I spend a lot of time coming up with an extremely detailed and specific YET INTUITIVE, I believe, system for everything in our home because it’s a very small house and there are so very many of us here, and we have so very many things, which requires a lot of creativity and energy to organize! So when the tupperware cabinet is in disarray for the 723rd time, I kind of just want to put myself in a pool filled with jello jigglers and never speak to them again? Perfectly reasonable. Um, but maybe the most annoying thing about me is that I never do the dishes? Who’s to say really.

Riese: I Do Not Leave Home, Or Sometimes Even The Living Room

I usually adapt to the desires of whomever I’m living with, which’s a weird part of my personality I don’t entirely understand. I’m clean, but I can be cluttered… unless I’m living with a no-clutter person, and then I’ll sometimes become one too? I’ll wash my dishes immediately after every meal if you do, but if you don’t, I probably will wait ‘til the end of the day when all three meals of dishes have accumulated to do them. But my main deficiency as a hypothetical roommate for a hypothetical stranger is that I work from home, I even work out from home on my weird little stepper, I love home, I’m often-to-always-home, and I will also frequently have people over to my home rather than leave the home to see the people! I hate small talk, especially when it imposes itself upon time I’ve otherwise scheduled for work activities or really any activities. (In the past I have fully hidden from roommates and delayed meals for hours to avoid small talk.) You’ll get 300 channels and every on-demand streaming network available to mankind, but sometimes I’ll need to marathon a show for work and there I am in our living room watching the teevee with my snacks!

Abeni: Dish-o-crite

I love having a clean empty sink and having all the dishes available to me for when I want to and am ready to cook. And so I do them! I do mine and my roommates’ dishes. I do them all in one big fell swoop, and listen to music, and it’s fun! And then it’s done. And then… I don’t do dishes again for a week, and I get upset that there aren’t clean dishes and the sink is full, and I get upset with my roommates for not doing it, and at myself. And then finally I do them again and all is good! Rinse and repeat (sort-of-pun intended).

Rachel: Needs A Lot of Alone Time, Like Actually

I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal — “I need a lot of alone time too, you’re thinking.” “I stay in most nights! I’m an introvert! I love Harry Potter!” No, I am talking about a much more advanced and annoying phenomenon. I think this is a combination of my natural bent toward solitude and the fact that basically all of my most beloved people live far away from me and so my norm for social interaction is now virtual/phone, which means it can be engaged with on my own schedule and while multitasking and this is now my preferred/ideal/only social life. Regardless, the end result is that someone I live with walking up to me and starting a casual conversation can feel like an airhorn being blown into my face, and I will treat it like that, even though I know it’s a totally normal and even positive event?

“Alone time” includes the first hour or so after I wake up and sometimes the hour or so before going to bed in the evening, times during which we can pass by each other in the apartment like coworkers who have never learned each others’ names and now it’s been eight years but that is all. Even after that, if I’m doing something that in my head is designated a solitary activity, like making breakfast for myself or on the internet (I’m always on the internet), I will be kind of annoyed that you’re even in the room. This is obviously compounded by the fact that I work from home, especially if you are also in the home for a lot of the day or don’t work a 9 to 5. If I am sitting at the kitchen table working, and you come in the kitchen to make a sandwich and mention something about your day, I will be irrationally annoyed (even though, again, I know that is insane and not fair). If we live somewhere where I can have a private office space, that’s super great and helps a lot, but when I leave my office to get more coffee I will still consider myself encased in a bubble of personal office space, and you will, because you are a normal fucking person, not think of it that way and start talking to me. Honestly “alone time” is a totally unpredictable state of being, almost like a weather pattern, that begins and ends without warning during the day. We could have just had a great conversation for 20 minutes and then I will suddenly start thinking intently about something on my own, and bam, Alone Time is now in session, which you of course have no way of having any awareness of until I am suddenly weirdly distant and grumpy for no reason. If that sounds super annoying and impossible to navigate correctly, you’re right! It is! I should probably never live with anyone again.

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  1. I have strong feelings re: Laneia’s situation. As a self-confessed maximalist, my wife enjoys the acquisition of Tupperware, and it’s one of those things that can so easily get out of control without 24/7 vigilance.

    I thought I was being fair when I made the reasonable suggestion/ironclad rule that we can only keep as much Tupperware as fits into a crate that’s approximately the size of twice as much Tupperware that any household could ever need. If it doesn’t fit, or strays into a non-designated storage area it is ruthlessly removed.

    This system is flawless, except that we now have a crate that’s approximately the size of twice as much Tupperware that any household could ever need WITH NO MATCHING LIDS.

    I’m really not sure where to go from here.

    • My tupperware strategy is that “orphaned” containers (no matching lid, or a lid with no matching container, although the latter has only happened once) get tossed. Maybe that would help?

      • On the 15th day after the lid had gone missing, the grumpy old fruit bowl smiled sadistically as it leaned toward the terrified Tupperware container. “Death is upon you,” it whispered.

    • sally sally SALLY i feel you so so much. you have to throw them out when they lose their lids or their bottoms. it’s survival of the fittest.

    • we used to put numbers on the tupperware in permanent marker, like a 1 container matches a 1 lid, or whathaveyou. it helps keep everything together. maybe you’re already doing this and i guess if you have no lids, then WHERE DO YOU GO FROM THERE. but this is a safe space so

  2. My most annoying habit is similar to Heather’s/Laneia’s in that everything has a place, and must be in its place, as soon as I realize it is out of place.

    I like to take care of things as I see they need done (washing a dish, folding the blanket I was using on the couch before moving to another room, putting laundry away as soon as it’s out of the dryer) to avoid having Big Cleaning Tasks (a sink full of laundry, a living room full of stuff strayed about) that seem less manageable/take more time. But, this comes across to other people (my girlfriend, out-of-town guests) as “following them around” and makes them feel like I’m cleaning up after them, which… I get, but I’m not doing it AT them, I really just like things to stay clean/picked up as much as possible!

    My other similarly annoying trait is that all of my cooking mess has to be cleaned up before I sit down. I do all of my prep/cooking dishes as I go, and will make sure to wipe down the counters/stove before I actually sit down to eat. Sometimes this means I’ll leave other people to start eating without me for a few minutes (I don’t care if they start without me though!).

    I’m pretty sure I get both these habits from my grandma though, so even though I’ve been told they’re obnoxious, I like that I know it makes me a little bit like her and I’m not really trying to change them.

  3. Me, living in my own place or with a roommate: AWESOME roomie. Tidy, but not rigid. Shares responsibility. Everything’s cool.

    Me, living back at home: Human garbage. Reverts to absolute worst version of self.

  4. my mom likes to describe me as “the loudest quiet person i’ve ever met.” i’m so sorry to all my past, present, and future roommates for my inability to quietly shut a door. i’m especially sorry to neil, my long-suffering downstairs neighbor, who once said “i haven’t slept in 5 years. i can hear every whisper. please move.”

  5. Wow, Laura and Reneice, very extremely same. However, I might be getting better with dish procrastinating (which would absolutely shock all of my exes and former roommates) because my current roommate – also a Midwestern Capricorn Lesbian – DOES MY DISHES FOR ME and this is extremely upsetting, so I’ve just… started doing my dishes more frequently? So that she won’t do them, so that I don’t feel obligated? What?

  6. Vanessa’s post is basically my entire freaking life!!!!!! HAIR EVERYWHERE!!!! I love my hair but damn, maybe you should get a dog instead of me, it’ll shed less.

  7. I would definitely watch a reality show where you all live in a house together and make drama over glitter covered tupperware containers not being returned to the right drawer.

  8. I am horrible at doing dishes. Horrible. I just got a portable countertop dishwasher and it is LIFE CHANGING. It’s the best $240 I’ve ever spent. Hate dishes too? DO IT.

    • My GF buying a dishwasher saved our relationship. I get emotional every time I run it thinking about all those dishes I don’t have to wash.

    • My ex and I bought one of those, and I think it prolonged our relationship. However, when it stopped working (clogged with peanut butter jar labels maybe), I could not find anyone to fix it! Very frustrating

  9. I accumulate books, outerwear, and foster cats.

    I did get gf H (current roommate) on board with the cat thing, and now we foster kittens together. (I do the gross stuff and she does the catching when they get into high places.)

  10. I get incredibly annoyed when someone I’m living with doesn’t do a basic task (like loading the dishwasher) in the same way I would. I’m super analytical and like to think that the way I’ve come up with to do each of these tasks is, in fact, the superior way to do them. It’s probably not, but I’ve spent a SUPER LONG amount of time thinking about the most efficient way to do that task, so I have to feel like it’s the best way to do it or else maybe I’m wasting my life?

    I try to teach others my superior way in a not-condescending tone, and some people are totally open to changing their patterns and others are totally NOT. Which I get. But then, also, I will have to go back after you have done the thing and redo it my way, and I will somehow resent you for that. Sorry, people that I have lived with or will live with in the future!

    • “but I’ve spent a SUPER LONG amount of time thinking about the most efficient way to do that task, so I have to feel like it’s the best way to do it or else maybe I’m wasting my life?”


    • Feel like this applies to super-obvious simple logic, like A Knife Drawer That Is Only For Knives Because Obviously It Would Be Beneficial Not to Have Ramdom Sharp Things Hidden in Each and Every Drawer Invisible Under Benign Soup Ladles and Such.

      Alas, it is not obvious, friends, to my many roommates.

  11. I can deal with a small amount of clutter around anywhere but the kitchen. I am definitely a kitchen top, and I need everything to be in its place, be able to use essential kitchen things without having to wash them first, and generally just be more in control of the kitchen than anyone else.
    I also am always listening to music when I am home, when I lived with people I would be kind and keep it quiet but thankfully I live alone now.
    My last roommate, who was the best ever, said one of the most annoying things about me was that my text notification sound is a clown horn and she got very tired of hearing it (fair).

    • JAY thank you for this bc kitchen top is exactly it. just reading “generally just be more in control of the kitchen than anyone else” brought my blood pressure down for the morning.

      • I am a kitchen top who wants their kitchen bottom(s) to do all the dishes. And to do them “right” (my way).

        • Actually you’re all right this is a thing because all my exes are kitchen tops and I’m the kitchen bottom who just wants to be told what to do

          jfc as if we needed more labels

      • I definitely didn’t come up with it, someone said it in some comment thread here on AS maybe a year ago and I sooo deeply identify with it that it has become a part of my vocabulary. It really helps people understand why I’m so particular about my kitchen

  12. My real damage is my terrible relationship with waking up. This makes me a total fucking hell monster for the first hour or two of the morning, but is even worse when I am awoken in the middle of the night. This led to a massive fight between me and my partner recently, when I asked him to stop snuggling with me in the night because I would wake up in a RAGE. I get it, it’s hard to live with a monster who hates everything – including the person they love most – for a big chunk of the day and night. But here we are.

  13. oof. This is incredibly easy. I literally never do laundry. I have told every person I have lived with that I do. not. do. laundry. and they have without fail said “oh me either! totally not a deal breaker” and then been horrified by just how intense my not-doing-laundry lifestyle is. My current record is three months. I know it’s gross! I know it’s annoying! God bless my girlfriend for still loving me despite having to watch me consistently pull clothes out of the dirty clothes mountain in the corner of the room, smell them, and then put them on my body.

    • I don’t mind laundry at all! My boyfriend hates it, too, though. So I do my his and mine and our kid’s. There is so. much. laundry!! when a kid’s involved and allergies. To keep up, I’d need to wash every day, maybe skip a day or two here and there. When I only do the most essential laundry for three weeks and there’s maybe a stomach bug or two, the two laundry piles grow to the top of our 2 m bookshelf. No kidding. That’s why real grownups hide that shit in the basement. I also keep track of switching to the kid’s next size clothes, taking care that we actually have those clothes to switch into in the first place, packing away winter stuff during summer (or else we wouldn’t have enough space), etc. In exchange, he feeds us and does the kitchen. I actually know how to cook pretty well! but I’m incapable of feeding myself in a healthy, sustainable way. When I’m alone, I’ll go to the fridge and eat cheese. Just that. Chocolate, maybe, or cereal. Carrots, if there are any, but bell peppers are already too complicated. Sometimes, I’ll grab some bread with my cheese, and on really good days, I’ll manage eggs. It’s not that I really mind eating cheese and carrots always, but sometimes we run out, also I’m told it’s not healthy, and that ramen aren’t any better, also I actually really like good food and actual meals very much! He cooks and he packs all of the lunch boxes and takes care of the dishwasher and does the breakfast-with-kid-thing every day while I get to sleep just a little bit longer and he packs all of the food when we travel, in neat different boxes and I never have to think of anything and it makes me SO HAPPY that I can trade my laundry skills to get rid of a chore that’s so hard for me. So I guess what I want to say is I totally get Not Doing This Thing! <3 which for me is food, and second of all it's ok not to do laundry and you're probably totally fine as long as your stuff doesn't have puke stains, which never happened to me. And finally, it's so nice to read how we have all those different things about us which can in some cases work out great when combined.

  14. I guess my thing is noise fluctuation??? Live with me and you’ll be subjected to 12 hours of Slient Time where the only sound permitted is nasal breathing or 12 hours of nonstop music/podcasts playing at max volume on a speaker(s). I had to promise my younger sister that Sleater-Kinney could only play loudly once a month :(

    My other thing is Rude Bluntness in which I don’t say any greetings/pleasantries. “Good morning”??? Who’s that? I realized pretty quick that this isn’t acceptable in any household besides my own. Sometimes I forget that you have to say hi to family members and my friends will quietly threaten to me, “Say hi to my mom or she’ll be mad.”

    @ future roomie: I’m not trying to be rude, I just forget that manners are a thing!!!

  15. 1.) I’m a guy. Make of that what you will.

    2.) Like many (this makes me feel so much better. *THANK YOU*.), I have a higher-than-normal tolerance for clutter/mess. Basically, as long as there’s a path to get thru, I’m okay.

    3.) I’m (just a tad ) OCD, and as some of you mentioned, I have a “right” way of doing things, which leads to conflict when others do things differently. Also, I’m a firm believer in the “put things back where I left them” philosophy, and when others don’t … not so good.

    4.) I’m lazy. It’s not that I *won’t* do my chores, it’s that I won’t do them unless/until I’m reminded of them. Usually several times.

  16. I can’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. I hate clutter. I don’t talk. And everything in the kitchen has its place. I don’t allow people to use my professional knives or some other things. Basically, I’m a kitchen tyrant. But, I do all the cooking. If I’m going to be controlling over all aspects of the kitchen then I have to be willing to do everything myself. Also, the thing about being incredibly nearsighted and not seeing what I left behind in the shower hits home. When I have my period it can look like a crime scene. It’s gross, I know. I dog sit for neighbors and friends all the time. It has gotten to the point where I leave notes on the refrigerator about what kind of dog is going to show up today and how long they are staying. Not even kidding.

  17. Well, the bad news is that if you live with me, I’ll probably start hating you after a couple of months… nothing personal, but I just have a low tolerance of things I tolerate regarding noise level and some other ridiculous nitpicking things, and if you happen to make a noise at some point when I’m in a bad mood, I’m done with you! It’s stupid, and completely irrational and I wish I was better!

  18. I strongly identify with Carolyn’s Assumes You Have Died! I also falsely assume that people I live with and love need to know where I am and when I’ll be back at all times?

  19. Heather!!! “…that the air filter in the cats’ room needed to be changed” Do your cats have asthma? Or is someone in your house allergic to cats?

    • Haha! No, we just have four cats which is *a lot* of potential cat hair if we don’t stay on top of it, and all of our friends *are* allergic to cats!

  20. I play my acoustic guitar Larissa all the damn time and so what if when I sing I can’t carry a tune in a picnic basket I like to sing like Im a star.

    I’m if I’m not playing I still have music going and I sing along to it and sometimes I sing a different song all together when something else is on.

    Other than that I am perfect in every way (in my own head) and some people find that more annoying than my wonderful singing.

  21. What makes me hard to live with?
    I might secretly a member of the felidae family possibly an extant of panthera

    I shed a lot(have a glorious mane)
    Territorial about food and space(especially the kitchen when I’m using it)
    Yet if I’ve “adopted” you will try to feed you and will become distressed if the offering is not accepted.
    Sneaky, move about so quietly people have accidentally run into while thinking I was sleeping or out somewhere.
    Oh yeah helplessly nocturnal and will be making dinner for the week or brownies at 2am which means people wake up to my dirty dishes.
    Social and anti-social at the same time in ways that “aren’t predictable”

    Jokes aside if you pick up some food I made for somebody not you I will shout a command to for you put it down like I would a dog then apologize while trying to keep my body from going all fight or flight on me.
    Or if you try to use the kitchen as the same time as me I will glare at you like a pissed off cat about ready to rumble until you leave. Or dramatically leave the kitchen if you’re not going to be done with the kitchen for awhile and keep getting in my way.

    I know 100% why I’m like this, not naming names but it’s you Dad all you, and I swear I’m working on it but I’ll probably be territorial about using the kitchen until the day I’m bedridden and unable to use a kitchen.
    I want believe someday I can calmly tell people that thing I made is not for them and to “please put it down” without feeling going all fight or flight about it, because outside specific boudoir games no one appreciated being shouted at like a naughty dog.

  22. I too have a bit of allergy to the dishes; sometimes I even forget to clean my dish. I generally am a clean person. Like to real mess in my room, but I also don’t like having my room cleaned(too many wires and things get misplaced each time), or bed bed.I find making my bed daily is redundant as I am pretty much the only person to see my room and will be in bed at night again. It really feel like a waste, more so since I or my parents probably won’t have a guest over(only time I make my bed). My close on the other hand can be a bit of a mess with camera lenses, walking stick, and toy cars and tennis balls I have accumulated over the years.

  23. I am so thankful for this round table bc I have just an ungodly amount of home making quirks that I am stoked to have the opportunity file and label and organize for you here ;)

    1) oh. my. god. If I am sitting down to have a tv, movie, any kind of screen watching session with my S.O. I will literally walk around the house for 20 full minutes trying to figure out the exact perfect lighting based on what we are watching, what time of day it is, if we are having food/snacks while watching, etc. etc. etc. I mean, this is pretty intense actually and encompasses anything from lighting just the right amount of candles, turning the blinds on every single window to the perfect slant and finding the perfect setting on every dimmer and three way light bulb (if we are having snacks and require extra light…) Whew!! My wife loves me a whole lot….

    2) This same thing goes for tidying up circa Heather’s fire ants in the brain thing. The day doesn’t start if there is a dish in the sink or a spot on a counter.

    3) Company pretty much kills me. I will act as an impeccable “host” for even just a small party of 3 even, just swooping in and out and around everyone asking ab water refills and cleaning up. “Kitchen Top” is a term I am excited about throwing around when I inevitably do this in front of company.

    I guess OCD is maybe a better way to classify this stuff? My closet isn’t perfect but it’s damn near close (long sleeves plaids, short sleeve button downs, floral button downs). I honestly drive myself (and others) crazy but ultimately it makes me just so happy to keep my life organized and well lit!!

  24. I relate so much to both Alaina and Laneia – It makes me really upset that the other four people with whom I share my house don’t seem capable of putting kitchen things (spatulas, pots and tupperware seem to be the main offenders) back in the same place twice, but also I don’t feel like socializing a lot, and have been known to wait until 10 or 11pm to make and eat dinner just so I won’t have to talk to my roommates.

  25. No one has mentionned this so I will.

    I snore. Loud as a freight train, relentless as the Windsor Hum.

    No I do not have sleep apnea. I just make a lot of frickin’ noise. This is after I’ve spun around a zillion times before I get comfortable and finally drift off. I’m not the most popular of sleeping partners.

    Also I get these sneezing fits and it drives one of my cats absolutely crazy. She stomps around the house and cusses me out but good every time. It’s quite funny but she doesn’t think so.

  26. I am a sleep princess. Yes, I can still hear you talking even though you think you lowered your voice sufficiently. Yes, I can hear your music playing even from the complete other side of the house. Yes, when you walk around the house like a perfectly normal person it is too loud. Yes, I’m going to be annoyed about your friends being over late even if it’s the weekend because I probably already didn’t sleep well all week and this is the only time for me to catch up and I’m still going to wake up early because my body doesn’t know how to sleep in. I’M SORRY.

  27. Oh my god, I am Rachel. Alone Time is all the time except when I start feeling lonely. I even fantasize about living in a separate household from my GF, one in which order would reign supreme and I’d just have so much space.

  28. I set multiple loud alarm clocks for multiple increments of time in multiple rooms in the apartment. I. snooze. every. one. of. them.
    I live solo so this is mostly fine but even I know I’m a monster.

  29. If you talk to me whilst I am reading, or watching a movie, or actively listening to music I will inwardly turn into a demon- monster and feel claws emerging and my spine lengthening and therefore my voice coming from the nether regions of hell may cause you some surprise and even discomfort. Please know it is a very muted version of how I feel and only reflects the merest smidge of the experience of having the beautiful universe I was experiencing collapse around me. No I don’t have strong feelings about art forms, why do you ask?

    Also…if I am mentally prepared to watch a movie with friends beforehand, the above is null and void, and I can ever seem quite human.

  30. I think the hardest thing about living with me is probably that I am a 1950’s homemaker trapped in the body of a small gay crustpunk? I’ve added heavy disclaimers to my last three room interviews that I’m ‘a bit anal about tidying’, and all it’s ever gotten me is a raised eyebrow or a laugh at the word ‘anal’

    Three weeks later my poor roommates realize the whole house smells like peppermint Dr. Bronners and they’ve unwittingly adopted a system for stacking forks in the cutlery drawer. I DON’T MEAN TO CREATE A CLEANING DICTATORSHIP I’M SORRY

  31. I’d say the worst thing about living with me is the fact that at some point you’ll have to help me to the bathroom because I can’t make it there on my own (even with my cane) and/or the fact that if I take a bath I need to recover for like 20 minutes in the drained tub before I can safely stand up which has made people worried that I have passed out in the tub before.

    I’m also truly my grandpa’s heir in persnickety dishwasher loading and I can’t STAND when people load the dishwasher incorrectly/inefficiently. I also have a bit of a mess threshold that’s higher than some people’s but way less high than my college roommates so idk where it is in relation to Normal People.

  32. I’ve been told I “abuse my bath privileges”. I disagree. It’s perfectly reasonable to take 2 hour long bubble baths.

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