Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In the house.

I'm looking for a new housemate, and let's be honest: it's not a fun activity. I'd probably put it near the top of my Top 10 Least Favourite Things To Do list (probably above getting a needle, but certainly below buying Canesten). The whole process has, however, given me cause to pause and reflect on some of my favourite living arrangements and those moments in sharehousing we'd probably rather forget.

My first sharehouse was a huge, gorgeous house which I lived in with three girls at the bargain basement price of $55 a week (thank you, early naughties Bathurst). We had a big backyard, a spa, our own rosemary and some unfortunate plumbing.

One day, on her way to hang out washing, one of my housemates noticed a troubling sight in the pavement out the back. A couple of bricks had been forced out of the ground to make way for everything that had - how should I put this? - passed through us that week. We named the area the "poo hole" and while it was fixed we had to spend a week showering at the gym and/or demonstrating some questionable personal hygiene, learning one of life's invaluable lessons: never, EVER, flush a tampon.

I think it's fair to say that every sharehouser goes through a pest problem, and I've dealt with pretty much all of them. Mice, weavels, cockroaches and bed bugs that left me with welts and spots of blood on my sheets. I would think most of us have had the misfortune to walk in on, or at the very least overhear, a housemate's sexual exploits. And I'd say a pretty big chunk of us have ended up with a bizarre roomie at some point.

Mine was an Irish dude by the name of James. I moved into his flat in Dublin. He seemed like an alright guy: kind of shy, beautiful lilting accent and an uncanny resemblance to Damien Leith. And indeed he was pretty decent and ended up being a bit like a big brother. But he was exceptionally odd, for a few reasons.

First up, he had a secret girlfriend. I didn't find out about her for four months, and in the year that I lived in that place, I never once met her or heard him mention her name. I knew she existed because his friends and my other housemates told me about her and there was a card in his room marking their one-year anniversary (found entirely by accident in the back of his cupboard). Plus, she'd come and stay entire weekends at our place, so I'd see her handbag on the table, and I once heard her have an impressive sounding orgasm, but we never once came face to face.

James used to let me use his laptop and one day when I went to use the net, the browser opened on So my other housemates and I did what any polite, respectful housemates would do, and set up our own profile so we could search for and contact him. We found that in spite of having an alleged long term girlfriend, James was up for a bit of "funnnnnnnnnn... :)" as he called it. Which, judging by a few marked mid-week absences, he didn't have trouble finding.

James was also in the habit of sleepwalking after a night on the scotch, which none of my housemates thought I needed to be warned about. So you can imagine my surprise/terror when I awoke to find him standing in my doorway in nothing but a pair of white jocks staring at me in a manner not dissimilar to the kid in the Exorcist, flicking my light switch on and off menacingly. Luckily, James only drank scotch once or twice a week.

One can only hope I end up with someone as special as him this time around.

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