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The Lake News Online
  • My view: Epi-pens and pizza crusts — my first roomie

  • Growing up, I was lucky enough to have my own bedroom. I had my own space to play, sleep and spread out as I so desired. I never had to share a space, much a less a bed. I had my own closet, my own television.
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  • Growing up, I was lucky enough to have my own bedroom. I had my own space to play, sleep and spread out as I so desired. I never had to share a space, much a less a bed. I had my own closet, my own television.
    Heck, I even had my own fishtank.
    But I knew that would all change when I headed to college. I prepared to share a small space with a complete stranger. As I took a tour of my future dormitory on the campus at the University of Missouri in 2007, I hoped the cinder block walls in Mark Twain Hall wouldn’t feel like a prison quite as much as they looked.
    As August approached and I started gathering college necessities, the nerves kicked in as I thought of my potential roommate — my first roommate ever.
    I dreaded being partnered up with a weird recluse that never talked. I wanted nothing to do with a roommate akin to trash-loving Oscar the Grouch. I didn’t really want somebody terribly unlike myself.
    Then came the news. My roommate, who shall thankfully remain anonymous, was coming from Massachusetts.
    Strike one, I thought. People from the east coast are bossy, loud and aggressive.
    We shared a phone call to iron some details of our living arrangement. “Are you a messy person?” I recall asking.
    “I can keep my mess to myself,” was the reply.
    Strike two.
    On move in day, the Bostonian arrived before I did, so when I pushed into room 704, dragging a mini-fridge behind me, I was greeted with a Boston accent. A standard greeting, followed by:
    “So, here’s my epi-pen. If I have a reaction...”
    Before I could get a word in edgewise, he thrust upon me the responsibility of saving his life if duty called.
    I couldn’t have peanut butter in my room all year. Bummer.
    Over the course of the next nine months, ‘Boston’ — as our acquaintances sometimes called him — and I experienced our first year of college together.
    I can still hear his morning alarm: “General” by the band Dispatch. I received a couple of polite requests to occupy myself away from the room while he had a “guest” over. I left him not-so-polite Post-Its on occasion warning him to pick up his stuff before he never sees it again. When pizza crusts sat on top of our refrigerator for a good week, I relocated the crusts to his bed, where he slept all night without noticing the extra bedmates.
    Page 2 of 2 - In general, we got along just fine. We weren’t best friends, but we didn’t hate each other. At the end of the year, we shared a good handshake — probably an awkward hug, too (I’ve blocked that part out) — and went our separate ways respectfully.
    The next year, I moved into a house off-campus with some other guys on my floor while he picked up an apartment with his friends.
    Boston and I weren’t meant to be roommates, but we managed a friendly relationship after we departed room 704.
    Years later, I can appreciate my time with my first roommate.
    We aren’t, as humans, supposed to love everyone. We can’t by nature be friends with everyone. We just need to try to make it work. If more people try to make it work, like Boston and I did, perhaps the world would be a better place.

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