And the maintenance man said, “Let there be light!”

Posted on January 26, 2010


Last week, after two consecutive nights of cooking dinner  in the dark (which was, not surprisingly, an extremely challenging experience), the maintenance man finally came to fix the kitchen light in my apartment. His arrival was unexpected–I had no idea my roommates had even addressed the kitchen light issue, nor did I know the maintenance man would be coming then. If I did, I would have at least cleaned the place up a bit.

See, our kitchen and living room are laden with a hodgepodge of eclectic paraphernalia, including a fake mustache, a fake contract signed in fake blood, kitten mittens, a ziploc bag filled with my hair, and still-inflated Hannah Montana balloons from my roommate’s birthday in October 2009.

Not to say I’m embarrassed by my lifestyle. It’s just that I know some people might not understand it or mine and my roommates’ strange senses of humor if they witness it out of context.

To say the least, apartment life has been an eye-opening and interesting experience. I’ve certainly learned quite a few lessons thus far, like:

1. If you sign a lease for a fully furnished apartment, fully inspect such furniture before signing said lease.

My roommates and I were elated to find such a cheap apartment that came with all the necessary furniture. “What could go wrong?” we thought, “Furniture, even cheap furniture, is still pretty standard.”

False. Somehow, we live in an apartment complex that decided to furnish its abodes with the worst and most ineffective couches known to man. Sitting on our couch is like sitting on bundles of insulation foam covered with a thin layer of cling wrap: extremely uncomfortable and potentially hazardous. The piece-of-crap couch has made entertaining very difficult for us, as this couch can hardly be sat on. It’s simply a waste of space.  So those of you who have never experienced this couch’s wrath might understand it in part, here’s a little insight:

One partygoer noted, “Yea, that couch looks like a warzone.” Well said, sir.

2. Never leave your facebook unattended, even in your own bedroom.

This one should be self-explanatory, but when you are a victim of facebook sabotage in your own private living space, it means so much more. Especially if you have extremely creative and perverse roommates. Such people will cross the invisible border below your door frame, enter Interweb No Man’s Land, and stealthily log on to your facebook while you shower, take out the trash, or cook them dinner (what ingrates!!!). Even if you react quickly once you find out what’s up, it’s never fast enough. Enough of your facebook friends think you’re suffering from an unexpected Herpes flair-up or a surprise pregnancy for you to be embarrassed.

Personally, I have found a way around most attempted facebook attacks. I strategize. When Roommate 2 is hacking Roommate 1’s facebook, I help to brainstorm ideas. When Roommate 1 discovers the hack job, I sympathize and claim no involvement. Plain and simply, I’m on both sides of the fence. I am The Mole of this apartment.

Of course, now that my roommates know my secret, I’m sure I’m next. That being said, if you see anything weirder than usual anytime soon, I blame them.

3. Make sure you trust your roommates. Information and evidence will surface that can be later used as blackmail.

Too many examples of this come to my mind for me to count or restate them all on this blog, but I’ll give you an example. Think hair.

One day, the four of us were sitting together and discussing Miley Cyrus. She’s on the bullet train to Ho-town and it’s bound to crash soon. She created one of the catchiest and most incredible party anthems in the past …six months. But most importantly, she has sweet, sweeeeet hair.

Roommate 1 decided she wanted “Miley Hair”; her problem was that her hair wasn’t long enough. Thankfully, after decades of progress in weave science, a solution existed: hair extensions. We accompanied Roommate 1 to the nearby beauty supply store, where she bought fake hair that would make her dream of resembling Miley complete. Only several hours later did she decide she was too ashamed to ever wear the extensions in public.

Another roommate has a problem when she tries to straighten her hair. The process begins with blow-drying. For those few minutes between curly and straight, her hair gets enormous. She looks like she teleported out of a 1983 beauty pageant. In short: not a good look.

I’m going to go ahead and let a hair extension/lion’s mane picture surface now so it doesn’t have to years down the road.

(Featuring Roommate 4 & Roommate 2 in Roommate 1’s extensions)

Two of my roommates said it best when they reminisced about the hair extension debacle.

Roommate 3: Yeah, where are those things [the extensions]?

Roommate 1: In the closet. Just like the skeletons that they are.

4. Accept spontaneity

Back to hair. More specifically, the ziploc bag full of my hair.

Many of you who have seen me lately know that my hair is shorter now. I know it is too. So when you see me and you say, “Oh my God, your hair is so… short!” I’m sorry if I don’t sound enthused. It is because you are simply restating a fact of which I am aware.

This haircut had a purpose, though. For one, my hair was getting long to an unsightly extent. More significantly, my spontaneous roommates convinced me that spontaneity wasn’t always a bad thing. I decided, on a slight whim, to cut off eight inches of hair to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths (like Locks of Love).

I hated it at first. I was mortified. The hairdresser spun my chair around, I looked at myself in the mirror, and I saw mangled, disheveled, frizzy, short short short ginger-colored locks. I panicked. I looked too much like the lovechild of Carrot Top and Annie the Orphan to be okay with myself.

Then my roommates calmed me down. They assured me that it looked okay, and I would be okay. I just needed to adjust. I washed my hair again, checked the mirror again, and said to myself, “Melissa, chill the eff out. Your hair is longer than shoulder-length. It looks fine. Situation under control.”

Now I like it. It’s not what it was, but it’s a change. And change is often good.

5. Tolerance is key

I leave you with this. Living with your friends isn’t always easy. Patience is indeed a virtue. No words will explain what I mean more than this video of Roommates 1 and 2 (as herself and Pig, respectively), which my lovely cohabitants truly believe is better exposure than the YouTube they used to have of themselves lipsyncing to Hey Juliet.

I’m sorry if this entry was too self-indulgent, but I think plenty of you understand what I mean. At least a little bit.