“My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing.”
― Marcel Proust
Still learning after all these years. With the Princess away at college and the almost empty nest, I thought I’d learn new things. I took an online course from the University of Edinburgh and got an A; Warhol is one master of marketing, and I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. I planned to take the nanotechnology course and the make a solar panel with a graham cracker size pieces of cardboard and some nail polish, but those are going to have to wait. Seems my extraordinary, impatient skills at roommate interpretation and mediation are in need of some use.
For those who don’t recall, I was actually a roommate for years before I even went to college since I was a student at a great Fine Arts school while in High School. Granted, I went home on the weekends, from the big city in Alabama, where they loved the governor, and rejoined with the amazing masses of other high school students looking for activities in our small town of Muscle Shoals. It was the equivalent of living a double life, boarding school during the week and home to my own bed on weekends. You’d find my blue Datsun 280 , borrowed from my Mom, right there at the main attraction provide, so graciously, for teens by corporate America… McDonalds. Thank goodness this was before the arrival of Walmart.
From my Fine Arts days, I learned many things from roommates, like for instance , fortunately, what a short-term mild case of Bell’s Palsy looks like and how it can affect your roommates demeanor when she is unable to close her eye at night. I learned how some kids use the piano benches for more than practicing their scales. I learned how being on a college campus as a high-schooler gets the only the cutest of girls invited to Frat parties (thank Goodness that was not my experience), and I learned if your roommate is a dance major and is vain, she is going to choose to protect her feet at all costs and forgo the “jatays” or whatevers so she can become a “foot” model. True story. She is now a very famous foot model. If she’d stayed in dance, she would have had feet like a cross between bigfoot and a zesty looking brain coral, a very disturbing combo to say the least. However, in all honesty, I think that foot observation qualities me to give some roommate advice.
Nay not yet, you say. Well, okaydokie, I’ll try again; I’ll add a freshman roommate story to bolster my case. Not everyone walks in after a few at Pizza-by-Candlelight , affectionately known as P-by-C and, promptly sees three nuns sitting on their bed at a Presbyterian affiliated college named for a saint. They were trying to talk my roommate, who was literally praying in the closet, to physically come out, as in turn the knob and walk out of the tiny enclosure. This was before the discussion of gender acceptance, it had nothing to do who her sexual identity, it had to do with her wanting to be a nun instead of a college freshman. She left after her first “D” on a paper. It was all complicated. I later figured she and I were placed together based on our college essays. She actually thought and wrote about death and the afterlife, mine was the one I composed because I thought it the most humorous from the prompts offered that year by Ivy League schools, “What would you want your obituary to say about you.” No L=I=E. Anyhoo, I was too lazy to retype the thing because there were no computers to edit the texts. Fortunately, my Mom came to the rescue again. She was a real secretary and had access to office machines at the time which consisted of huge copiers and memo graph machines. Otherwise, I would have sent in a hand scrawled version. Hummm, come to think of it, I think I did send a hand written version with my best cursive to my top choices. I recall having to rewrite it repeatedly until I had transcribed it with no mistakes, thus another reason to only have one “writing” sample. I felt if my future “obit” was good enough for Harvard, it was good enough for all the other schools. Funny, but it worked. I never stressed the small stuff even before Richard Carlson made his millions with such erudite advice.
Which brings me to my new role as roommate counselor… We have trained these brilliant, young minds to do just about anything from derivatives to definitive analysis of Proust, but somehow we parents failed at sharing, washing dishes and taking out the recycling. Seems it is not a “beer guzzling , walk of shame” basic roommate disagreement today at the upper levels of the institutions of higher learning that are vexing our little prophets of the future, it is the stuff they should have learned in preschool that seems to be getting in the way of maturity.
In our efforts to make our girls strong, we forgot to say kindness counts. Forgiveness matters. It doesn’t have to be big banner events that raises tons of charity bucks for all to hype, it matters in the way of simple things. As, I overheard one of my little kindergarten friends brag the other day to her older sister,”Guess what? I was called to “the” principal’s office. Seems I earned the “Got Caught Doing Something Kind Star” for helping Ansley Ann clean up her spilled milk.” Well, there you go! Helping someone out does get noticed and appreciated.
Her sister, a few years older, got my “How Amazing You Are to Your Sister” award when she replied, “I am so happy for you. I am jealous because I never got one of those stars but you deserved it. I don’t like spilled milk messes and I’m proud you cleaned it up.”
Can we all gather by the magnetic dry erase board on the frig in the suite of dreams in University Land and decide not to put passive aggressive messages on the board anonymously? No one appreciates your weak a$$ attempt to chide someone to take the out recycling by dry erase scolding. Talk to the person face to face so resentments don’t grow. So what if someone is kind enough to wash your dirty dishes. Shouldn’t you thank them instead of saying snidely when you pass their door, “Whoever washed the dishes, left the wet sponge in the sink?” We all know that comment falls in the Be-witching category. Really, that is what you want to be known for , griping because someone did something nice for you and you be-witched about it? Let the small stuff slide. Get together and talk…OMG, put the electronic crap in the closet and sit face to face in the common living room with all those decorator pillows and chat happily. It won’t hurt y’all. Decide that we Southern Woman are right when we say, “Y’all, I don’t have time for this stuff, neither do you. It is easier to get along than it is to tit for tat.”
Enough to this blog…However, to the one roommate who uses an excessive amount of toilet paper, what is up with that? I bought a Sam’s size 48 rolls just to get you from bewitching at my daughter because you already used up the rolls you bought. I say let the market set the price. I told the Princess to charge the aforementioned roommate 4$ a roll and maybe that would curb the usage. Better yet, do what Eva, the maid at my college of years ago, would do. Flatten the roll so only three sheets roll off at a time. That might be the sweetest way to handle it. Who needs a dry erase to be passive aggressive? Obviously, this younger set of ladies has a thing or two to learn from their more experienced elders.