It’s important to be honest about the challenges of shared living since it is often one of the first things that people mention when discussing strategies for significant debt repayment.
For the most part, my housemates are pretty great. And as I mentioned in another post, I have become extremely close to one of them and I will be sad when she moves out next month. For clarity’s sake, I will refer to her as Mahira moving forward. Mahira is in her early thirties, a psychologist, and a pretty chill housemate. She’s tidy, respectful of space, and very considerate of others. My other housemate, let’s call him Patrick, is a bit different. He is older (late fifties/early sixties), very rigid, and not as considerate. While we don’t have a great deal in common, my interactions with Patrick are generally pretty pleasant and brief.
However, one thing that annoys me to no end is how
messy dirty Patrick is. He has every appliance known to man in our small shared kitchen and there is a thin layer of grease and crumbs all over each appliance and the area around them. You would think given his proclivity to be less tidy dirty that he would be a rather chill housemate. He’s not. Unlike Mahira and I who both work remotely and away from the home, Patrick is an Uber driver (who isn’t currently driving) and spends all of his time at the house. That isn’t a problem. You have every right to spend as much time as you want in a place where you pay rent. However, what is a problem is how “sensitive” he is to food smells. He is constantly complaining when Mahira or I cook anything that might be “aromatic.” We have an exhaust in our kitchen that goes straight out the window and whenever I cook, I make an effort to use it. However, today, Patrick stops me on my way downstairs and out the door to question if I am actually using the exhaust and to complain that food smells are still getting into his room. At first, I said, “Yes, sorry.” Then I said, “Actually, I’m not sorry for cooking in a place where I pay rent.” He continued to talk about how upset he was about the smells getting into his room and complained that he might need to buy a window fan for his room. My response was, “Whatever works for you.”
He seemed upset by this. As I finally made my way out the door, I thought, “Should I apologize?” A half-hour later and I’ve decided it’s not gonna happen. First, if Patrick is so incredibly sensitive to food smells, shared living might not be for him (NOTE: he also cooks “aromatic” things and the scents still make their way to my room…I just don’t complain about it because I accept that it is a part of shared living). Second, I think I would feel more obligated to go out of my way to ensure food smells don’t make it up to his room IF he were a similarly considerate person. However, despite multiple requests that he clean the kitchen counter/stove after using it, or remove food debris from the sink after making food, or not put his moldy-year-old kitchen sponge (seriously, it’s the same sponge since I moved in and he puts it sopping wet on the sink divider…there is a thin film on it and it looks shiny…ick) in the sink, then I might feel obligated to “do more.” Also, despite having a rigid schedule of when he feels he should have exclusive access to the kitchen, he constantly enters the kitchen at times that have been allocated to others just to “do my dishes real quick.” I realize I am entirely chaffed by his whining given he is not a considerate person.
Rant over. Again, I realize that there are far worse housemate situations out there and that I could be dealing with theft or violence but it’s still annoying/uncomfortable and it’s still not something you have to deal with if you live alone.
All of this led to me fantasizing about living on my own and doing a cursory search on University B’s off-campus housing website and Zillow. The prices were significantly more than I currently pay, or am willing to pay, and for a moment I was genuinely depressed. Then I decided that I just needed a number/goal. I needed a number/goal at which I could justify/be comfortable living on my own. I’ve decided that my number/goal is less than $50,000.00 in student loan debt remaining…and I want to get there this year.