The Lament of the House Mate
ALICE RATHBONE bemoans the new ‘family’ that has been forced upon her.
If you asked me at school who I hated I would have replied quick as a cricket that I didn’t in fact hate anyone.
I might even have stretched as far as to say that I might even love everyone. This was usually delivered with a bashful smile on my face as I imagined everyone’s hearts melting at my good natured, optimistic outlook on life. When leaving the company of whoever had asked the question, I pictured them having a moment of contemplation as they pondered why they too couldn’t open their arms and hearts to the world. Thinking back on it now they were probably adding me to their list, along with the other scum of the world.
In all honesty, I really don’t think I did hate anyone. Obviously I hated Hitler, boyfriends who cheated, and anyone who made me feel the remotest bit insecure; but all the common most-hated at school didn’t phase me that much. At the time I thought it was because I was a super-social girl-of-all-people. On reflection I realise I probably didn’t know them well enough. If anyone was bugging me I had a multitude of excuses at my fingertips to exit the uncomfortable situation. That was what was so brilliant at school; you had home to go to at the end of the day.
True hate stems from those you know very, very well. Luckily for the economy this keeps the lawyers and therapists on the payroll, the Daily Mail happy, and Hollywood blossoming with relentless divorce-battle movies (Kramer vs Kramer is a cracker if you havn’t already seen it).
Everyone’s had a conversation with someone who found “my best friends in the very first hour on the very first day in the very next room to mine ☺ ☺ ☺ !!!”. I have always judged those lucky (and I believe ignorant) few from afar, assuming that they must have bonded over their respective laziness. Evidently, I reject those kind of statements, and instead pride myself in not basking in my own uni success story. Whilst I was one of the lucky ones who got on very well with my family, saving me from experiencing a true hatred of mankind, my luck died out before I got to uni. I have found out, through the unpleasant process of being forced to live with strange strangers, that I have a very low tolerance of people.
Maybe the hatred is not directed at the individual people as such, but rather the small talk that stems from living with someone you have absolutely nothing in common with. ‘Yes, thanks for asking I do always use milk in my tea, classic me!’ should be my answer, but after a term of 8am inquisitions I can now only muster a grunt. To be fair, if you ask me whether I like the jam I’m putting on my toast, or whether I made those baked beans, that’s really all I can muster. Make the small talk smaller. Just stop talking. Although I do dream about picking up my milky tea and dispensing it over someone’s head, I have managed to resist so far, by honing the art of imagining that I am far far away.
I wrongly believed my irritability could not manifest itself in more than a stony silence until one evening when I arrived home to discover a raging house party kicking off. ‘What fun!’ I thought as I ran into the room to the beat of the Black Eyed Peas. The guests were going wild; the doritos had long been abandoned for sexy chair dancing. As I was in a more subdued mood, I tucked in to some of the birthday cake that was looking dejected and mangled on the table. As I watched my neighbour twerk to the rhythms of the underground I realised that perhaps we had more in common that I thought. Half way through the song my presence was noticed and she stopped dancing and came over to me. Yes, she did stare at me a little too long and stand a little too close, but I put that down to her squint and rather diabolical sense of personal space. This was the breaking point I realised, oh how we would laugh at our awkward beginning! She suddenly grabbed the cake out of my hands, and stalked across to the other side of the room.
Naturally I began to feel slightly embarrassed as my party prop was now hidden on top of the cupboard. I left the room for a brief second, and I kid you not, the birthday girl ran to the door and I heard it lock. As hearing can often be deceptive, especially with loud music on, I double checked it and decided that unless some very unfortunate accident on her part occurred, I had in fact been locked out of my own house party. I will never forget that night as I sat upstairs in my room alone, listening to the beat of the Macarena and hearing cries of ‘this is the best house party ever!’
The sad truth is that, just like you cannot choose your family, you also cannot choose who you’re grouped with alphabetically in a room ballot. However, whilst families often feel a social obligation to invite you to social events, your chums do not.
I got my payback when I defied the popular idiom by buying my own cake and eating it too. Yer, take that bitches…