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A living nightmare


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“Live with us next year if you want”

These are the words that were vomited out my mouth at 3am one morning at a girl, of who I was friends with at the time. Never, had such poorly thought through words left my lips.

Thinking back I now know that my decision of who to live with was irresponsible and careless. However, at the time I actually gave little thought as to how the future living arrangements may actually play out and my lack of for thought was to have drastic consequences for my third and final year at university.

My living arrangements for my final year involved living with seven other people of which three of us were guys and five were girls. I had lived one of the boys and two of the girls the year previously and we had all had a right good laugh.

 On paper this should all have worked out, we all knew each other and we all got on. So how and where did it all go so very wrong?

During my second year I had been quite partial to the hedonistic aspect of student life. The long and the short of it being if there were gold medals being handed out for partying, I would have won my fair share. However, come summer and some less than flattering exam results I knew it was time to clean up my act, embrace relative sobriety and the commit myself to the aim of achieving a first class degree with the same tenacity that I had dedicated to my social life the previous year.

This all sounds well and good, however it quickly became apparent from September onwards that my new revitalised, clear headed and relatively sober self would not be compatible in the house. During the phase that I now call the ‘period of awful realisation’ that I went through over the summer I realised, to put it simply, I was living with complete idiots. The people I was living with had such poor social ability they would surely qualify for some sort of personality disorder. Either that or they could most possibly be considered to be feral.

I take full responsibility for the girl mentioned in the opening paragraph to moving in. It was only because of me that she did. This was a girl I had a pseudo-sexual encounter with earlier in the year. What the encounter lacked for in terms of sexual gratification it more than made up for in terms of raw uninhibited awkwardness and regret (probably by both parties). By inviting this girl I was sticking the finger up (ignore the pun) to the one unshakeable golden and perpetually sacred rule of living arrangements. That it’s a hair brained concept to live with someone with which there had been any ‘like ships that pass in the night’ sexual encounters with.

However, what I do not take responsibility for is the moving in of what I quickly became to refer as “the health hazard under the stairs”. Imagine a can of hyperactive monkeys that has been shook up, urinated on and then unleashed upon the house with scant regard for the subsequent noise, destruction and over powering smell of ammonia. This is the most fitting way to describe this person.

He slept on nothing but a mattress, there was no bed just a damp mattress, in the same room as the boiler. I recall being told about a conversation he conducted about ‘dribbling in bed’ when you can’t be bothered to go to the toilet.

This person, instead of using shower gel or shampoo, used a bar of soap to wash with. This meant that after this person had finished in the shower, there was a perpetually increasing and thickening layer of scum that acted as a film around the downstairs shower which was shared between us.

How, one has to ask the question, does a toilet seat become snapped in half? This is a question which I thought I would never have to ask, nor should I have to. However it is one that as a result of this particular person being in the house was one I continually found myself asking. Again, how?

Dubstep is an interesting genre of music. Now, I have nothing against dubstep as a genre. However what I am opposed to is the playing of such music at 3am during the exam period. I simply could not understand why what I considered reasonable, rational and fair requests for noise levels to be kept down and for careful aim when going to the toilet were continually overlooked, I might as well have been requesting a critique on the inconsistent triad.

Wokring, eating and sleeping just were not possible. I simply did not fit in with a group of people who viewed their main purpose in life was to ‘mix beats’ into the early hours and attend Bigger Than Barry each week without fail. Any possibility of any serious discussion elicited the same result had I attempted to discuss Plato’s The Republic with a cod.

However, I take great solace in the fact I was not alone. Of the eight of us that moved into the house in September, at present there remain only four who are still living there. The first to move out was a girl who I had lived with the year previous, she only lasted until early October. I was the second, moving out immediately after my January exams, the third was the other girl I had lived with in the second year and the forth spends much time at her partner’s house.

 The lessons are clear. Think long and hard about the personalities with which you will have to share personal space. Think about the people you don’t know so well and whether they will be compatible to your own personal needs for working, eating, sleeping and basic levels of hygiene. You have to put yourself first and be in a place where you are happy. Think long and hard, pick your housemates carefully, that is unless you want to find yourself inhabiting a dank urine infused septic abyss in the company of people who quite frankly shouldn’t be trusted with crayons.

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