I originally wrote this piece when I moved back to Philadelphia after leaving Alaska and was reflecting on my first house there in North Philly near Temple University. Things were tough for me there, I brought two bags, had no job, and had little savings.
More often than not going home is usually a place where you can find peace of mind and calmness, but that wasn't really the case for the quaint row-house that I shared with four other men.
Issue One - Hostile Home Environment
Roommates can be rough, especially when you don't pick them. I moved to Philly because a friend had a cheap room in his house for rent, a house he shared with three other guys. Living with guys can be rough because honestly most guys are terrible at keeping house.
These guys definitely fit that stereotype.
If they end up reading this it will come to no surprise. They've understood that they're messy and that I did my best to help. So if you're reading this then three of you are OK. And you know which three you are, because I had met you before moving in.
Only one of my roommates was the real issue.
This last roommate, who we'll name "Steve" for the sake of the post, was a mess. He was a garbage cook, made food that smelled like garbage and neglected to take out the garbage. His favorite dish to cook was peppers and gluten-free noodles in way too much olive oil and dehydrated mushrooms. By now you probably think I'm over-exageratting, but if you put your dish in Tupperware and the oil is an inch over the noodles/peppers, that's too much oil.
Add to this the fact that our kitchen was also our living room where the rest of us would hang out and it meant we had to deal with his terrible cooking on the daily.
If you thought that was the only reason he was a bad roommate, you are sorely mistaken.
We had three bathrooms, two downstairs and one on the main floor. I was supposed to share the main-floor one with Steve, but after trying that for a couple days I couldn't take it anymore. Steve would regularly take hour-plus long showers multiple times a day and leave soap scum EVERYWHERE. That bathroom was disgusting.
My last major gripe with Steve was his daily attire. This ranged from a too-tight t-shirt and 3-5" inseam shorts to no shirt and childrens sweatpants, all on the frame of a 6'2" man. I assure you I'm not over-exaggerating. I've lived with roommates before that hang out shirtless all too often, and it's definitely not something I'm a fan of. Live and let live, but when you're living with others please be considerate.
Issue Two - Dirt Inside and Out
So I lived near Temple University in Philadelphia, which isn't the best neighborhood. I knew that moving in, but I guess I just didn't understand what a place where people actually lived was like. In Detroit you see lower-income neighborhoods, but for the most part they're seldom inhabited. Sure theres some trash, but it's not unbearable. In Philly there's an abundance of trash.
Like a lot.
I understand litter, it's unfortunate but it happens, but this was just ridiculous. The people that shared the building with us just didn't understand when trash day was, so they would put bags out whenever they had them. This would ensure a constant stream of garbage in front of the house.
It was everywhere too. You couldn't escape the constant litter unless you were in Center City, and even then it was still present, just tucked away
That filth also found it's way inside by way of lazy/messy roommates. I'm kind of compulsively clean. I like a neat room, house, sink, what have you, so when I entered the chaos of that place it was a shock. Dishes were done when they were needed, the sink was constantly full, the counters were full, the tables were full, the trash was forgotten on occasion. I hated that, and when I tried to fix it or slow it's growth, things just changed back soon after.
My only solution to these issues was to move out, and shortly after returning from Alaska I did so with my friend to another part of the city, which I'll cover in part two. If you can't wait for the next installment then go watch any episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, that should tide you over.