Sharing Space: Can We Learn To Live With Others? Essay, Research Paper
A small, dark room, with lots of books, a radio in the corner and a big mess. In the middle of the room is a small bed. There is no TV, no computer, no play station, no modern technology, just only one small radio and a night lamp, which is on the desk. And of course, beer and liquor bottles arranged by the wall. But most importantly in this ugly dark small room is the small bed that is only mine and no other beds, which means that this room is only mine. This was three years ago.
Right now I live in something that is rather too spacious, bright and has a lot of modern technology: TV with cable, a computer with very fast (LAN) Internet access, a CD player and two beds. This means that this is not entirely my own property?I have to share it with someone else. And even though my life is satisfied materialistically and is perhaps somehow easier, it is more stressful than ever before because I have got a roommate. Having advanced technology doesn?t necessarily mean that I live a better life or I am happier. The moment I have to share it with somebody, so many problems arise that my life becomes extremely problematic.
First of all, my roommate and I like different kinds of music. He has a different time of going to bed and waking up than I do. He leaves the lights on at night and I can?t fall asleep. It seems that his favorite past time is to make a mess and then leave it for someone else to clean up. I am not sure whom he expects to clean up after him, I guess it is me. He also loves to listen to music or watch TV when it is blatantly obvious I am trying to study. It seems that he can?t afford the simple things in life like toothpaste, shampoo or pencils. He uses mine; maybe he just likes my stuff better. I have decided to stop buying food and pop for our room, since I never get any of it anyway. His friends just love to call late at night, or should I say early morning? This interferes with my sleeping patterns since he won?t get out of bed to answer the phone. I just love when I walk into the room and he has about 10 people crammed into our tiny room. He never asks if I mind if his friends make our place a second home. He loves to borrow change from me, but yet when I need change he always seems to be out. I think his home away from our room is the bathroom, I am not sure what he is doing in there for 45 minute intervals, maybe I don?t want to really know.
Living with someone has turned out to be probably the worst thing that has ever happened to me. It is very rare to find the perfect roommate, because most of time even best friends like completely different things. We all grow up in different places, families, countries, and cultures. We have different characters, different habits, behaviors and imaginations about life. So everyone is different, because of all these differences sharing a place is impossible for me. There aren?t enough similarities to make living together possible. Two people as different as chalk and cheese cannot be put together.
However, in my opinion it is impossible to live by yourself and have privacy all your life. It was impossible as a child, when I had to share space with my brothers and sisters. It is impossible now, because I live in the dorms and share a room with another student. Most probably, in the future, it is going to be impossible to have my privacy, because I want to have a wife and children. And so it seems life is all about sharing space.
To summarize, all of the differences between me and my brother and sisters, me and my current roommate, and myself and my future wife and twelve children are too big for me to share a space with them. However, I had to share in the past, I have to share a space now, and I?ll have to share a space in the future. There are two extreme opposites, which have to share one place. Therefore I have to come up with a solution to make life easier for both of us. There is only one way to do this?compromise, thus make some rules which both of us agree to follow. According to Sarah Endo, author of Roommate Rules, ?sharing a space with a stranger can work if you follow a few guidelines.? The rules must by strict yet easy to understand and follow.
Imagine two people who don?t even know each other, for example, my roommate Mark and myself. We meet at the dorm. We have no feelings towards each other. We started sharing the room, computer, TV, CD player. And the problems listed above start to intensify and we start keeping our distance from each other. But since we have to spend at least one year together sharing this room, we decide to set up some rules to make our lives easier. The rules we came up with are as follows:
1. Don?t share personal items, example perfume, toothpaste, school stuff, and scantrons.
2. Don?t bring any friends after midnight.
3. Don?t turn off the alarm clock until both of us are awake.
4. Ask before you borrow anything.
5. Make a time schedule for using the computer.
Sharing a space is still the worst thing that has happened to me. I really want to have my own things, my own place, but since it is inevitable I had to compromise. I had to figure out some way to have my own stuff and still share the room. Hence we created some short, strict and easy to understand rules. I asked my roommate what he thinks about this whole situation and he said, ?Since we have implemented these rules, I think Wojciech and I are closer than ever. We respect each other more, and have learned to live together without killing each other.? And these rules have helped in real life to make me a more tolerable person, so when I have my wife and twelve children I will be more acceptable of our differences.
Mark. Personal interview (10 December 2000) Minot State University.
Endo, Sarah. Roommate rules. Careers & Colleges, March 2000 p44.