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April 27, 2011 / rocksandgravel

There’s Always One…

Shared houses. I’m sure for some, mainly those who went to uni, it conjures up images of fishing hair out of plug holes, using forks to stir tea because no one dares touch the week old dish water that the teaspoons are still soaking in, and balancing crisp wrappers on top of over loaded bins. Remember the days? Well despite my academic credentials (ahem) I’m not quite earning quite enough for my own penthouse apartment and I still have to share a house, and I don’t mind so much.

When I was house hunting last year for a London pad, I looked the length and breadth of this vast city that attracts so many younguns looking for big city dreams. I saw how very well written room vacancy ads can be – an estate agent would’ve been proud to author some of them, which included such descriptions as “cosy” and “basic” to “just a quick walk to the end of the tube line, with great bus routes”- which translated respectively as “so small you might bang your head sitting up in the morning”, “no lock on the front door” and “really it takes half an hour to run to the nearest tube station, and you need to change buses 3 times to get central”. After nearly giving up and resolving that I will have to live in my parents box room for the rest of my life, I finally found a lovely house in Holloway, with some easy going (but clean) people, a back yard and a sturdy front door. Hurrah!

The day I moved in, we had a “baaarbie” and got on smashingly well. In time, the only negative observation was that Kiwi who obviously wants to live on her own (and sometimes acts as if she does) belts out Kiss FM (surely the station played at the gates of hell) for an hour on full whack each morning to get herself out of bed, followed by an exit to envy any stroppy 13 year old- the ultimate house- shaking door slam. There’s more. Apparently, 31 year old kiwi doesn’t like it when she gets home and people are cooking in the kitchen, or when people are sat in the living room. Don’t even think about having a shower between half 7 and 8 in the morning. Should any of these acts occur, expect to hear any functioning door slam, BIG sighs and a chilling silence to any attempt to say “Hi” to her. Fast forward to January, and Kiwi has been dating “Saffa” who, when is here, transforms her into another person- a lady in fact, until he leaves and doesn’t call her for a few days- and then the bitch is back. (Thanks to Elton for that one). The sighs intensify and door slams get heavier. There’s a pattern forming, and I wonder how I can take him aside and ask him to marry her and put us all out of our misery… but I can’t think of a tactful way of putting it.

So he hasn’t called her in a while now, and in that time she has not uttered a single word, not even a disapproving grunt or a group text to tell “whoever keeps… (insert minor household crime), STOP IT. Thanks”. I’m beginning to take it personally. Am I the problem? Is my presence 2 floors up from her sat with my headphones on to keep the noise down upsetting her? Apparently- its not. I am reliably informed that in the 4 years she has lived here, 4 sets of house mates have moved on, not to get married or move abroad- but to move to another house share, where they can cook and eat at dinner time and watch TV in the lounge. It all begs the question- if you don’t like people, why live in a 6 bedroom shared house?

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