I lead a different life. I have to interact with the same people at work and then have to socialise with them again in the evening, and share the same room with them too
I wish I could write an ode to my roommate (will be called ‘roomie,’ henceforth), and since the lyrical profundity of expression eludes me, I will take shelter in the banality of prose and weep on my woes.
How my life is any different from any other person putting up with a roomie is debatable. I do lead a different life than 98 per cent of Pakistan’s female population. My work environment is different, the stresses are different, the stakes are different and a little higher than normal. And, last but not the least, the human interaction -- sadly -- is a must.
Not that I am antisocial; I socialise enough to satiate my intrinsic human desire to meet people. But as I mentioned earlier, I lead a different life. I have to interact with the same people at work and then have to socialise with them again in the evening, and share the same room with them too. So it is not an ideal situation that I am in. Let me quote a dialogue from the famous TV serious Sherlock here: John Watson: [Looking around at the morgue’s lab equipment] Bit different from my day. Yeah, that’s how I react when I see civilian life. I am hoping some of you do feel me at this point.
Anyway, coming to the passive-aggressive relationship that I share with my roomie, it needs a bit of background coverage. I am living with a person with the shell of a woman and the innards of a man, and those innards have a way of making a more resounding appearance with every passing day.
Not that I am a cleanliness freak, but habitable environment means an organised room to me. Please feel free to differ, however, my roomie believes it is next to being hip to strew your clothes on the floor after you return from a tiring day out, and to leave your shoes in exactly the right places from where the other person can tumble and topple over. Not to mention, smell them. Kudos! If tactics was a subject taught to us, she’d be a master.
We are quite lucky as compared to those other 98 per cent women that have lived some part of their lives with a roommate. We do not have to do dishes or take the garbage out. Those things are taken care of. We, however, are only responsible for making as much pandemonium in our rooms after working hours that may put the guys to shame. Which did not happen; I remember once looking at a random picture of my male counterpart’s room, and was astonished to see a dimly lit, wonderfully neat space that actually made me rethink my gender role.
Coming back to my roomie, I am sure while she was learning all the other essential rules about how to spend life, she bunked a few classes where hygiene was being taught. And, I know I do not need to elaborate.
Another passive-aggressive stroke that she played just today was to change the wi-fi password. Well, hello! Who does that? And, even if you do, who keeps the information from their roommates, especially when you split the bill? Anyway, that did teach me a lesson -- never trust your roomie to be a benign presence. I am connected with the normal half of my life through wi-fi, for heaven’s sake.
The other wonderful detail of our life together -- and it sounds like we are an old couple who should or must seek couple’s therapy some time soon if we don’t want our lives to be rendered apart -- is that pretence takes the better part of our interaction. Not hypocrisy; that would be too much to expect from a simpleton like her. But she has all the streaks of a wannabe hipster.
One day I found out that I had come into some bucks from somewhere, and by the way of congratulating me, she said, "So now you are a hair-ess!" Whoa!! For a second I was confounded as to what had my hair got to do with money? Only to realise that what she meant was an ‘heiress’ (she was indulging in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at that time) and not commenting on my hair.
To cap my miseries, I can only sob about my predicament in utter silence. She’s had more years of living in that room, and that gives her a kind of unsaid authority to say what she wants to and do what she cares to, while I remain a silent seething spectator. My end of the world is torn between living with a humanoid of a roommate, and among a people whose language I adore but do not understand. And, by language, I genuinely do not mean that regional language. I adore Pashto, and no, I cannot speak it though I do understand it well. This is a different class of language that sounds like English, is written in the same script, but even then, it eludes me. And, I have spent my entire life believing I would have got the hang of English by now. More about that till next time!