Oh, the Roommates You'll Have

(and, The Stuff They'll Leave Behind.)

Steve Gehrke and I moved into my current residence two years ago this past March. Soon after his friend Nate joined us, filling the third bedroom.

Nate moved to Hawaii after that summer following a job lead. We let Matt (clearly, a mistake) move in because he needed a place to stay and we needed rent money. At the same time, Chuck, who just left Portland, moved into the garage because he had no other option and his $100 was a plus. This lasted the winter. (Though Matt lasted the Spring (painful), Chuck got at job at Freddy's and got a place of his own.)

Steven Garcia lived at the house on more than one occacion. He stayed while Gehrke followed an (un)Alaska dream. And then again he stayed when we were between roommates and before Garcia went to Hawaii--a common practice, so it would seem, among Portlanders I know. (It rains there too, you know.) The Steven G's remain friends and now both live on the East Coast, but more on that later.

After I asked Matt to leave the house (he also left a Scarface dresser full of shoddy clothes), my friend Sean lived at the house for a brief period of time. After accquiring money for a graduate program in Austria, he packed a bag and flew out, leaving behind: three bookcases, a futon mattress, a desk, a chair, a TV, DVD player, and some cooking utensils.

Sean left a vacancy that could only be filled with a craigslist advertisement. This ad brought on a slew of response including: a Reed grad, a 40-year old lesbian, a friend of Matt's, and a girl from New Mexico. However, the first person to come through the door was Gehrke and my's first choice for a new roommate. His name was Adam, and I miss him.

We all became friends, Gehrke, Adam and I. We enjoyed each other's company going to the coffee shop, bike shops and bars on occasion. But Adam, who graduated from Lewis and Clark, set out to buy his own house--renting is for chumps. He left us and not a whole lot else for a $400,000 starter home in Northeast Portland; we haven't heard from him since.

But that was OK; we had Barry. Barry was a friend of ours who came to Portland with Nate. Nate returned from Hawaii with two friends, Barry and Twan (see: http://carsonksmith.blogspot.com/2006/05/twans-gone.html). The three invested in a rental that sits a few blocks from the one I live in. Barry and Nate, friends for life, could no longer live together and Barry moved into our house and left Nate, well, high and not-so-much dry. But Nate percervered: He found Andrew, who's a character but not one in this story.

The blow came to our hosehold when Gehrke said that he was following his dream to live in Baltimore (hometown of Ira Glass!) to be with the new love of his life. He left for good this month, and (though he'll visit once a month to fullfill medical research testing at OHSU) won't come back to live at the house, leaving Barry and I (Me once again) to search the website craigslist for someone seeking a home, but really to place an ad offering a room for rent. Steve leaves a room (mine, really) in the house open. (I pounced on his, his more comfortable bed, a desk (I can't have enough desks), and shelving unit he couldn't fit in his Oldsmobile.)

To look at the open room, three people came on Saturday during the time I spcified on the ad: 11-3. Allen, he's too moley, Aaron was accompanied by his (possible) parole officer or his mother, and Starlight (I shit you not) was too cute; she worked at Subway and was maybe 20. (Update: Starlight just left a message on my voicemail, she thought we all got along.)

Sunday three (acutally four) more roommate candidates came to see the empty room. First Tal, who just got off work showed up in his workvan. We had much in common--he got jokes, and recently moved from New Mexico--we like Tal. Two girls followed him (he was leaving as they arrived), announcing themselves as both people that wanted to see the room. Tami and Amy, (There's one lesson I'd like to give at this time for people looking for housing and visiting what you hope to be your future roommates in their house, and that's: save some of the information for when you are offered a place to live. We don't need to know you have a clan of Hawaiian friends. We don't need to know you just broke up with you boyfirend, or can't live with your boyfriend even though you "love him to death," but still want to "utilize your king-size bed." We don't need to know you smoke all kinds of pot, or wake up at four in the morning to work at Starbucks, that you are a neat freak, or that you came over together because of we "selected one of you we'd probably get both." These are not good things to reveal. Also, don't cry in front of us because you are so stressed about finding a place to live. That will not get you selected.), neither of which would work.

Marcia was nice and called after Barry and I had given up interviews. We had popped a bottle of wine when she called and weren't really interested in interviewing another. We had our mind made up by this point. But we gave everyone who called a shot (that is except Kody who could be reached "best by email," and who's last name was that spark plug brand that sounds like douche--Kody' didn't get emailed). Marcia was nice. Barry said he could picture her hanging plants up and teaching children violin (though I don't know where, the garage maybe). But she left with parting words that sounded very much like the parting words I had given Allen, Aaron, Starlight, Tami and Amy: We're interviewing a few more people, but we'll let you know. Marcia, said in fact, "I'm looking at a few more places but will let you know if things fall through." We'd be, you see, her last option.

So, this morning I extended the olive branch to an Israli. He seems harmless enough. But that seems like a thing you don't want to say in a roommate interview. That seems like something I probably shouldn't say, yet.


Rob Devillez said...

Heaaaay Carson,
I can't believe you forgot me and Cricket! Steve, Adam and you were so divine to let us overstay our welcome by three weeks earlier this year, and to think, it was all done out of the goodness of your blessed hearts. You never once required me to pay rent or utilities, and I never felt pressed to offer. I hope that steak dinner the four of us shared expressed my gratitude.

The Hoof

Carson said...

Sorry, Rob, you're right. You were practically a roommate, maybe even surpassing Sean in time spent at the house.

See: http://carsonksmith.blogspot.com/2007/01/does-anybody-still-read-this.html