I’m interviewing potential roommates all week, and a dilemma this has raised is: how much do I want to portray a better version of myself that someone might actually want to live with, vs. portraying myself accurately so I find someone who actually wants to live with me?
Specifically, this dilemma has come up around cleaning my house, because I am a mess, but attempting to reform, and I know from experience that if I live with another messy person, it’s all over. I need to live with someone who has a culture of putting things away so that I learn how to do it, too. But if I live with someone who’s deeply bothered by mess and clutter… well, we’ll kill each other within the month.
So it’s a delicate balance. With house cleaning, I found — I think — a middle ground involving presenting myself as I realistically aspire to be: the place is neat, but you can kind of tell that the person who lives here doesn’t totally have her shit together.
But anyway, especially now that the place is cleaned up, it strikes me how much the books are the dominating feature of the space. Piles and piles and piles of books. Books about politics and history (the vast majority), books about writing and statistics, and oh so many children’s books.*
I actually mentioned in my Craigslist ad that I bring to the roommate relationship an outstanding collection of classic teen television on DVD. Now maybe I’ll find a roommate who walks in and gets excited by my Sarah Dessen collection. Or the Ramonas. I would definitely trust a roommate who still felt strongly about Ramona.
* The last all live together; I have a case that’s just for my books — my books on things my boyfriend doesn’t care about, that is — which has all the kids’ books, the stats and math books, and the books on teen TV, all living together happily. (The political books, we read each other’s.)
This is possible only because the overwhelming preponderance of my children’s books still reside in New York. Some of these are at my parents’ house, and I cycle some of these back and some of those here when I visit; I should just have them all shipped to me. More of my old favorites, my mom tells me, are “in storage,” and all I can say is that I sincerely hope that’s not a euphemism in the vein of, “Furrball is so happy out on the dairy farm in Westchester!”