From a medical dictionary definition:

Pronunciation: ə-dĭk’shən
Function: noun
: compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal

Hi, my name is Topher, and my roomie is an addict.

Cigarettes, vodka, TV, and internet are his vices. On any given day when he is not working, the routine is coffee in the morning and vodka the rest of the day, 30-40 cigarettes, internet most of the day, and the television is never turned off. On days he does work, it’s pretty much the same except for the chunk of time in the middle when he is actually at work.

I find myself both saddened and disgusted at the same time. I pity him for his vices, but he does nothing to overcome them. He is completely content smoking nearly two packs of cigarettes each day. He is perfectly ok with drinking a 1/2 gallon bottle of vodka every 3 days. I’m not. Even though it may seem like I don’t like him much (if you’ve read previous posts), he is a dear friend and I care about his well-being. That said, here we go…


Addiction = when you can’t go to a Greek Festival for two hours and not smoke a cigarette. (no, I’m not talking about me) 9/17/2009. We went to the Greek Festival downtown in September. We looked around for a bit. A short time later, we went into the church and bought some Greek food. It was very good, those Greeks sure do know how to eat. Then, we went back outside to look through some of the wares they were selling, but my roomie had to go have a cigarette. We’d been there for about 75 minutes tops at this point.

Dear roomie #5: No, it is NOT ok to smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day, then keep me up all night coughing (and NO, it’s not your allergies) 11:27 PM Dec 3rd. This is a nightly occurrence. I don’t know if it’s COPD, I’m not a doctor… but, it sure sounds like it. It’s almost scary sometimes, the way he sounds when he is having a coughing fit. Most of the time, he doesn’t even wake up! I don’t know how he does it, I’m in another room and it wakes me then keeps me up.

Dear Roomie #7: No, it isn’t ok for you to take a nap when I try to, coughing up a lung and keeping me awake (after keeping me up all night) 4:26 PM Dec 5th. Yes, sadly, it isn’t just a nighttime thing. He keeps me up during the day as well. It’s a good thing I have insomnia, otherwise I’d have gone crazy from exhaustion a long time ago.

Dear roomie: The response to waking yourself up coughing (and me..grrr) is NOT to go have a cigarette. Really, it isn’t. 2:16 AM Jan 14th. And here is a perfect example of his addiction. This was one of maybe 3 times he has actually coughed so hard, so long, and so loudly that he actually woke himself up. He got up and immediately went outside to have a cigarette. Are you kidding me? It’s one thing to smoke, but when it is killing you (now, rather than later) I’d think you’d want/try to quit.


Orange juice and vodka bottles…That’s what’s in the recycling bin. (and I don’t drink vodka) 9/17/2009. FYI:vodka bottles are recyclable. Don’t put thm in trsh.If u r embarassed abt the quantity of bottles,drink less(again, i don’t drink vodka) 9/20/2009. Yes, he drinks…a LOT. I can’t even comprehend the amount of alcohol he drinks. If I drank half as much, my liver would have packed up and moved out.

The recycling was picked up this morning…this was what I just took out of the trash & off the kitchen counter. 9:35 AM Jan 2nd. See previous tweet… I just wanted to add some reality for you folks who read my “Dear Roomie” posts. File this one w/recycling & alcohol 9:36 AM Jan 2nd. RE: previous tweet… FYI: NONE of these 5 items were mine. 9:37 AM Jan 2nd. Obviously, this wasn’t one day’s worth of liquor and juice (it was three, four tops). Which brings me to another point, I live in a house where OJ is not a breakfast drink; it is a mixer. I’ve never known anyone who drinks this much… If it weren’t so horribly worrisome, I would be amazed at his functionality. In truth, I kind of am.

As for the television or the internet, sorry I’ve no tweets concerning that. You’ll just have to trust me on this one: his computer is never shut down and the tv is never off.

The roomie has an addictive personality (obviously) and has many vices — who doesn’t? However, the saddest thing is that nicotine and alcohol are two things you can quit when they are affecting your health and quality of life. Is it hard? Of course. Is it worth it? Likely.

I don’t understand — nor do I want to — someone who chooses addiction over life.


#2: Kitchen

Just as the bathroom is his duty, the kitchen is mine. However… When, I’ve brushed my teeth, I rinse out the sink. When I’ve used the facilities, I flush and clean up any messes I’ve made (this is in theory, as I don’t make messes whilst using them). When I’ve showered, I rinse out the tub and hit the button on the shower-cleaner-dispenser-machine-thingy. In short, I help to make his job easier. Even though the kitchen is my domain, simple requests such as “please rinse off your dishes when you put them in the sink,” and “when you spill something, wipe it up right away so it doesn’t stain,” are not, in my opinion, over-the-top. Another point of interest when it comes to my roomie and dishes: he uses a new item each time. Two drinks = 2 glasses; One salad = 2 cutting knives, 1 cutting board, 1 plate, 1 bowl, 1 spoon, and 2 forks. You get the idea… it doesn’t take long before there are a LOT of dishes (pretty much daily, sadly).

Ok, so..after I start doing dishes this morning (b/c every pot,pan,dish,utensil,and piece of silverware is dirty–wish i’d have taken a pic) 11:24 AM Nov 28th from web

I got through three drainers full, roommate goes in 2 finish. It’s impt 2 know that I dirtied maybe 2 bowls, a fork, and a spoon. IRRITATING 11:26 AM Nov 28th from web

Here’s this situation (and why it irritated me): I had finally come to my limit. He was dirtying enough dishes each day for a family of four and I rarely dirty any at all. He was never rinsing anything off, which makes it very time-consuming to wash. So, I decided to stop doing the dishes for a week to make him see what it was like . I made it three days before I couldn’t stand looking at it anymore. I began doing the dishes at 10 in the morning. After I’d done more than half of the dishes and took a little break whilst the dishes in the drainer were drying so I could put them away (no he doesn’t do this either) and finish up, I come back in 15 minutes later to find him washing dishes.

You’re thinking, “Well, you should be happy he was helping clean up his own mess.” Perhaps, but I’d taken ownership of the situation and was extremely irritated. Also, he doesn’t wash them, rinse them, put them in the drainer to dry (or dry them), then put them away before washing another sinkful. He washes them all and finds places to stack them around the kitchen so they’ll all dry simultaneously, which he then never puts away so they sit there until I do. In short, he’s not helpful in the kitchen when he tries to help.

Dear roomie #6: No, it isn’t ok to go buy more cooking utensils and cookware b/c you don’t want to wash dishes (just more for me to wash) 11:16 PM Dec 4th

I’m washing dishes i didn’t dirty…again 9:26 AM Dec 6th

Dear roomie #10: It IS ok to finish the dishes that I presoaked in the sink (you know, the last two of FIVE drainers-full that YOU dirtied). 4:48 PM Dec 8th

Yes, sadly, he actually went and bought more cooking utensils and storage containers so he could cook food rather than just washing the multitudes of utensils and storage containers we already have. Two days later, I got to the point (again) where I could no longer stand looking in the kitchen and began to wash dishes. It may be important at this juncture to let you know that I do have a full-time job (other than cleaning the kitchen). I spent two hours washing (and putting away) three drainers full of dishes, then put the rest in some soapy water to soak — to make them easier to clean. My dear roomie, who had been off work all that day, could have washed those dishes for me since I had lessons to plan and papers to grade, which I hinted at for 3 hours. Alas, no, he just walked past them all evening. He was nice enough to put the additional dishes he dirtied that evening in the water to soak, instead of piling the on the counter to crust up.

Dear Roomie: Watch as I take the plate I used for my grapefruit into the kitchen and wash it immediately so it doesn’t need doing later… about 24 hours ago

…maybe leading by example will do the trick? (Hope not…or there goes my blog ideas) about 24 hours ago

NO…THIS DOES NOT WORK. (well, not with him…he is immune to subtlety)

Dear roomie: Please do not eat the food I bought, esp. if you are going to eat it using 3X the usual # of dishes and not wash them after. about 1 hour ago

I bought some frozen tater-tots the previous day. I never would have known he’d eaten some the night before except I saw the lid OFF of the Fry-Daddy, which I bought him for Christmas so he would stop leaving quarts of oil in a pot on the stove for weeks at a time. I’d done the dishes the day before and the sink was empty when I went to bed. Lo and behold, there are three forks, a spoon, a steak knife, a bowl, and two plates waiting for me when I awoke this morning (he says he never eats). If someone out there could please explain to me how it is possible to dirty that many dishes for some frozen tater-tots, I’d be forever grateful.

#3: Shared Space

Every area of the house that isn’t a bedroom is shared space. It is this shared space that we both must look at and use. It is this shared space visitors get to see when they stop by. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep the shared space neat and tidy. Leaving all that to one roommate is a great way to cause animosity, end friendships, and ultimately end up losing your home because nobody will ever want to live with you.

Dear roomie#11: It’s ok. I’ll fit all the housework into the time left over after I’ve worked 70+ hours this week… cont’d 5:09 PM Dec 8th

DR#11 cont’d: I know it’s rough going into work at 5pm. So, you relax and I’ll take care of it.

The living room literally looks like 4 suitcases walked in off the street and exploded. The living room is where my roomie likes to leave his suitcases. There is clothing and there are toiletries that are strung across the room and on every piece of furniture. The dining room still has unpacked boxes from the move (14 months ago). You’re probably asking yourself at this point, “You moved from one location to another with him?”

Yes, I did… but this is an entirely different “him” than the one I moved in with when I moved to this city. The other house wasn’t the neatest place, but it wasn’t messy – and it certainly wasn’t dirty. Everything had a place, and it pretty much stayed there. (I concede, the bathroom was a wreck, but he even kept the kitchen clean before we moved.)

I’ve tried picking up. I’ve tried to coerce him into putting things away. I’ve tried mentioning it in passing…and telling him point-blank. The piles are just too daunting. To be honest, if I were him, I’d be scared of the piles too.

Almost everything I own, I keep in my bedroom. There is far too much “stuff” in this room for it to ever be neat, but it’s my room, and I keep the door shut. Do I like it? No, of course not…it drives me crazy. I’m just not sure where else to put it all. He has taken every other room of the house and made it his dumping ground.

#5: My Final Thoughts On Roommate Cleanliness

As I’ve said, keeping shared space neat and tidy is a matter of respect. He doesn’t respect himself, and doesn’t respect me. I’ve told him (and it’s kind of common sense) that cleaning a room can take all day… keeping a room clean only takes five minutes a day. Every time he cleans (not often) he is so proud of himself that he finally cleaned something he can’t wait to show me. Every time he shows me, I tell him, “Now you should just keep it clean because it will make your life easier and it will simply stay clean.” Every time, this falls on deaf ears.

In closing… Hope all my work gives HIM a sense of accomplishment. Blah. I need to move 11:27 AM Nov 28th

I’ve been looking. I probably will soon…

Living with another person takes a lot of patience. A lot of effort. A lot of work.

Being a roommate requires living with another person. Being a good roommate requires a level of respect for yourself and the person you live with. It isn’t just splitting bills… it is respect. A big part of that respect, in my opinion, comes in the form of simply keeping shared living space clean and tidy. This would mean, of course, the living room/den, the kitchen, and the (unfortunately shared) bathroom be free of clutter and be kept clean. In short, everywhere in the house should be kept neat and clean, save your bedroom…do what you want in there.

So, I’m going to have to split this blog into sections (an indication as to exactly how slovenly the roomie truly is): 1. Bathroom; 2. Kitchen; 3. Other Shared Space; 4. Everything Else; 5. Final Thoughts. (Numbers 2, 3, and 5 will come in a blog later this week so this one isn’t too long.)

#1: Bathroom

It is important to understand something about cleaning bathrooms and me: I’m allergic to the fumes from the cleaners — I’ve recently been told to try a mixture of vinegar and water…I can’t imagine that would make a clean-smelling bathroom, but I’ll give it a try next weekend. Because of this allergy, cleaning the bathroom was his agreed-upon job when we began this cohabitation.

Dear roomie #11: No, is it NOT ok to pee on the seat and not clean it up. (gross) — excuse me…*vomits* 9:13 PM Dec 8th from web (*note* there was an earlier tweet on 9/19/09 concerning this as well)

Dear roomie #12: No, it is NOT ok to tell me that you slept ALL day as soon as I walk in the door from an 11.5 hour day… 9:08 PM Dec 9th from web

cont’d… especially when the dishes are not done and the house is a wreck and there’s urine on the toilet seat (again) and…etc. 9:08 PM Dec 9th from web

Ok, now this is just disgusting. Common sense, no ANY sense, will tell you that if you actually urinate on a toilet seat you should clean it up. This goes for those of you living alone as well. It’s simply unsanitary. Period. As toddlers, boys are taught to lift the seat and aim for the water. It’s been decades since the roomie was a toddler. This is a lesson that should have set in years and years ago (years before I was even born, actually). The really sad part is, I’ve mentioned it to him (in passing — it’s somewhat of a disturbingly embarrassing topic to broach), yet there it is, on the seat, nearly every day. I just don’t get it.

Dear roomie #18: Thank you for cleaning the bathroom, finally. It is NOT ok to wait 5 months before doing it again. 6:14 PM Dec 19th from web

about my last tweet: Bathroom cleaning is roomie’s agreed-upon job (i.e., he chose it) as I am allergic to the fumes from cleaners. 6:15 PM Dec 19th from web

As an additional side note to DR#18: I cleaned the br 4 times in the last 6 months and was rewarded with illness for days each time. 6:23 PM Dec 19th from web

What’s more disgusting is that he was so proud of himself..couldn’t wait to show it off. I said,”if u keep it … 1:41 AM Dec 20th from web

… up and clean it once a week, it will stay this way.” He didn’t respond.. 1:41 AM Dec 20th from web

Again, common sense. A bathroom can not stay sanitary for months at a time. And, I should not have to get a respiratory infection just so I can walk into the room without wearing shower shoes… and I should not have to wear shower shoes in my own shower — I haven’t had to do that since the dorms in college 15 years ago. So, as you can see, he simply doesn’t do his job. The job he agreed to. The job he chose. And what’s worse is, when I mention it, he ignores me. (Recall I mentioned respect.)

#4 Everything else

Dear roomie #4: No, it is NOT ok to put your chicken bones in the kitchen trash can without replacing the can liner first. 11:26 PM Dec 3rd from web

Here is when my roommate deals with the trash: on Friday mornings he takes the garbage bin (and recycling bin — a later blog) to the curbside. The other six days, apparently it is my responsibility to deal with the trash. He lets it pile up in the trash bin until it is impossible to close the bag and I have to start a new one just to get the first closed… that is if he has even bothered to put a liner in the bin after (the very few times) he takes the liner out. Even when he takes the liner out, he doesn’t take it outside, it simply sits in the kitchen until I take it.

Dear roomie #9: Since you do laundry 6 times a week, it is NOT ok to leave your clothes in the washer on the one day a week I wash clothes. 6:45 PM Dec 6th from web

My roomie works in the service industry, so naturally he has work shirts and aprons to wash…I understand this, I’ve worked in that industry. However, I do laundry once a week. Two loads (occasionally three). I always do — and have always done — this on Sundays. I work Monday – Friday so Sunday makes sense to me. He knows this about me because 1) I’ve always done this; and 2) I’ve told him over and over. Since he knows this, I would think he could remember that on this one day a week, just for a few hours, I will need him to empty his laundry out of the machines. (again, I mentioned respect)

I could go on and on, but this post is quite long enough already. I will address: 2. The Kitchen, 3. Other Shared Space and 5. My Final Thoughts on Roommate Cleanliness later this week…stay tuned.

(*Note: Before you comment on how I could help more in the bathroom, since I must use it whether he cleans it or not… I address this in part 2/2 of this blog coming later this week.)

Behavioral expectations at a musical play are not on the list of things-to-learn for many people. However, they are not really all that difficult — most are common sense actually — and employing them creates a vastly more enjoyable experience for your fellow viewers. In all actuality, you may even find yourself able to more fully enjoy the play as a result, since you will be devoting more of your attention on the play than the (your) distracting behavior.

Recently, I went to see RENT at one of our local community theaters with my roommate. His behavior during the play was so distracting I found it extremely difficult to enjoy the show. I was completely embarrassed at his unabashed display of disruptive, and just plain rude, behavior. What I found most disconcerting was that he should have known better — he has been in so many plays and shows himself that I would think he would know how to act as an audience member.  I guess I thought wrong.

Dear roomie #1: just b/c you know the actor, it is NOT ok to catcall their name during the song 9:07 PM Dec 2nd . Yes, sadly, he called the actor by his REAL name both during and after the performance of the solo number. He “whooped” and “woo hoo”ed the poor guy on stage. On this note, it is important to understand that when actors put themselves into a role — all the better for the audience as we can really get into the characters if the actors have truly become them — it is very distracting to them when someone calls out their real names. As an actor, I find this extremely distracting and it is nearly impossible to stay in character when this happens. Sure, it’s a community theater production… It is a production all the same. As an audience member, I find it quite difficult to keep my focus on the show. It is no longer a fantasy I’ve immersed myself in, it’s suddenly just some people singing, dancing, and acting on a stage.

Dear roomie #2: no, it isn’t ok to ask me questions every 2 minutes about “how does this version compare to NYC?”9:09 PM Dec 2nd . Again, sadly, he asked me (during the show) no short of 50 times how each and every nuance of each and every actor and each and every song compared with the Broadway version. It really isn’t important for you to ever have seen RENT to understand this. Common sense would dictate that a community theater version of ANY play or musical is going to fall short of what you would see in a professional show. So, 50 times I had to say sotto voce, “let’s talk about it at intermission/after the show.”  It may also be apropos at this juncture to state that his idea of communicating quietly is somewhere between stage whisper and regular volume. Common sense would also clue one into the fact that I am, out of politeness, at the very least, not going to compare the community version with the professional version (which I was fortunate enough to see from front row, center before it closed on Broadway) in front of other theatergoers. It may have been good, but of course it wasn’t as good as the professional version I saw in NYC. It was a silly question at its inception… 50 times later, it became simply, “would you please shut up now?”

Dear roomie #3: no, it isn’t ok to sing along…besides you don’t know the lyrics (I know them, and i’m not singing..take a hint)9:10 PM Dec 2nd . Ok, this is one that I KNOW a lot of people have trouble with. The songs from a Broadway show are catchy — if they weren’t you’d probably never have had the opportunity to have ever heard of the show in the first place. RENT came out 14 years ago. I’m sure anyone who is even a little into musicals can sing along with a few (if not all) of the songs in the show. But again, we go to a show to watch and listen to others perform. Humming along QUIETLY might be ok, so long as you are humming so quietly that nobody, even the person sitting next to you, can hear. However, full-out singing is never acceptable (except for during the curtain call of SPAMALOT, which is sadly no longer on Broadway, when they expected the audience to join the cast in a theater-wide version of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”). Additionally, why would you even WANT to sing along when you don’t know the words? Not only are you distracting from those on stage who have worked hard learning the words (and characters, and blocking, and staging, etc) so we could hear THEM perform, you look like an idiot because you (a theater lover) don’t even know the lyrics to RENT?!?

There are many items of etiquette I did not discuss, but they are, as I said earlier, all common sense. The best rule of thumb when you are out for an evening of theater — including (non-rock) concerts, plays, musicals, opera, etc. — is to act as though you would want others to act so that you can have the best possible experience. Performing Arts were created so that spectators could remove themselves, even for a little while, from the doldrums of everyday life. If you are, by your ridiculous behavior — whether intentional or not — are distracting others in any way, you are disallowing them to do so. You are taking the experience away from us and reminding us of all the ridiculousness we have to deal with the rest of the time. In short, don’t.