This is just a lesson to me in the future to be VERY mindful of who I live with in the future. I live in close quarters with 3 white people (living the middle class single life dream) Before some people go off the deep about this being racist, let’s chalk it up to differences in lifestyle, personality, demeanor, income, and expectations.
My housemate has this annoying, leave-it-to-beaver, honey-i’m-home, way of coming in. He pretty much shouts, “hello” as soon as he crosses the threshold. It’s not like it’s directed at someone in particular, but it’s more of a pain in the ass announcement that he has entered the house.
So I ignore it. It annoys the hell outta me. My description sounds harmless, but if you could just hear it. *BAH!*
Half the time I’m in my room so I’m not gonna respond, and I’m not gonna respond period since you’re just yelling. So a couple nights ago, he came home, started with the ‘hello’ shouts, and I ignored it. First of all, it’s not like he even saw me the first 3 times he said something—he couldn’t have even known anyone was home. So I waited until he ACTUALLY could see me before responding. I said hi, casually. Less than 2 seconds later after just seeing me, he says ‘hello’ again. I’m already irritated but now he’s saying with this look of expectation like I’m supposed to be ecstatic to see him. So I respond sarcastically with another hello. Then he does this stupid shit, ‘well is something wrong?’ YES YOU’RE A PAIN IN THE ASS! —I say no. Most people would get the hint and shut up, but NOOOOO not him, because he lives in this perfect, chipper, everything’s right for my white-middle-class-existence. so he says it again, ‘well it just seems like somethings wrong.’ I looked at him, walked into my room, and shut the door.
Like enough already. I try to be respectful but all of my roommates have no damn boundaries. They’re nosy as hell, ALWAYS asking me what I’m doing, and prying for more information when I don’t give them a detailed answer. I respond 99% of the time, with deliberately vague answers, but for them that’s just fuel to probe deeper. And it’s not like you can tell them to mind their damn business because it would be like kicking a small dog—they live in such a bubble. They say stupid shit like ‘oh you can’t REALLY live comfortably off of $30,000 a year’ when they know I make less than $14,000 in NYC, which means I have a nice little EBT card and cannot be throwing money around. BUT REALLY?! You can’t live off of $30,000 as a single, young person, with no mortgage, no car payments, and no kids?? *lavish-living-excessive-spending assholes are what you are.*
So fast forward. He leaves this stupid not under my door saying how he felt ‘disrespected’ because I didn’t say ‘hi’ the right way and didn’t respond after the first 3 times he said (reminder: he didn’t even know who he was saying hello to the first 3 times because he was just yelling aimlessly and didn’t even know who was home!!!).
I’m sorry. If your life is such that your most pressing problem is not getting a sufficient greeting from me, who could’ve been (and WAS) occupied at the time of your yelling ‘hello’ into the wind, and not having me fulfill your unrealistic and self-centered expectation that I should drop EVERYTHING I’m doing to properly acknowledge your existence, then I’d say you’ve got it pretty easy.
I mean here I am worried about what nasty statement some pervert is gonna say to me on the train, and whether that man who is eerily too close to me is doing/thinking of doing behind me, whether or not I have enough money to buy food, whether I can afford to go back to school in the fall. And you’re fraught with distress about my not saying ‘hi.’ GET A LIFE!
It was a long note too, and he said we should talk to make sure we’re all “comfortable” in our living space. When he brought it up the next day, he looked so distressed, like something HORRIBLE had just happened. He wanted me to know how he was feeling (his words), and it took every ounce of my being not to laugh in his face. I told him, I’m sorry if he feels that way, but I’m not gonna rise to every occasion to satisfy your need to have your existence validated. It’s not that deep, and I’m not gonna worry about it. And then he just went on and one about how when we met and they agreed to have me live here they made clear that they were social people. And now it’s taking every shred of control not to tell them about themselves—not to tell them how pompous and elitist they can be about working with their “poor underprivileged (brown) students” in NYC, how I don’t care to hear their stories about teaching [the underprivileged] about vegetables and how sad it is that [the underprivileged] can’t describe what they’re tasting, that I think they live in excess if they think having $30,000 is not enough, how fucked up it is that they assume that I can just go buy more food if they eat mine, how ridiculous it is when they’re feelings get hurt because I don’t want to go out with them and spend money on overpriced truffle oil french fries and beer.
So I told him that he makes a lot of assumptions about what it means to be “social” and just because I don’t live and operate at their over the top, all the time, level of existence, or choose to socialize the way they do, doesn’t mean I’m not social. And what’s more, I respect you, your space and your rules (however ridiculous some of them are—that’s for another time), but I DON’T have to live like you or engage in your chipper chatter about your lives (which I don’t really care about), nor do you have the right to pry into mine, which I think I’ve made pretty clear I don’t want to share with you. SO GIVE IT A BREAK.
Now they all look so plagued and uncomfortable like they’re rethinking their whiteness and privilege, and they talk in hushed whispers, and tip-toe around—like ‘aw shit, we got ourselves an angry black woman.’