Friday, July 5, 2013

Lessons In Life - Living With Other People

I read online that there was a man who wrote a blog about ten life lessons he learned before he passed away last week.  He had hundreds of people following him and after he was gone, his widow received a lot of e-mails about his blog and his advice and his words meant to total strangers.  Now, it's inspired me to do something a little like it.  I've learned a lot in my life - so far - and as time progresses I'm sure I'll learn a lot more.  But what I've learned can't be demonstrated, it can only be told through words.

As my title says, living with people can be totally different to living with your family.  Your family forgives you if you're in a bad mood; because you grew up with them.  If you are living with people, and these are people you don't know, they aren't going to be too forgiving for a little while - not until they get to know you.
In a share-house, there's give and take.  You have to do you fair share of the chores, give money for the bills, give money to the running of the house and have a night where you cook for the others.  And then, there's one night where you all have the night off and have takeaway... now, that's fun.  

I lived in a mixed share-house - which is always fun - and we had an arrangement where I couldn't pay the rent, so I did all the housework.  I cleaned, did the laundry, cleaned the kitchen, washed up after every meal and did all the shopping.  The guys (there were only two of them but - boy - did they make a big mess!) paid the bills, worked and they paid for the cable television.  However, I also got a night or two off a fortnight where I could do what I wanted... I didn't have to do any work and they cleaned up after me.  It was a pretty sweet deal.  The best thing was that us three got along really well... I was dating one of the guys and the other one treated me like a sister; so we worked out wonderfully.
I learned a lot about living with people the first time around.  For example:  just because toilet paper is cheap, doesn't mean it's good.  The first time I did the grocery shopping, I bought what Jon called 'Sandpaper Toilet Paper'; and he wasn't far wrong!  It was awful!  I learned to spend the extra $2.00 on the toilet paper and get the nice softer stuff... nothing worse than cheap toilet paper.
Another lesson I learned while living with these guys was to never do my shopping at 4:30pm on a Saturday afternoon.  I did this once when they didn't get their money in the 'Weekly Shopping Tin' on time and finish their items on the list before Thursday.  Well... fortunately, I had the mobile phone Mum had given me and called home and told Jon to get his butt to the shop to help me.  When he found me, I was in line with a collection of melting ice cream and all our cold goods going warm.  All of this stuff was given to him to replace otherwise we'd have food poisoning because I was forced to stand in line.  The next time I went shopping, I took a small esky lined with ice blocks and all the cold stuff went into it, just in case I was stuck again.
One last lesson we all learned about sharing the house was being careful who you brought into the place.  Jon made friends with a guy who treated man like a Prince, but treated me like a slave.  He didn't like me from the moment he walked through the door to the moment Jon threw him out.  This horrible man was invited to a party Dan and Jon had (which I didn't mind if they had - I mean, guys have to blow off steam, eh?) and so I thought to keep to myself in my room - which was right next to living room - and get in some reading, and watch television (yeah, had my own tv set).  This guy got drunk really quickly and almost miss-took my bedroom for the toilet - how lucky I locked my door! Well, when he did finally find the toilet, he didn't aim well!  He peed everywhere but in the toilet - he even got the ceiling.  Soon after 'using the toilet' he went home without another word.  Jon and Dan and the rest of the visitors enjoyed themselves and the party fizzled out at the right rate (at around 1am) at which point people either went home or fell asleep on the lounge and they closed up the house.  Jon went to the bathroom, brushed his teeth, had a shower and walked past the toilet to turn off the light when he stepped in something wet!  He told me he had never seen something so gross in all his life!  And he spent 3 hours cleaning it!  So, when I woke at 7am and used the toilet, I did notice it was very, very, very clean - even the curtains had been washed! - and yet Jon couldn't be woken for breakfast.  I wasn't told until later that day.  Jon never invited or spoke to that guy again.
One last lesson I've learned about living in a share house is to never compare somebody else's cooking with your Mum's.  Oh, yeah, tell them about what you're Mum's cooking is like, but don't say that what they've cooked isn't as good as your Mum's... that's just bad form.  And they can turn it around on you too the next time you cook.  Also, don't cook the same old thing every time.  Learn to cook at least 3 dishes and do them well so your flatmates look forward to your turn in cooking.  My dishes were spaghetti bolasagne, savoury mince and roast chicken (Mum taught me the last one).  I didn't do the roast chicken very often, but when I did, it turned out wonderful.  Jon's specialty was Lasagne - boy - could he make a mean Lasagne!  It was amazing!  I remember he made one for when my folks came over to meet Dan for the first time as a favour as Dan wasn't all that great at cooking.  So, cooking is something we were all grateful we knew each other could do - and I learned a few new tricks by the time our lease was up around 6 months later. 

So, these are the first few lessons I learned about living with other people.  There's others, but they're not as major as these.  What lessons have you learned living with other people?  Did you learn anything new when you lived in a share house, or was it more or less the same as living at home, just a little different?   

No comments:

Post a Comment