This is war.
If your roommate leaves his food to mold and fester on his unwashed plates for several consecutive days in a row, then you cook what the kids these days are calling a “Domo,” which calls for half a pound of Manwich, a full bottle of hot sauce, a handful of oregano, two quarts of cream cheese and just a hint of salt. Place that smelly sack right on his desk where the scent can gather; your roommate will surely hate that. Well, don’t just let a good plate of food sit there. Eat it! Eat the whole thing! Yummy, yummy, yummy. Wasn’t that delicious?
This is war.
If your roommate stays on the phone late nights, engaging in semi-erotic baby talk, with his not-really-a-girlfriend girlfriend as you attempt sleep the night before an especially important exam, then make sure you set your “Call Abuela Time” to 3:00 a.m. It’s sure to last an invigorating two hours as your grandmother probes whether or not you have a boyfriend and whether or not that boyfriend happened to give you syphilis. Would he have helpful tips for an older woman, around 70ish, but with the youthful, girlish features of 48 year old, who may have contracted syphilis after accidentally sleeping with her pool boy Consuelo? No, not for her own knowledge; for a friend, so stop asking.
This is war.
If your roommate so much as utters another word to you about how your Toyota sucks in comparison to his Chevy HHR (Isn’t it just a lamer, fatter version of a PT Cruiser?), then you’ve earned the right to blast “Jesus Take The Wheel” by Carrie Underwood while driving him to the junkyard to rescue his wonderful Chevy HHR. It was found in a lake with a piece of paper stuck to the window that read: Please remove your PT Cruiser from my lake! Wait, is this a Chevy HHR? Isn’t a Chevy HHR just a lamer, fatter version of a PT Cruiser?
Because as I mentioned before: This. Is. War. And as historically proven in basically three out of five of America’s wars, only one thing truly matters in war: total revenge.
But one day, when the air is still, and that ungodly fart smell that’s been accumulating is finally beginning to die out, maybe you’ll develop a quiet respect for each other’s differences. As freshman year begins to close in on a forthcoming but heavily desired end, perhaps you’ll enter a new stage: post-war. You’ll begin to ask yourself a few questions: Where did it all go wrong? Can you guys get back to what you once were? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Isn’t Avengers 2 basically just Avengers, except less good?
At least that’s how it should happen.
But, maybe you’re like me and you’ll hate your roommate to the bitter, bitter end. “So long, sucker! I hope you get abducted by cannibal aliens or by people who listen to Lana Del Rey…and like her! Oh, and I lied that night you were drunk. Four inches is below average!”
Despite this, I don’t look at my ex-roommate—let’s call him Sleep—and think: That guy was a total jerk, he was the worst roommate and he ruined my life! Even though I had more than enough ammunition in that chamber and my finger on the trigger.
I look at Sleep and think: What a wild ride he was. I hope he’s doing well. Also, I really hope he didn’t hate me so much because the first thing I said to him when we met was “I run this world and you are but an insect in my path. Step aside peasant, or I’ll crush you to smithereens like the sack of worthless gunk you are. The top bunk is mine!” No, it definitely wasn’t anything I did, just as it might not be anything you did or will do eventually.
But, this isn’t some sort of self-aggrandizing essay, meant to morally justify my part in my war or even your part in your own war. This is plain and simple forgiveness for him being himself, and for me being myself. This is about looking back and realizing that it takes two to tango and to declare war.
While I’ve never been particularly good at doing the Tango, I probably could have done more to salvage the most important thing to me when I started college: Sleep. Because, after all, this is war. And in any war, nobody really wins. Somebody just takes less casualties.
But let’s be honest, you and I are clearly the winners.