I have no idea where I will be living, or who I will be living with in the next few weeks.
Last week I came across a sign placed in the front of my house. A big ‘For Sale’ sign.
I say my house, but I do not own it; I pay rent each week to someone who does.
This means that for reasons completely out of my control, I could be looking for a new place to live in the next few weeks or months. If I do move, by my count it would probably be the 12th house in the past 10 years or so.
I don’t think of myself as a nomad, but for some reason since age 16 I’ve never really set down roots, and subsequently I’ve lived in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the United Kingdom, Melbourne and country Queensland before coming to Shepparton.
And a lot of the time it has been in random share-houses, which is a form of social Russian Roulette for people that want cheaper rent.
Everyone who has share-housed has a few horror stories, and here are some of mine.
I lived with David in the Brisbane suburb of Indooroopilly when I was studying.
David worked in information technology, lived in the garage to save on rent (which went against council bylaws on overcrowding) and seemed to like exactly two things: cigarettes and weed.
As far as cigarettes went, we started off with an agreement that he would only smoke outside. This worked initially, although he gradually pushed these boundaries from smoking at the open door to smoking inside but only in his room, and then smoking inside in any room he happened to be in at the time.
Despite my asthma I was too polite to say anything, although I did laugh when his excessive smoking clogged up the insides of his brand new Apple Mac. (Did you know that smoking excessively in front of a Mac voids the warranty? David does — now.)
As for the weed, whatever people do with their own bodies is their own business. But when it comes to making space-cake (a cannabis infused cake) and putting it in the fridge, people should at least label it so that another housemate does not confuse it with their chocolate cake, and eat it before going to class.
Scott was a friend from high school whom I shared an apartment with in Caulfield North when I lived in Melbourne. He had just come back into civilian life after a few years in the army, and as he had only lived on base, it was his first time out living in the real world.
This should have been a warning to me. After coming from the highly regimented world of an army barracks, his life skills were somewhat lacking without the threat of military police.
Watching him cook was a fascinating experience. My favourite was the time when he put tuna, cheese, and a fried egg between two slices of bread, then put this is a toasted sandwich maker and then smothered the burned monstrosity in barbecue sauce.
Despite plenty of his friendly offers to try it, I never did.
As for washing his clothes — he had an interesting belief that simply putting dirty clothes in a puddle of water in the bath was exactly the same as washing them in an actual machine. My nose disagreed.
I lived with this eccentric older woman in Brisbane’s amazing West End.
The constant conversations she had with herself should have been a warning, but because the rent was super cheap and I was living within walking distance of the city, I was willing to overlook it.
Juliet had lived by herself for a long time and had an intricate set of rules for the house. At first I was willing to live with them to keep the peace.
They were things like unplug things from the wall to save money on electricity (a pain when I had to crawl under the table every time I wanted to switch the TV on).
Gradually the house rules got more extreme and she would take out her anger on me in passive aggressive, but creative, ways.
One night I came home after work with a few icy cold ciders to find all of the bottle openers in the kitchen were gone. When I inquired as to where they went, she informed me that she became so enraged at how I used bottle openers incorrectly so she decided to keep all of the bottle openers in her bedroom.
I moved out not long after that.
To this day I wonder what — according to Juliet — is the correct way to use a bottle opener, and how my method deviated so badly from it.
My current housemates seem to be a fairly level-headed bunch ... which makes me fear that I am the crazy one of the house.
Barclay White is a News journalist.