I can't resist blogging about my roommates any longer. Since this blog is a journal of my own maturation, and "extra" people in my life give me an opportunity to find my rough edges, how can I not write about our exchanges?
I will endeavor to be respectful here, even while they drive me crazy.
Let's start with "George." George was our first renter. Our neighbors knew him a long time, Xena liked him, we made an agreement and he moved in. He's not a perfect fit... his shortcomings dovetail into our own immaturities so that we get to examine behaviors we've succesfully ignored.
Last night, Nick needed a bath (I think there's a cheese that smells like he did), and he grumbled his way up to the boy's bathroom. Yep, we have a boy's and a girl's. At least until there's a bathroom for my family's exclusive use. He came back saying, "George is doing something weird, there's a candle and the bathtub is already full of water."
I went up, and George immediately said, "Nick should check to see if someone is in the bathroom before he goes in."
"I would expect him to," I said. "Was there any reason he might not have known you were in there?"
"Well, it's just common courtesy. It's common sense. You should knock or check first."
"That makes sense to me," I said. "Let me ask again, was it clear that you were in there?"
"Look, if the door is shut, you should check. Nick shouldn't just be walking in."
I wasn't finished yet. "You're right, no one should just walk in. So, the door was shut, but was the light on or off? Because if you had the light off, then I wouldn't expect Nick to think that the room was occupied."
"Yeah, the light was off, but like I told you, the door was shut. He should have knocked or called to see if anyone was in there."
"So the light was off, making it look like the room was empty. Ok, I understand. I'll ask Nick to check, even if the light is off."
"Well, yeah, it's always going to be an adjustment, when you live with roommates," said George.
This conversation was really the first time that I dealt with George in a way that I liked. Often, I get pulled into some debate about acceptable behavior or "us vs them" or Big Brother or municipal government. But this time, I kept on issue, and I didn't concern myself with whether George was pleased or not. I ended up with a clear course, something concrete that I could tell Nick. So far, with George, my family feels like we're doing all the "adjusting to roommates," so we'll have to see if he's got any room for growth in his own self. I think we ought to adjust and grow, but as personal idiosynchratic behavior shows up, I don't think I'll encourage my children to adjust to that.
Anyway, no big drama. Just getting along with other people.