“Bad roommate! Bad roommate!”

Quarantine lessons: The end of laissez-faire in the kitchen

An actual image of our house taken from the International Space Station.

My daughter is a senior in high school, and assuming the creek don’t rise, she’ll be graduating soon and getting ready to head off to college.

To her future roommate(s) – have patience.

She’s an only child, which means she’s never had to compromise with a sibling or share the bathroom, Xbox controller or the leftover chili. That’s all going to change.

We’ve tried to take whatever positive elements we can out of this coronavirus quarantine, and one of the most constructive so far is teaching her how to live thoughtfully in close proximity with others, 24/7.

Until recently, if she left a plate or cup on the table when she was done (hint: every time,) I’d just take care of it. That previous policy of “eh, I’ll do it” has ended, and has instead been replaced with a lot of pointing and shouting. Wander by our house and you’re bound to hear it:

“Bad roommate! Bad roommate!”

It’s become a fairly regular refrain around here, and it’s done with the intention of making her aware that there will be other people around her, all the time, who may not want to deal with it. Our demonstrative display may help with that.

It’s basically a shorter way to say, “try to think of others and clean up after yourself.” Only it’s a point made in the shorthand that friends and family often develop. She gets it, it’s just that it’s going to take a little time to undo 17 years of habits.

It’s something that happened without her mom and I even noticing at first. When she was very little, we took her to a preschool for a visit. She was invited to play with some of the toys while we chatted with the teacher. When our conversation was over, I went over and started putting the toys away. The teacher then gave us a lesson – it was probably easier and quicker for her mom and I to pick things up, but it would be better in the long run if we just had patience and had her do it.

Yet here we are, shouting “bad roommate!” and pointing at empty spaghetti bowls.

She’s a thoughtful kid, so I think she’ll come around.

If things return to normal and we ship her off to college, I guess we’ll find out.

Categories: Dad on Bored