If you have never ever read my blog before, and never met me in real life (What, do you live under a rock or something?) you might not have noticed that I sometimes maybe jump to conclusions a little bit faster than I should. I am usually pretty good at assessing a person or situation quickly and making a decision. Because I’m USUALLY pretty good at this, I tend to ALWAYS think my first impression is correct. My first impression is not always correct.
Every once in a while, someone or some situation will fool my normally perfect working radar. This usually leads to me panicking and believing I am in danger when I really am not. It also leads to me avoiding people who could turn out to be awesome friends. It even lead to me avoiding The Pastor, who turned out to be a really awesome spouse, but that’s another story.
This story is about choosing a college roommate.
Now, when I was in high school I was what you might call “a bit socially awkward”. I did not posses the charm or amazing social skills that I do today. Skills that include hiding when the phone rings (as if the person on the other end can see me) and making exciting Saturday night plans of sitting on the couch reading a book. No, when I was in high school I had a difficult time making friends. Mostly because future friends don’t tend to burst into your bedroom and drag you by your hair to parties while insisting on being your bestie. I was absolutely sure that all of this would change in college.
When I was in high school, I would dream about my college days. In my dreams I was always sitting with large groups of interesting people, impressing them with my whit and charm. I would dream about huge parties where I felt relaxed and acted all cool, as opposed to the way I usually felt in crowds, which included sweaty palm and nauseousness. I couldn’t wait to get there and experience the social life I saw in movies. I just knew that Molly Ringwald was going to be my best friend and we would be inseparable. You see, I though that I wasn’t popular because I was at the wrong school, not because I would sit and silently glare at anyone who approached me (It’s my resting face, people!).
The summer before my freshman year in college, I received my college roommate assignment. Of course I ignored her. It never occurred to me to call or write her. A little while later I received a letter from my assigned roommate. According to her picture she was very pretty, and according to her letter she was extremely friendly and social. I stuck the picture of my new best friend in my wallet and thought about all of the wonderful adventures we would have. Of course I still never thought to call her or write her back.
Shortly before school started, I toured the campus and dorms. There was this really obnoxious girl in my tour group who really stuck out to me. She did super annoying things like smile and talk to people. She also had the nerve to not be Molly Ringwald. The biggest sin of all was that she listened to country music. My cool, fascinating new friends would NOT be listening to country music. I was really glad that Country Girl would not be my roommate.
Late that August I moved into my dorm, super excited to live with my new best friend. Every night was going to be a slumber party and we were going to tell each other ALL of our secrets. I made a mental note to acquire some secrets. I unpacked all of my things and arranged my side of the room.
Two days later I was still alone. The head girl of our dorm floor stopped in and asked me where my roommate was. I stared blankly at her. She then asked me when the last time I talked to my roommate was. I continued to stare blankly. A few phone calls later I was informed that my roommate was attending a different school. I had been abandoned.
I took the photo of my new ex-best friend out of my wallet and tossed it in the trash. I was a little sad. Everyone else seemed to have these awesome new friends who they were bonding with and laughing with. I was once again reading alone in my room. Did it dawn on me that I should open the door and talk to other people? No it did not. Even Country Girl had a super cool artsy roommate.
I wasn’t alone for long, though. There was a waiting list for dorm rooms and I was soon introduced to my new roommate, Slob. Slob quickly informed me that college was a great adventure for her because she was the baby of the family and her parents and siblings had always done everything for her. She had never really been away from her family so she was a bit nervous. It turned out she had also never done her own laundry, rinsed off a dirty dish, picked up her dirty socks, or thrown away a piece of garbage. For the first and last time in my life, I was the neat one.
One day, as I was chipping her moldy food off my dishes, Slob came to me to discuss something important. She wanted to be roommates with Country Girl because I was just a little too difficult for her. I was really excited again. This meant that I would get the super artsy, cool roommate. Goth Girl always wore black and listened to super cool music that no one else had ever heard of. (Yes, there were hipsters in the 90’s. They just wore black and smoked a lot) Goth Girl was so cool that she hated everything and everyone.
Guess who was part of everyone.
At this point I was convinced that I was destined for a life of loneliness. I had had two whole roommates. One who now smelled so bad that I wanted to vomit, and the current one who appeared to be plotting my death. Obviously there was something wrong with me.
In the spring of that school year I started talking to Country Girl. I think it started when she asked me for advice on how to combat the smell of Slob’s dirty laundry, which she still refused to wash. She was apparently determined to wait for the arrival of the magical laundry fairy. As Country Girl and I talked, we found out that we had a few things in common. Mostly a dislike for people who don’t know how to operate a garbage can or who wear black and hate everything. As it was now time to claim a room and a roommate for the next year, we decided that we could (and had) done a whole lot worse than each other.
It turned out that we couldn’t have done a whole lot better. The next year was the year I had a best friend who I could giggle with and share secrets with. We each had someone that we actually enjoyed being around and talking to at night. God had given me a friend to get me through hard times and to teach me how to meet new people.
I wouldn’t have chosen Country Girl. I wouldn’t have really chosen anyone who existed in real life. But sometimes God can work around our judgy selves and give us wonderful gifts. Also friends even better than Molly Ringwald.