Jot a note to your future college roommate relating a personal anecdote that reveals something about you.

Well, if we're to be roommates, I should tell you about my only other relevant experience, which was last summer. I had been studying Japanese at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for three weeks, living in the dorms, booked into a double. My class was to be four weeks long, and I was rather disappointed at not getting a roommate. However, I had my class and a job at the bike shop, so I didn't give it much extra thought. Early in my stay I had caught a cold that was just now beginning to develop, and in the past couple days I had grown quite sick. As Mommy was not there to save me, the room had fallen into abject squalor. My own side of the room was a mess, my books lay everywhere, my clothes were residing on both desks in the room, and my pile of used tissues (a staple of sick people everywhere) had begun to stack up on the other bed. I had gone out one night to get dinner, and when I returned a few hours later, I noticed that my near-sacred pile of Kleenexes had been unceremoniously removed from the other bed, replaced by a gym bag; my underwear no longer adorned the shelves, it had been replaced by Drakkar Noir. (In my mind, not much of an improvement).

I ran down to the check-in desk, where they told me, indeed, I did have a roommate, and indeed, he did try to get moved out of the room as soon as possible. Unsuccessful in this, he kindly asked me to remove the innumerable figures of Japanese Hiragana from his side of the room. After I apologetically obliged, we decided to put the whole incident behind us.)

What does this mean? Will I leave my clothes on the floor? Possibly.

Will I stack my Kleenex on your bed? Perhaps, but doubtful.

Will Stanford reject me because I'm a slob? Probably not their only reason.

Is there anything else we should know about you?  

Without using my hands, I can cover both my nostrils with my upper lip.

Return to essays, to Jos Claerbout