The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


So, I decided since there is a lack of conflict in my life these days, I should start a war with my roommate. I happen to think he fired the first shot and I merely grabbed my weapon of choice and declared the war. This war is nothing like THL's war with her roommate, as there will be no throwing of soap with pubic hair at anyone's head. In fact, I really don't have any energy to fight in this war. I know I am right and as a wise person once said, knowing is half the battle.

Background on Roomie (R) and I: without getting into the sordid details, I can tell you that we have had a pretty bumpy relationship. He LOVES to disagree with me. The topic at hand does not really matter. By default as to who the two of us are, we cannot agree. Sometimes, it is over him insisting that raising the limits on the credit cards he does not pay off is GOOD for his credit, sometimes it is his swearing that his three daily showers in no way contributed to our $400 water bill. (Note: neither of these figures are exaggerated.) Regardless, the two of us have had communication "issues" from day one. I have enrolled in law school and am paying tons of money to learn to analyze and logically form arguments in an adult fashion. Not saying I am there yet, just saying I am working on it. R dated 12 lawyer chicks from Craigslist. I guess that puts us on an even playing field when it comes to conflict resolution...right?

Back to the war at hand...I woke up on Sunday to find a nice white blanket of snow covering the ground outside. I immediately groaned, as my arms were sore from a long work-out the day before and I did not feel like shoveling. When I looked outside, I noticed little kid footprints. This led me to believe that people were up and about and we should shovel the snow promptly. (This thought was further emphasized by the fact that half of the neighbors had already shoveled. Yet another tid-bit - it was warming up outside and the snow was melting off the roof already.) Being from Louisiana, I was rarely confronted with such an issue. However, since I moved in with C, she has explained numerous times the importance of shoveling promptly.

R is laying down watching television when I head downstairs. An immediate dilemma enters into my head: since C and I have shoveled both other times this year and my arms hurt and R is not doing anything, I really thing it's his turn and he should shovel the snow. This is a tricky situation for many reasons and I quickly analyzed my options and their possibly repercussions:

1) First off, I could tell him where the shovel is and that he needs to get to work. (This would make him feel as if I am 'mothering him' and piss him off.)
2) Second option, I could just do it myself, and then spend the rest of the day mad feeling like R never does anything. (This is the fairly immature option. Plus, R taught me it is better to be proactive than reactive.)
3) Third, I could not say or do anything and hope that he notices. (This is just plain absurd. He will not notice.)

My lawyer ex-boyfriend gave me advice for situations like this...he said 'Law-rah, you have to understand, we are guys and by our nature, we are lazy. All you have to do is make us notice and we will step up and do the manly thing.' I had successfully tested this theory once before with R regarding his Tuesday ritual of walking PAST the garbage cans that need to be brought up on his way inside. I said good morning and made small talk for about five minutes about the snow, and the need to shovel, etc. He did not catch on, so I had to be a bit more assertive. "So, R, since C and I did it last time and my arms hurt and you aren’t doing anything, I was thinking it's your turn to shovel the snow." I think he ignored me. If he did respond, it was not in the affirmative. Oops, perhaps a bit too motherly? (Still hadn't had my coffee.) Oh well. So, I head to the kitchen to unload the dishes that have been sitting there all morning as he watches TV.

A few minutes later, R decides to get up and says "I don't understand why y'all do that." Having no idea what he is talking about, I say "do what?" to which he responds "shovel the snow." I have to pause here. Possible arguments on my part:

1) because it is the law (county ordinance)
2) because it is in our lease
3) because it is dangerous not too, someone could get hurt
4) so our neighbors don't hate us
5) so our other two roommates who will come home late at night with luggage don't have a hard time getting to the door
6) once people walk on it, they pack it down
7) once the snow melts, it becomes heavier and harder to deal with

I stick with "well, otherwise, it will turn to ice and someone could get hurt." There was then about five minutes of what elevated to bickering. (I will not call it an argument, as I have come to realize arguments must have data to back them up, of which he only had his opinions.) Arguements on his side:
1) it will eventually melt
2) he is not going to be here, what does he care if it gets shoveled
and my FAVORITE:
3)the outcome of this catfight is R refusing to do it saying "I can't sit around all day and wait to shovel snow. I have somewhere to be!" as he lays back down and un-mutes the television.

Granted, I am used to growing up in a world of southern GENTLEMEN, but you have got to be kidding me! I had my coffee and read the paper, then put on sweats and boots and went outside to start the shoveling. Keep in mind, that over an hour had passed between the time that R said he had somewhere to be and the time he left the house. Being the gentleman that he is, though, he did watch me shovel the snow and give me advice as he stood by his car while it warmed up. And I thought JB was bad!

Luckily, that very same day, as I was in the kitchen studying, the neighborhood delivered a much better answer to his question. They put the little monthly newsletter in our door and at the very top was a not about WHY YOU NEED TO SHOVEL SNOW. Well, being the nice roommate that I am, I didn't want R to spend too much time trying to figure out this seemingly odd ritual of ours, so I highlighted the article and taped it to the door for him. Well, I assume he did not like my weapon of choice, as the next morning it was gone.

NOTE: Other roommate was upset, as she likes to read our neighborhood newsletter. After finding it torn into a thousand little pieces in my trash can, she and C attempted to tape it back together only to find the world "childish" scrawled on it. Yep, I am thirteen again too!

NOTE to R: hope you enjoyed my take on things:-)