Change is hard. Even when you know what’s coming, change is hard. I think that’s true of everyone, not just autistic people. But in some people, the ingrained routines that make functional life possible are there for a reason, and when they break down, all hell breaks loose.
I’ve been living alone the past month. This suits me. I do best when I can relax and re-charge in my own space, and not have to worry about other people. I’ve been on the waitlist for a one-bedroom apartment for months, and hopefully it pops up soon. It comes down to the fact that I like having my own space.
I don’t get to choose my roommate. That’s one of the bad things about living in university housing. We are assigned roommates based on gender and their requested move-in date. Whenever there’s a spot to fill, they fill it. This leads to a roommate crapshoot that is even worse than freshman dorms. At least then they asked us questions like “early bird or night owl?” and “clean/moderately messy/slob” and attempted to match us up based on some simple living considerations.
My old roommate and I mostly got along. If you’ve ever heard or seen the musical “Wicked”, we were a bit like Galinda (her) and Elphaba (me), especially during the introduction to the song “loathing”. But as with Galinda and Elphaba, we learned to live with each other fairly quickly, and ended up making really compatible roommates. We’re both morning people, and we like to keep clean. She spent a lot of time out of the apartment, was clean, quiet, and we got along pretty well.
My new roommate is just barely 21, and is super excited that she is. She’s an extrovert, and full of energy, and doesn’t. ever. stop. talking. She’s sweet, don’t get me wrong, but I’m exhausted, and I’ve known her for 3 hours. She’s from China, and her English is pretty darn good, but definitely leads to some miscommunications already. She speaks better than she understands, which makes sense for such a talkative person, I guess. But anyway, it’s going to take some adjusting. It wouldn’t surprise me if she’s the party person. We’ll see how that goes with my crazy downstairs neighbors. I, at least, can just shut my door with the cat inside and call it quits.
We haven’t been able to sit down and do the “new roommate” things yet, like discuss whose side is whose in the fridge, and how we pay electricity and internet and stuff. I’m a little terrified to do it, but we need to have that conversation and figure out ground rules. It’s a little weird, since I’ve been living here for so long, and I’m all settled in. But I don’t want it to feel like she’s moving into “my” apartment. Even though basically she is. Anyway, my only major ground rules for roommate-hood are: don’t touch my stuff, don’t mess around with the cat or let him outside, lock the door behind you (she’s already failing at that), and keep the sink clean. And I’m not telling her I’m autistic just yet. I think it won’t go over well. We’ll see how this goes.
And now I’m off to take a nap. She’s exhausting! I know this will work itself out, it always does. But that doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted and stressed out by it.