Kimmy Gibbler, Full House
You meet Kimmy Gibbler via Craigslist after relocating to a new city. Your friends told you subletting was the way to go, at least until you became acquainted with your new town, and you believed them. After emailing with Kimmy for a week or two, you discover you have tons in common, like pizza and Greek men. You’re kind of desperate, so you take a leap of faith and agree to rent Gibbler’s spare room for three-to-six months. On move-in day, you’re confronted by the reality of your new situation: there are worn socks strewn about the apartment. Gym socks. Ankle socks. Tube socks. Knee socks. Argyle socks. Socks embroidered with flying pigs and arrow-shooting cupids. All of them dirty. You imagine Kimmy curling up on the couch and wordlessly working the socks off of her feet using nothing but her toes and it takes every ounce of sinew you have to keep from vomiting on the hardwood floors. You move all of your belongings into your bedroom and head to a local bar to consider/ drink off what you’ve just discovered. When you return home, Kimmy is sprawled out on the couch, barefoot and eating Chinese food. “Hi roomaterino,” she offers her hand, “I’m just eating some grub before my babysitting gig, sit down!” She wildly waves a half-eaten egg roll in her hand for emphasis. “I’m actually exhausted, I’m gonna lay down, I think,” you say, edging toward your bedroom. “Suit yourself. Hey, wanna drive me to my babysitting job? I have a car, but my license is suspended. DUI.” This scene replays itself every night for a month until a friend visits you at home and, upon discovering you most certainly are not exaggerating about the Chinese food/ foot odor conundrum, offers you his couch until you can figure things out.
Topanga Lawrence, Boy Meets World
Topanga Lawrence is your boyfriend’s cousin. You’ve smoked pot together a few times, but your interactions have been limited to weddings and children’s birthday parties up until this point. When her roommate moves out of her rent-controlled apartment and to India to study Hindi, your boyfriend (who’s sick of paying for everything because you’re “broke” and “in a weird financial place”) suggests you move in with Topanga. Despite being seemingly indifferent to your presence, your boyfriend insists that’s just “the way she is” and that she wouldn’t have agreed to let you move in if she weren’t cool with it. Topanga is obsessed with keeping the apartment clean, but the place is too old to actually benefit from her compulsive tidying. A littering of headshop tapestries and oriental carpets don’t help her cause. She has two cats who she refers to as her children. One of them is severely obese. They both wear bells around their necks and track litter all over the house. Topanga warms to you once she notices you unpacking an extensive candle collection, and she invites you to keep them in the living room, “next to mine.” Topanga never seems to work or leave the house, except for once a week when she heads to the Farmers Market with her signature reusable tote bag. She always invites you, even though you never take her up on it. The two of you take to naming your glass pieces and having intellectual conversations about which one you’d like to smoke out of and why. You take turns buying incense and cat litter. When your boyfriend proposes to you years later, you try to convince him to move into the rent-controlled apartment with the two of you. He refuses, and you consider rescinding your acceptance of his proposal briefly, suggesting the two of you take a break. Topanga is touched by your loyalty, but insists that she and the cats will be fine should you choose to move out. You eventually move in to your fiance’s apartment, where incense is banned because it “makes my head hurt.” Topanga converts your bedroom into a guest room and allows you to keep a spare key, “just in case.”
Clarissa Darling, Clarissa Explains It All
You meet Clarissa Darling at your new job — she’s a coworker — and quickly form a pretty intense/ giddy friendship of the type that unintentionally excludes others’ because of all the furtive glances and inside jokes involved. This naturally leads to moving in together — both of you displaying and earnestly experiencing some extreme feelings of solidarity, adventure, etc. on the day you sign the lease. It soon becomes complicated. Clarissa’s the type to take a hard line on certain stuff, and her logic is sometimes tough to figure out. For example, she demands the bigger room and argues, strangely, that she shouldn’t have to pay more. “I need the bigger room because I have a TV and a really big dresser,” she explains. “Ok,” you respond, “but you should pay more then. This is common sense.” “I don’t think so,” she says. And that’s that. And she gets the bigger room and refuses to pay more for it. Her nitpickyness begins to astound you. One night, you’re on your laptop, in your room, and you’re having a cup of tea. She’s in her room. “hey,” she Gmail chats you. “can you stop setting your mug down like that?” “what?” you write. “it’s like this constant clinking sound, I can hear it in here,” she writes. “uh,” you write. “i mean it really isn’t that much to ask,” she says. Well, yeah, she has a good point, you think. It isn’t much to ask. But… jesus. Over the course of the next few months similarly-themed events occur at such a frequency that their build-up culminates, one day (as if a switch had simply been flipped) in a very strong feeling of silent, mutual contempt for one another. Eye contact occurs only infrequently now and the amount of passive aggressive notes left on the kitchen table skyrockets. You soon find yourself actively avoiding the apartment when you know she’ll be there. This is unsustainable. The situation reaches its climax on a rare night in which the both of you are at home and drunk. Friendly banter becomes rhetorical passive aggression, which in turn morphs into Clarissa crying and saying that she’s having major “personal issues” and that she’s just going to move out. The next day you have work and when you get home the first thing you notice is that all her stuff is gone. The second thing you notice is that a substantial amount of your things are gone. “Damn it…” you think, shaking your head.
Zack Morris, Saved By The Bell
You end up Zack Morris’ roommate via a series of unfortunate coincidences in which you are forced into moving out of your previous residence quickly, leaving you homeless if not for the fact that your friend’s friend’s friend knows someone renting out his oversized storage closet — with no doors, that one must walk through to get to the kitchen — who just happens to be Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell. Initially, Zack flexes his charisma, offering you help moving, but 15 minutes into it he checks his watch, flashes a grin and tells you, “Sorry bro,” but he has an appointment to make. Upon a more detailed inspection of your new digs, you find in the refrigerator a gallon milk jug containing a troubling, separated mixture of yellow and white liquid, a number of mustard packets and a bag of leftovers from Burger King. The sink, countertops, and stove are a mess of rotting food and dirty dishes, and you detect a scent that elicits immediate pre-language feelings of anxiety and repulsion emanating from one of the kitchen cabinets. Over the course of the next three months, it becomes apparent that Zack is either completely ambiguous to or harbors a vague disdain for your presence. You come to think of him as a Bad Person. You frequently hear him the living room, the TV at an impossibly high volume, smoking pot from the large glass bong that never leaves the coffee table with his two stoner friends who never seem to leave. The coffee table itself is a mess of ashtrays, half smoked joints, empty bottles of Bud Light lime, and Zack’s spit container (he chews tobacco), which is currently an old 64 oz. Big Gulp. Weeknights he has very loud get-togethers with the same four people — or the same four types of people, it’s difficult for you to keep track — and one night you hear one of them say “Shouldn’t we be quiet, isn’t your roommate trying to sleep in there?” “Him? He doesn’t matter,” Zack responds. There are several instances in which you hear him having sex and employing the most cliche, totally lame dirty talk lines, and on one of these occasions you realize that you hate Zack Morris. God damn him,” you think. After several more weeks of Bud Light Lime-drinking weed parties and the constant noise that is cable television, you tell him you’re moving out. He shrugs, grins, and says “You gotta do what you gotta do, bro.”