Over the past half-decade, I’ve lived in five different apartments with 4, 5, 5, 3, and 5 people respectively. I’ve noticed that especially when it comes to apartments of four people or more, an “elusive” roommate will tend to emerge; one who is rarely ever around, and thus develops a unique aura presence predicated primarily on his or her lack of actual presence.
Having experienced both sides of this elusiveness coin, I’ve come to the conclusion that being the mysterious roommate is almost always a good call. Here are a few theories as to why, in internet-friendly-form:
1. By not really being around and available, you inevitably don’t reveal much information about yourself. And as the laws of living with other people clearly state: if you’re not here sitting on the couch watching reruns of of Friends, you must be doing something really cool.
2. You exist on the fringes of apartment politics, meaning that you’re not even informed enough to take a side on the current spat. Your ignorance breeds wonderful diplomacy.
3. By having less conversations with your roommates, the conversations you do have are always more informative and meaningful, as they take on the vibe of two friends catching up.
4. Everyone else has long since stopped asking where you’re going. Huge.
5. Any random contribution you make to the house is viewed on a higher plane. He just like, bought all those chairs for the outside? Wow, that was like…really nice.
6. Even if you did make that mess in the kitchen, no one ever suspects you of making that mess in the kitchen.
7. You’re probably not the one that has to deal with your cable bill.
8. On house-wide emails, you are in the best position to talk around the issue with a completely counter-intuitive joke, and not receive any flack for it. Expectations for you actually doing anything are wonderfully low.
9. You’re probably not the one hogging the TV, which automatically moves you up in everybody else’s roommate power rankings.
10. If your elusiveness is primarily a result of you having odd work hours, you get a lot more time in the apartment alone. Which gives you the unbridled opportunity to regularly act like Borat:
11. You are much less likely to be pinned down to help out with some terrible favor.
12. You’ll probably be the person everyone else confides in when they’re pissed off, thus enabling you to slowly accumulate a bevy of information about the apartment as a whole; indirectly making you the Lord Varys of 14 Franklin Street.
13. It’s viewed as a “bigger deal” when you make an appearances at social events attended by the rest of your roommates.
14. You’re much less likely to get trapped in the clear hell that is one of your roommates showing you “hilarious” YouTube videos for 45 minutes straight.
15. You’re always gonna be the swing vote. Swing votes have an uncanny knack for racking up free drinks.