Lessons from my roommates

Besides being a whole ton of fun, living with people who aren’t my family is proving highly, well, educational. More than I would’ve expected, we’re encountering habits and customs that aren’t as universal as I thought. I don’t know which of us is the odd one in these instances; all I know is things I thought were a given apparently are not.

Here’s the rather amusing list, so far:

(I knew this one was weird, but) Carrots and peanut butter. My family’s been enjoying this snack as long as I can remember, and I’m still waiting to encounter someone who doesn’t think it’s weird.

“Toad in a hole.” “Spit in the eye.” “Egg in the harbor.” I don’t know what the original name for this breakfast favorite was, but we all call it something different. You probably know what I’m talking about: Make a hole in a slice of bread, butter both sides, fry an egg in the middle. Yeah, everybody loves it, but nobody knows what to call it.

Sweeping vs vacuuming. I’ve never swept the floor in my life. In my experience, wood, tile and carpet are all best treated with the vacuum. But, I know now, other people believe in sweeping those surfaces.

Bread in the freezer. I thought that’s where everybody stored their bread, but no. I definitely got some questions about that one after I stuck the loaf I brought in the colder side of the appliance.

Chocolate chips in the freezer. I don’t do this, but one of my roommates does. Apparently that’s the norm with her family, but it never would’ve occurred to me. However, it makes sense: we don’t ever have to worry about our chocolate accidentally melting.

Showering with the fan. I was taught this was a must to prevent foggy mirrors and peeling wallpaper, but my roommates were confused as to what smell I thought I needed to get rid of. I guess a hot bathroom really isn’t a problem.

Bath mats. I believe these go on the floor outside the tub for you to step out onto. They believe you put a fuzzy rug there and what I call a “bath mat” is just a lousy towel. We had quite the lively debate on this topic. The rug won.

Pancakes. I guess I assumed everyone makes them with the same ingredients (adding chocolate chips, blueberries, etc., as they desire), but, oh, how wrong I was. Turns out there are lots of different things you can throw in there, and they don’t always include Bisquick. My mom just stuck to what was simple and worked for us.

What goes in the dishwasher. I realize now I was implicitly taught that things you eat on/with go in the dishwasher, and things you cook with get washed by hand. I suppose there’s no reason a measuring cup or spatula shouldn’t go in the dishwasher, but to me it seems so out of place there.

How long food lasts. I learned this one this summer, too, but apparently other people actually follow the dates on their food. I was brought up with the notion that unless it’s clearly spoiled or going to make you sick, there’s no reason to waste it. Turns out, everyone else is not so cavalier about their edibles.

That’s just after the first month. I’m sure the eye-openers will keep coming.

  1. I don’t understand the bread thing…what do you do when you want to eat a sandwich? Put it in the microwave? Seems like it doesn’t do too much good to put it in the freezer. Maybe put it in the toaster? I don’t know. I agree about the dishwasher thing though, putting pots and pans in there just seems weird.

    And carrots and peanut butter doesn’t seem that strange to me, haha

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