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May 13, 2013 | by  | in Features |
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AnecDOtes and AnecDONTes

Everyone has flatting stories. Some of them are good, some of them are bad, but most of us have moments we did not enjoy. It’s a natural response. The pressure of essays, deadlines and readings can cause us to get all moody to the point where one unwashed chopping board sets us off. After flatting for a couple of years I have gained a few insights which are as follows:

On decision-making…

Recently, while on a flat trip to the supermarket, my flatmate and I were looking at air fresheners. While initially excited at his selection of “Hawaiian Breeze”, I was soon attracted to the bright pink allure of “Suddenly Spring”. Aisle seven of Pak’n Save Kilbirnie was instantaneously transformed into a battleground, with both of us asserting the benefits of our respective fragrances. “ON A COLD WINTER’S DAY I WANT MY NOSE TO BE TAKEN ON A ONE-WAY TRIP TO AN ISLAND PARADISE,” was his opening salvo. “BUT NOTHING SHOUTS FRESHNESS MORE THAN SPRINGTIME,” I retorted, reluctant to relent. Eventually we settled on “Hawaiian Breeze” but a part of me still longs for springtime.

The moral of this story is: it’s important that you make every decision collectively and calmly. Whether it is deciding which air freshener to buy or which flat to take in the first place, a flat is not a dictatorship, so don’t turn it into one. Because all dictators end up being beheaded or paraded through the streets naked being stabbed with kitchen knives (see Libya).

On music and noise…

Decision-making is a nice segue into the second anecdote: noise. In the halls I was subjected to a barrage of the ‘wub-wub-wub-wub’ drone that people call ‘dubstep’. My feelings on dubstep aside, use some fucking headphones. Serious. If I wanted to hear the latest Skrillex release I would go down to BurgerFuel on a Saturday night. Luckily, my flatmates have been pretty courteous and have never reached the dizzying heights of aural obnoxiousness that was achieved in first-year.

The moral here is (as with most flatting rules) be aware. If one of your flatmates has a test at 8 am, maybe don’t blast Béyonce’s ‘Love on Top’ at midnight, regardless of how good the song is (and it is fucking good). The only exceptions to this rule are S Club 7 or 5ive. These two bands are always appropriate. Always.

Also, extreme sex noise is totally not okay. We assume you are enjoying it. We do not need a play-by-play breakdown while we are in the lounge trying to watch Parks and Recreation. Leslie Knope’s political witticisms have significantly less impact on my disposition when they are interrupted by such audible euphoria.

On successful cohabitation…

You know that hallway in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory that gets smaller and smaller, leaving a youthful Gene Wilder to bend his slender frame to get through the doorway? Give or take a few inches, this is the approximate size of our kitchen. As a result there are often ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ (GET IT?!) Bad dad jokes aside; the only way to deal with this is communication. Talk it out. Have one or two people in charge of cooking, and if you don’t cook together, maybe cook at different times. Hungry mouths are often the spark that ignites the flame and before you know it you are spewing out every single thing that has mildly annoyed you, from not doing your dishes to losing clothesline pegs.

On keeping your shit tidy…

Just don’t be dicks. If you make a mess, clean it up. I may have the tenderness of a mother but I have none of the patience. I should put that on a shirt. You know those shirts that women in their 40s wear? Like “If there are free shoes, sign me up!” or “I can go from nice to bitch in 0.6 seconds”. Fuck those shirts man. I kind of got off track here but you get the idea. Clean your shit.

Flatting is a big learning curve. You’re living in close quarters with people who might do things differently. For example, my favourite meal is steak (just meat, not an actual steak dinner) yet a couple of my flatmates hardly ever eat meat. You have to embrace your differences, accept the legitimacy of tofu as an acceptable meat substitute (for some), and move on.

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