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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Death of a Roommate (Part I)

The other day I asked a question: "I cannot remember what I have been doing for the past hour since arriving at work - is this a problem?" The definite answer to this question is yes - it is a problem, especially in light of the fact that I can usually finish an entire day of work and have no memory of what I've done.

Well, in relation to this, I am currently searching for a new roommate, and the enjoyment and intellectual stimulation I've experienced in this process amounts to a sum infinitely larger than the enjoyment and intellectual stimulation I get from my job.

I live in a 4 bedroom apartment in a rather desirable neighborhood of Manhattan. The apartment is owned by a man who resides elsewhere, and he has basically left the management of said apartment to its occupants. As I am currently the senior resident of the apartment, I have pretty much taken on the sole responsibility of paying the bills, finding new tenants, and dealing with other issues that come up (for instance, recently a woman living in the apartment below mine - who says both she and her mother recently had "brain surgery" - complained to the super that there have been loud noises coming from above at all hours of the night and wanted the situation rectified. This is rather difficult when you are quite sure neither you nor your roommates have every done anything that would cause loud noises in the middle of the night.)

Anyway, to return to the matter at hand, this Tuesday I posted an ad on Craigslist about the room. Many people have visited, and it's been quite interesting meeting lots of people and being in a position to negotiate, think strategically about a situation, and see something through to its completion.

Because I am very cool and also quite good-looking, there are 5 (as of a minute ago, make that 6) people who have already e-mailed me stating their desire to move in. Since I am the only person in the apartment who met these people and no one else is really involved in the search, I am basically able to make the decision on my own, although I clearly talk to my roommates to run things by them, give impressions, etc. However, if I really wanted to, I could offer the apartment to any person I want without the advice and consent of my roommates.

Out of all the people who showed interest, there were 2 people who I thought were the best fit. One, "M," is a man in his early 20s, seems very cool and if I had to guess, I would say enjoys Star Wars. The issue with him is that he likely only wants to stay for 3 months, which obviously means in 3 months we need to find someone new. The other potential roommate, "F," is mid-20s, female, also seems cool, and is longer-term. On the downside, it seems she needs to get ready around the same time that me and one other roommate get ready, which could lead to bathroom-traffic issues.

I talked to one of my roommates (the other was MIA) and discussed matters with him. He was interested in the female roommate because he likes having one roommate of the opposite sex while still maintaining a "favorable balance of power." He also felt like a female is more likely to want to clean (his thoughts, not mine). In addition, he was not interested in having to find a new roommate in 3 months, although, to be honest, he hasn't done anything to actually find the current roommate. But still, I can understand not necessarily wanting to have to acclimate to a new individual and dynamic more than necessary. Furthermore, even though historically we have always been able to find new roommates, past performance is not an indicator of future results, and therefore the economically sound choice was to go with the person who would be paying rent longer.

I sent an e-mail to M saying that we needed to go with the longer-term individual. M wrote a nice e-mail back saying he understood, but, in his eagerness to obtain occupancy, was willing to pay $45 dollars more per month than the asking price.

Ah, the plot thickens.

This is where things become really interesting, because I was faced with a situation that could benefit me quite well. 45 times 3 (for the 3 months he would be staying) is $135. You know, I've been interested in buying a watch as of late, and $135 would most likely cover all, if not more, than the cost of any watch I would be interested in purchasing. Two possibilities went through my mind...

- Tell my roommates that F declined the offer so I ended up offering the place to M, while failing to mention the extra $45 a month and keeping it for myself. One potential issue is that if M ever told the other roommates about the arrangement, I could come under some serious heat for keeping the extra money all for myself. However, in the end, there is really nothing my other roommates could do about it except hate me, which I am quite used to anyway.
-Tell my roommates about the situation, and, if amenable, we could simply offer the apartment to M and each person could pocket $45. This would build trust (which I could later use to my advantage). Also, this would prevent the prior situation in which I go it alone and then face retaliation if my covert actions were discovered.

What did I do? Tune in next week to find out...