On the Job

14 Reasons to Find a New Roommate on Board

11 August 2023 By Gavin Rothenburger
illustration of people arguing and miscommunication
iStock/Yutthana Gaetgeaw

Gavin Rothenburger has been the author of Dockwalk’s humor column Last Laugh since 2008. For questions, concerns, or for general badmouthing, you can write to me at gavinrothenburger@yahoo.com.

We’ve all shared or share cabins. It’s just part of what we do. Never mind that there are six empty bedrooms, each of them bigger than the entirety of the crew’s quarters. Them’s for the fancy people. Our roomies are just something we have to live with. But how do we know when they’re not pulling their weight or are, straight up, taking advantage of us? A few thoughts:

1. They tell you that the mold they refuse to clean out of the shower when it’s their turn is part of a scientific experiment designed to replace penicillin and you’re a horrible person for disbelieving science.

2. They want to high five you on each rare occasion that they actually hit the toilet but, despite having explained over and over, they just don’t get that they should wash their hands first.

iStock/Mykyta Dolmatov

3. When you wake up in the middle of the night and find them standing by the door just staring at you while biting into an unpeeled pineapple. Or any fruit really. Actually, eating anything or not. Just the staring’s enough. Be terrified.

4. When they insist on having the top bunk because they sometimes wet the bed and they don’t want it to seep into the bottom bunk storage. Or just if they wet the bed.

5. When you argue constantly about how many sexual partners is an appropriate number to invite into the room at any point while you’re sleeping.

6. If, for any reason at all, they ask you for your toenail clippings.

7. When you move into a new cabin and, to your horror, discover that what you took to be a shag carpet on the head floor is in actuality just a year’s worth of beard trimmings.

iStock: Julia Galuzinskaya

8. If they’re anything like you. How could you be expected to bunk with someone like that?

9. If you share a cabin because when you joined, you were a couple. And now you’re not. You may think you’re mature enough to handle this. You’re not. You can’t.

10. Projectile vomiting any more than once. Even once you may want to think about it. There’s really nothing funny about projectile vomiting.

11. If they’re a little vertically challenged and use this as an excuse to step on your head on the way to the top bunk. Also, if they step on your head for any reason at all. You’re a good person. Nobody should step on your head. Except Chris Hemsworth. He can step anywhere he likes. He’s Thor, for God sake.

12. If they’re depraved. This is vague but there are so many depraved people in the world who are depraved for so many different reasons. They can have their own cabins and leave you to your spider collection.

iStock/A Mokhtari

13. If they have the gall to want to read while you’re watching TV. The sound of those snooty pages turning as they romp around in their ivory tower looking down on the common person with all that book learning really disturbs how you enjoy your 90 Day Fiancé binge.

14. If they’ve tried to murder you. You really shouldn’t let that slide. Even if they apologize and blame it on the mushrooms. Okay. Well … if it was sincere, then I guess it’s alright. Just let them know you’ll be really upset if they try it again.

Personality dynamics can make for great or not so great living arrangements when we’re already in tight quarters. But sometimes people cross the line and you either compromise and go with seven or you take a stand and set a three-partner limit while you’re sleeping.


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