Monday, February 17, 2014

Baltimore: Finding a Roommate

Submitted By: MB Nebel
Department/Affiliation: Kennedy Krieger Institute

I’ve lived in Baltimore for a little over three years, but for various reasons, this past month I found myself in search of a new place to live. When I first moved to Baltimore from North Carolina, I contacted a bunch of people looking for roommates on Craigslist and eventually found a great row house (and a great roommate) in Federal Hill. My original Bmore roommate also gave me a really helpful piece of advice for picking a neighborhood: you don’t want to live on a deserted street. If people are outside walking around, it’s because they feel safe doing so. There are always people out and about in Federal Hill; it’s not the most convenient neighborhood as far as getting to and from the East Baltimore campus is concerned, but my schedule is pretty flexible, and I wouldn’t trade riding the (free and always on-time) Harbor Connector to work everyday for anything. 

Anyway, this past Friday on my way home from work, I went to check out another apartment and to meet a potential roommate. We’ll call the person looking for a new roommate “Amy.” She’s a young professional whose job requires her to be away from Baltimore three weeks out of every month. Her current roommate, “Michele” is an undergrad and is about to graduate. When I arrived at the apartment, both Amy and Michele were in the kitchen. Amy proceeded to ask Michele if it was okay if she showed me her bedroom. Michele asked for us to wait just a minute while she went in first to tidy up a bit. Michele was only in her room for 2 minutes at most, and when she came back into the living room, she asked me to pardon the mess in her room, as she was getting ready to bring a bunch of stuff home. I told her not to worry about it, and I walked into her room; it wasn't any messier than mine. 

While I was trying to figure out which direction her window faced, I started to open one of her closet doors. After safety, closet size is probably my next biggest concern. Initially only seeing the inside of the closet in my peripheral vision, I thought to myself "Does she have a mannequin in her closet?" And then it moved! And I realized it wasn't a mannequin; it was a guy hiding in her closet! I took a little step back and let out a quiet "oh" as the man hiding in the closet raised his finger to his mouth to indicate to me to be quiet. Amy hadn’t followed me into the room; she was standing in the doorway, and luckily, my face was blocked from her view by the now-open closet door. I quickly closed the door and went back into the living room struggling to think of anything to say other than "There's a man hiding in your roommate's closet." Amy took me on a tour of the rest of the apartment building - the patio on the 9th floor and the gym on the first floor and whatnot - and the whole time, all I wanted to do was tell someone/anyone/everyone that I just found a guy hiding in a closet because that just happened! It was not a dream or a figment of my imagination. Should I have told Amy? Did Michele know? I’m assuming that’s the real reason Michele went into the bedroom before me, but who was he and why did she tell him to hide in the closet? If it was some sort of roommate test, I guess I failed. Oh well. I’ll just add “men hiding in the closet” to my list of apartment deal-breakers.

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