Having the roommate that I have has been very enlightening. She and I are so VERY different, and those differences have caused me to reflect on the way I'm wired and my upbringing and the effects these things have had in my life.
I've blogged already about sorters and stuffers. My movie-going friend in the post is now my roomie, and I addressed the issue again in this post as it relates to the kitchen.
My roommate goes to bed early because she has to get up way before dawn to go to work. She even gets up early on weekends. I don't get that, but she says it's because she's had to have this schedule for so long it's part of her nature now.
On the other hand, I like to stay up late and love to sleep in in the morning. I don't get to sleep in on weekdays, and I've had this schedule forever too, but it hasn't made me wake up early on my own. In high school I used to stay up reading until 2:00 or 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, especially in the summer, so I believe night-owlness is hard-wired. It's certainly not anything my parents encouraged me to do!
This early bird/night owl difference works for my roommate and me, though, because we almost never need the shower at the same time.
Another difference is our learning styles, although I think "learning styles" is a misnomer, because even when we're not learning, we still use our styles. I mentioned before that I'm visual and auditory, but that post was about the auditory side. Here at home, it's the visual side that comes out.
My roommate is NOT visual. Oh sure, she has her sense of vision, but she doesn't seem to see much. I notice the difference between us the most in the kitchen. My roomie leaves doors open. I've told her that sometimes I feel like Vanna White as I go through the kitchen reaching up and then down to shut cabinet doors and drawers. There have been some mornings after she's left for work and I get up before dark, that I've found a faint glow of light coming from the kitchen. It means she left the microwave door open again.
I find it entertaining. One day I even counted the open items I shut: 6. I reported that number to her. And yet I'm sure that she can't begin to understand why I would even care about doors being left open and food items out of order and pictures that aren't straight. Those things aren't important at all. It's just that I feel peace when things are in order, and I feel stressed at the sight of chaos.
Another thing I've realized is how much of what I do is because I hear my mom's voice in my head. Washing dishes by hand is one of those times.
My roommate likes to wash dishes by hand. I don't get that. When I moved in, her diswasher was broken and had been for some time. If it had been my house, I would have had a repairman over in a heartbeat or had a new dishwasher installed yesterday. Not her, but with two people's dishes to wash, she finally decided that a functional dishwasher was a good idea. Hallelujah!
But there are some items that still need to be washed by hand. The stainless steel frying pans are that way, and because I have a fried egg as part of my breakfast every day, I wash that pan almost daily (sometimes my roomie gets to it first). I've discovered myself doing that finger motion my mother instilled in me when I was a girl having to take turns doing dishes with my sister. My mom would run her fingers around the "clean" dishes and pans, and if she found any residual food that I'd missed, back it went into the dish water for me to do it RIGHT this time.
I mentioned to my roommate about remembering my mom's dishwashing demands, and she said when her mother found food stuck to the clean dishes, her mom would empty the cupboards of every pot, pan, plate, and cup and make her wash everything. Starting when my roommate was 7. Yikes!
When I look at what my roommate suffered as a child at the hands of various family members (this is just the tip of the iceberg), and when I look at the wonderful woman she is now, I am amazed. God has done an incredible work in her.
I am a visual, purse-sorting night owl, and she is a non-visual, purse-stuffing, warm, generous early bird. We get along just fine, and I am truly proud to call her friend.