I have had excellent luck with roommates.
When I attended Boys State in 1985, the participants were housed in dorm rooms in a college. Upon arrival at my dorm, the boy who I was to room with walked into our room, introduced himself, and then said he was going to spend the week in another dorm because his cousin there. Then he left. For the week I was there, I had a whole room to myself.
The person I was randomly assigned to share a room during my attendance at the National High School Institute (also summer, 1985) turned out to be such a cool guy that we would be roommates for three out of our four years together at college and we would further go on to share two and a half months in a car on our road quest to see a baseball game in every Major League stadium.
My last roommate was so fantastically awesome that I married her.
However, my record is not perfect.
This is my story.
In sixth grade, at the elementary school I attended, they had a weekend program called Outdoor Education. Students were bussed out to a campground deep in the Southern California chaparral so that they could learn all about the wilderness, the outdoors, trees, stars, poisonous plants, scat, and all manner of other natural things suburban kids never encounter willingly.
My randomly assigned cabinmates were two boys who I knew, but I would not say I was friendly with. Our first night, Friday, went okay, but not well. They liked to talk and chat and gossip and talk and….you get the idea…until well into the night. I wanted to sleep, but did not say anything that first night thinking that it was an aberration.
Saturday night saw more of the same as they chattered away. I did not think it was possible for two people to have so much to talk about, but they did. I was tired from the lack of sleep the previous night and from the day’s excursion out among the nature thing, so I really wanted to sleep. This time, I did ask them to keep it down and they did for all of about five minutes and then they were back to yapping away. Another request by me was met with the same indifference and I did the best I could to rest with their buzzing in my ears.
Sunday night was more and more of the same and I lost it. After my third request for them to please be quiet was ignored, I snapped. I hopped out of my bottom bunk bed and grabbed the first thing that I could that was on the floor next to me. I was going to show them how serious I was about trying to grab some shut-eye that I threw what was in my hand at the wall next to them.
This is what being sleep deprived will do to you.
I had actually grabbed one of my favorite hand-held games. This was the game that I had brought with me so it would keep me occupied on the long bus ride up. It was also going to see me through tomorrow’s bus ride back. Except it wasn’t anymore.
I threw my game past the motor mouths and it shattered against the wall behind them.
They stopped talking for a moment. They laughed. They went back to wagging their tongues.
I left the pieces of my game on the floor to be picked up the next day. I crawled back into my sleeping bag. I tried to sleep. I failed.
I learned a few things that weekend about yucca plants and firebreaks. I learned some new songs around the campfire also.
I also learned what giving into your anger can do.
That’s my story.
P.S. As for other moments when my anger ran away from me…well, those are stories for another day.