Illustrated by Zhang Qingyun.
We all harbor eccentricities, especially when it comes to how we conduct ourselves in the privacy of our own homes. Some of us need to leave every light on when we go to bed (to ward off would-be attackers, natch). Some of us prefer to eat every meal standing up in the kitchen. And, some of us require our roommates to pay a $25 fine in exchange for cooking...quinoa?!
We were recently alerted to a roommate posting by someone who will remain anonymous. We don't want to exaggerate, but this is single-handedly the craziest thing we have read. It went down like this: A friend of an R29er inquired about an open room, and received a ten-page "House Rules" contract to be signed before move-in. "That doesn't sound so bad," you're probably thinking. "There are a lot of crazies out there, and nobody wants to let a hoarder or serial killer move into their apartment." Well, just wait.
Among the completely normal, everyday occurrences that are banned from this pristine "library-setting" apartment occupied by medical scientists "writing at least two books" are: Using the buzzer; turning on the hall lights between 10:00 p.m. and 9:30 a.m.; adding or removing furniture in your own bedroom; hosting guests in your bedroom at any time; and, of course, cooking quinoa or eating kimchi. For your viewing pleasure, we've included our favorite clauses from the listing. Thank your lucky stars that these are not your roommates, and feel a whole lot better about your own level of neuroticism.
"I will not cook with or make Kim Chi [sic], sausage, bacon, heavy seafood, red sauce, nor will I bring into the apartment or use oil or quinoa. Should I cook with any of these items, I will pay the $25 per occurrence charge for someone else to clean up after me or remove the item from the apartment. Please see section on protecting all surfaces. No notice will be given, charges are not disputable, and eviction will occur if repeated."
"When the paper towel roll in the kitchen is low (1/3 left or more – NOT less), I will replace it. I will not leave a meager supply for the next housemate to perform the change."
"I will put dishes away after first washing my hands and scrubbing my nail beds and before washing new dishes and placing them in the drainer."
"I will not interrupt other housemates when they are having a conversation about house business or lease-related items, nor will I enter their conversation, rather I will respect their privacy."
"I will not use cuss words, inappropriate language or gestures, or discuss topics (even in jest)."
I will not have mail sent to me in a business name. I will only have personal mail sent to me and will not sign up myself or any other person for a mailing list. Prior to having any mail sent to the apartment, all selections necessary to opt out and be removed from mailings must be requested. Junk mail is not tolerated and I understand that I will be charged if not immediately mitigated."
"If I clip my nails in the apartment, I will do so over a trash can placed on a towel and ensure that all clippings are thrown away, not on the floor and that in some way, muffle the sound so as not to distract others."
"I will close my bedroom door when egressing to avoid noise (e.g. music) and smells (personal odor, uncleaned linens, laundry, dust, etc.) will not impact the rest of the apartment."
"Do any and all methods to ensure that our house buzzer is not used. If you desire a delivery order: food, packages, whatever, it is only allowed if you make sure that the deliverer does not ring the buzzer."
"The housemate occupying the back room can indicate when he/she is sleeping by posting one or more signs and turning on the night light."