I know, I know, I'm a huge wuss. You'd think I have some kind of aversion to adventure, but that's not true at all: I've climbed Mount Fuji in a monsoon, worn Hawaiian-print pants, and came out as asexual. I think that because I'm a writer, I can handle any weird situation that happens to me. You know, I can just use it later for material. However, I still want my home to be my relatively uneventful castle. Is that really so strange?
And this is the problem of living with strangers-- a problem that I think asexuals in the San Franciscos, Londons, and New York Cities of the world are especially likely to face. Maybe I'm just extrapolating my own situation to other people-- I tend to do that. But I really do think that asexuals, who are less likely to have live-in partners, are more likely to live in inadequate situations. When I lived by myself, this was the most unusual thing that happened: I came back from a trip to find that my friend who had been cat-sitting had left the hot water running in the bathroom, and every surface in the apartment was covered with condensation. I can't remember walking into any unexpected circumstances in my time living with friends. I usually just came home to people sitting around playing MarioKart. But when you live with strangers, you're never quite sure what will happen. You could come home to your housemates doing anything from building a spare room to growing marijuana in the garage to having their friends live in the house while they're on vacation. All that, plus sharing a cubicle with 5 people during the day, is just more than I can handle.
I feel like as a "young person", I should be able to take this all in stride. But saying I "should" do something doesn't change anything. You've probably heard of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs-- frankly, I'm tired of hearing of it. But from my recent experiences, I've been able to come up with my own hierarchy of living situations. Here it is, from best to worst:
- Living with people I know, whom I like, and who would be good housemates (similar neatness levels, schedules, etc).
- Living by myself.
- Living with people I know and like, but who may not be compatible in living styles.
- Living with people I know, but not well enough to know if I like them.
- Living with strangers.
- Living with people I know and don't like (I tend to think the devil you don't know is worth a shot).
I don't know why I value "living situations" so highly-- enough to make them a semi-regular topic on this blog. I wish I could just live anywhere, but apparently, I get extremely indignant if a place isn't up to my standards. While I can joke about crashing on the Velvet Undergrounds' manager's couch a la Jonathan Richman, I'd find doing that for more than about a week profoundly unsettling.
My current situation would be fine-- and not even worth mentioning-- if it had a forseeable end. But it doesn't. Even though the economy is in the outhouse, rents have stayed stubbornly astronomical here. This isn't just a personal problem or an asexual problem-- it's a social problem, especially in places like San Francisco. I've talked here before about how asexuals seem to have greater rates of mental illness. But mental illness, and stress-related illnesses, are on the rise for everyone. I think a lot of this could be ameliorated (woot, SAT word) if we just had a little more peace, quiet, and personal space. Sure, some of us have chemical imbalances in our brains. I am absolutely not making light of anyone's problems, especially when I've had them myself. But should we really be trying to adapt to a crazed world? According to the Stoics, the key to happiness is living life in accordance with nature. How I'm supposed to do this in such unnatural surroundings remains largely a mystery.