The Orion

Communication is key to communal living

Miles Inserra

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Illustration by Miles Huffman

I came to Chico State nearly three years ago with Trevor Fong, one of my closest friends from high school. We have now lived together for almost two years and our relationship has thrived.

Trev and I didn’t bunk together in the dorms.

I spent my first two semesters on the second floor of Shasta Hall while he lived in Esken Hall on the north end of campus.

That living situation was fundamental in the growth of our friendship. We could spend as much or as little time together as we desired. Quarrels remained sparse.

As Trev and I grew tighter throughout the year, we decided living together post dorm life was a compelling idea.

Sophomore year we shared a house. We shared a kitchen. We shared a bathroom. We also shared the oh-so-demanding hardships that go into maintaining those spaces.

Our first month in the same house is best described as the honeymoon phase.

We bought groceries together and cooked meals together. We ended each night watching Game of Thrones while we got high off the simple thought of living in our own pad.

But piles of dishes became catalysts for quarrels. Quarrels escalated to feuds and feuds became commonplace.

Halfway through the semester, I found myself cooking and cleaning for both of us. Trev was content with an XBOX controller in one hand and a doobie in the other, so long as the house remained pristine.

I might have joined him, were my hands not already full of pots.

Instead, I patiently waited for Trev’s bedtime to slap his walls with my subwoofer.

Trev threatened to move out after one semester because of the magnitude of our drama. He had the paperwork; all he needed was a signature.

Had we not talked it out, Trev would have moved out.

The root of our disputes was daily household duties. Such disputations seem significant to college students because they are relevant to the college lifestyle. But these disputes are trivial, and our friendship would not die in the kitchen.

Communication salvaged that disagreement.

I reacted to another petty fight by giving Trev the silent treatment for a week. It was childish, but I was passionately invested in my side of the argument — whatever my argument was.

Trev ended that squabble, submitting himself to me in my room where I had the home-court advantage. I had to respect it. He did what I couldn’t do — sucked up his pride for the sake of our friendship and apologized.

Communication salvaged that disagreement.

That first year living off campus our friendship strengthened with the resolution of each dispute. Fights occurred fewer and father apart.

In our second year as roommates, fights are nearly nonexistent.

At times, Trev may antagonize and anger me like only my brothers do, but he’s also my best friend, my support system and the closest thing I have to family in Chico.

Roommates are like family and family members fight. Expect it and correct it.

Communication is the key.

Miles Inserra can be reached at [email protected] or @m_inserra on Twitter.

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