Pig Pen

Exactitude creeps into our lives at different times and places, depending on our personality. Some have refrigerators in which everything is carefully marked with the date made; no Science Fair experiments in there. Others have elaborate methods for organizing tools.

Then there are the organizationally impaired.

Before I married, I had two roommates. One was a neat freak- a place for everything and everything in its place. My other roommate – If you remember Pig Pen from the comic strip, that was him. You might have to tunnel through debris to get to the entry of his room. His clothing storage method was by black plastic garbage bag: one for clean, one for maybe, and one for dirty. As a result, he looked perpetually rumpled.
There was a weird balance between the two. One straightened up; the other made messes. I tried to stay neutral and avoided common areas of the house except for necessary activities. Then we all became involved with girlfriends.
Pig Pen had issues retaining girlfriends; few were interested in the caretaking level involved in a long-term relationship with him.
My girlfriend and my other roommates’ made a brave effort to keep the house clean for a few months before mutually deciding it was a lost cause. One night Pig Pen finished boiling up a nasty greasy mess of something. He then upended the dirty pot on the clean dishes the women had just washed. Separate sets of dishes and cookware appeared in our rooms after that, and the household’s delicate balance was lost.
The end came when Pig Pen found someone compatible. No, she did not clean up after him. Rather than complimenting his behaviors, she supplemented them. From the outside, it might appear hilarious, and in retrospect, it is. But, it drove the rest of us out of the house into homes of our own.
More recently, we found out that my former roommate had emerged from counseling for hoarding and was now offering his services for Marie Kondo-style house cleaning. On the brochure was a photo of his former girlfriend, now wife, and he looking rumpled in front of the old house we all used to occupy. On the back was a personal note: “We’d love to renew our friendship! Call us now for a Family and Friends discount!”
My wife and I are wondering how fast we can move out of state.

4 Replies to “Pig Pen”

  1. Oof, living with Pig Pen must have been rough, especially when the clean one got mad!

    I was so hoping for a Pig Pen cipher to solve when I read the title. Oh, well great story anyway. Cheers, Lou!

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