Human Traffic – Flat Mates

Several people from all walks of life are thrown together in close quarters with one bathroom, one kitchen and a personal space no bigger than the average prison cell. Each of them has a complex history and no one knows anyone else in the city.
Sounds like a Channel 4 reality television show or an episode of Fresh Meat, right?
Well this is more dramatic, potentially funny and much more real than anything any TV executive could ever dream up.
This is student halls – and

Imagine student accommodation like a bag of pick and mix sweets. You’re never really sure exactly what you’ll get, or how many of your favourite types are in there. All of the sweets will look so bright, colourful and enticing when you first get them, but too many can make you very, very sick.
This will be the same with the flatmates you will end up with.
If you’re very lucky you will like all of your sweeties, but you may find some of them to be sour and quite hard to swallow.
You’d think that those in charge of student housing would want to avoid the ‘clash and wrath’ that happens when the wrong people are put together.
However based on who most of us will end up living with, it seems that the only thought and effort they put into the process is as complicated as eenie-meenie-miney-mo. After being an unwitting part of this system I have found there to be three main types of flatmate, and they can all slot neatly into the traffic light colours: the Green, the Yellow and the Red.
Now the aim is to get all Greens, but realistically you’re probably going to get mostly Yellows, at least one Red and if you’re lucky you’ll get a Green.

Let’s start with the Yellows. The Yellows really aren’t all too bad, but it’s what they do on occasion that can be the real bummer.
When odd bits of food go missing (and they will) it will always be the Yellows. This is because they think they know you well enough to be able to do this without asking because ‘you won’t mind’.
They also never own up to it. The Yellows will also always be the ones in the shower when you’re already late for lectures, or who don’t spray air freshener after making a messy sacrifice to the toilet gods.
They’re also the ones to play that song you can’t stand at a decibel level that could shatter windows.
If they aren’t the ghetto blasters, they’re the ones who share a bedroom wall with you and spend the night making not-so-sweet music with someone they just met.
But despite these little annoyances, the Yellows are usually people you can have the occasional drink and a laugh with.
Not life-long pals, but a nice middle ground.

Then there are the Reds.
If you find yourself living with a Red, prepare for war. The Reds are the people that everyone in your flat can’t stand, so at least you won’t be fighting this battle alone.
But expect the worst from these people.
Some example of Red work has been: leaving fresh bowls of puke outside peoples doors or hiding rotten food between the beds and mattresses of others.
When two Red girls live with each other, attacks are made personal. Toothbrushes in the toilet, urine in face washes and shampoos and other creative assaults are not unknown.
I used to live with a male Red who ejaculated all over the toilet seat and cistern and left it there.
I was first on the scene and asked him to clean it up. The response I got was this: “I didn’t do it. It was probably you”.
He could have had a valid argument if it weren’t for the fact that I’m female and don’t possess that particular biological ‘talent’.

But no matter what the Yellows and Reds throw at you, the Greens will be there to make it all better.
The Greens are the greatest people on earth. These are the human beings that will be there through it all with you. They bring the fun in.
I know a Green who loves to greet people by posting his penis through the letter box; it’s always good for a laugh when they don’t know you’ve brought your parents.
The Greens will also be the ones who play Xbox with you to the point where both of your eyes bleed.
When the Xbox isn’t enough, the Nerf guns come out and before you know it your flat has been turned into a real life video game with everything that isn’t nailed to the floor rearranged to form barricades.
But the Greens are so much more than fun. They are also there for moral support, they are your rocks.
My Greens stole my internet cable and all my DVDs when they knew I had a deadline to meet so that procrastination was impossible.

The bottom line is no matter who you get, it will always be an experience you will never forget whether you want to or not.