I have a roommate this summer who doesn't really know me. She's extremely nice, but it's the first time I've lived with somebody who wasn't my friend. Well, that's somewhat inaccurate. The first few weeks of my first semester of college I had a roommate that I didn't know, but at that point nobody had any friends and we were all surprisingly busy trying to become close to one another so it felt very different. I no longer need this person to like me the way I did freshmen year.
Even considering all that, I can't help but try and come off well. It's because she doesn't know me that I feel pressured to be interesting. Most of the time I think I am good company. I have great stories about the whole heart transplant drama. The tales from my dad's life make him sound like a Timelord who has been at every important event since his birth. Even my brother has had some great scenes to contribute to my portfolio of stories to tell by being so notably intelligent and lazy in the first epoch of his life. I just want to talk to her until she believes I am remarkable, but we don't really have anything to converse about because I'm not really doing anything right now. I'm teaching the kids to swim and hanging out with friends after work, but I'm not ruling the school like I do during the year or really "busy" with anything in particular.
I end up playing a game of "what's worse" with myself. Do I want her to think I sit around watching Netflix all day? I'm watching really good shows like Sherlock and Doctor Who, but she has walked past and inquired about what I was watching to which I responded Doctor Who and she said, "Oh I've never even heard of that movie." Now I feel like I can't watch it anymore because I have to explain it's the most popular drama in the UK that started in 1963. It is a movie too, but I haven't seen the movie because it's such an insignificant part of the overall canon. That would be embarrassing for her. It's completely outside of her box. Either that or the box I'm thinking in is bigger on the inside. Do I want her to think I sit around writing and reading all day? Whenever I assert that I don't do anything she points to the time I spend reading and writing every day. It's a kindness that she considers that productive, but I can't explain to her what I'm writing so she thinks it's a tiny bit strange simultaneously. Unless you've been a beginning writer you can't quit understand, "Well, I'm writing stories about my life, but they are almost all bad so then I just delete them." Do I want her to think I play games all the time? Gaming is still so frowned upon by people that she doesn't get that at all. She saw my frames per second running in the top left corner of my screen and inquired about what it was and I couldn't explain why I kept track of my FPS. Do I want her to think I'm vapid and spend all my time on Facebook and Twitter having debates in 142 charaters? Just no. Gtfo Twitter.
The truth is I can control what this not-friend roommate thinks of me based on what I display on my computer screen the couple hours each evening we're together. The problem with that truth is that all the things I'm doing right now basically amount to the collection of stories. I'm reading great stories. I'm watching great stories play out on TV. I'm playing games with great stories. It's not socially acceptable to live in fantasy worlds created by writers. Reality is broken as Jane McGonigal would say and I just prefer those worlds that aren't quite real. I hope this roommate doesn't judge me too harshly. If you can think of an activity I can do this summer that would make me a better human and is also "mainstream" leave it in the comments. I could use the help for this in future situations with non-nerds.