Thursday, January 22, 2009

*Please See Attached

I have a secret love for forms and surveys. Something about systematically outlining information and/or my opinions for others to read makes me happy. In fact, it makes me so happy I usually get carried away. I think it's the inner writer/over-achiever that makes me elaborate to an extent that no form collector ever intended. When I see "yes" or "no" questions I find myself writing side notes in the margins, and I despise open-ended questions that don't give enough room to even begin to answer the question.

When I was entering college I took my roommate survey very seriously. I was going to be living in a room (scratch that—a small cell) with a complete stranger. There were multiple-choice questions on the form concerning bedtime and cleaning habits. But if you ask me, there were not nearly enough questions. I wanted to see questions on religion, politics, philosophy, background checks...this was a very important match they would be making. And at the very end there was one line—ONE LINE—to include anything else about yourself/your expectations concerning rooming. And underneath that it said, *If needed, attach additional notes. I wrote *Please see attached (which took up the whole line they had provided), got out my notepad and went to work..."I am a quiet person in general but I like to be social at times too. I don't like girls who like drama. I enjoy running and dancing and I love the ocean. I have an appreciation for the creative arts. I'm very clean. I'm a Libra, which means I'm very balanced and I'd like a roommate who exhibits those same traits. Gemini's typically annoy me...[no coincidence it's my sister's sign]" Two pages later I felt satisfied. They knew everything they needed to place me with my perfect roommate. In retrospect, I am surprised they didn't revoke my admission.

It didn't take me long to realize the only thing the admission office read on those roommate surveys was the male/female box. No one reads surveys. Secretly I know this. They are simply a formality. But one thing the college experience taught me was that my long-winded responses are also only a formality. It’s a way for me to know I did my part...but when I find out I have two a Gemini who talks to herself while I'm trying to do my homework, another who's dirty sock monsters spill out of every drawer and closet all over the room...I can say, "Well, at least I tried, but this will do." I think other people know, more than I do, that once I'm in a situation I can revise my expectations and I can enjoy it...that’s because most people are more relaxed about things than I am.

My two roomies and I were the only "forced triple" (room meant for two that they put three girls in) in the dorm to make it through the entire year without one of us demanding to move out. Somehow by NOT listening to me, admissions had placed me with two of the best roommates for me. Moral of the story: Sometimes you have to have faith that fate will run its course and it will all work out for the best. A very hard concept for an over-prepared Libra to accept. Has that stopped me from writing short novels on comment cards and surveys? Absolutely not.

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