For my fourth and final year of my university tenure at Rhodes I decided to move into a house with four other people. This was my first time living outside of a dorm, residence or the family house. So now sitting at my desk, in our homely digs with memories too numerous to count, I thought I should tribute the digs, tell some stories and pass on a little ill-gotten advice.
I am not going to try and validate the outfits in this picture…for reasons unknown its the only one of all us together.
There are a couple of key points to be made about living in a public space with friends. Firstly don’t expect anything of anyone, this sounds harsh, but let me explain.
Almost everyone likes to think of themselves as the ultimate judge of character, you are without a doubt and most definitely wrong!
You don’t know people at all before you move in with them, and the chances you will know the real them after is quite slim. What you can be sure of however is that somehow if you rid yourself of expectations and let people find the roles they thrive in, your digs will work. One person may do the dishes every morning, one person will take out the trash and one person will do sweet fuck all, or so it seems. What you come to realize however is that everyone has their role, theirs might simply be entertainment value. So make life easier on you an everyone, don’t force people to be what you expected. Lay some ground rules and let the rest unfold!
As a side note its never a bad idea to have guys and girls, makes the girls less catty and the guys clean up a bit more!
2. Estate Agents
As one goes through life, you find incompetent people hiding everywhere. Some of these reprobates lie lower than others, and none lie lower than estate agent like the shark shit of the sea. To avoid this post turning into a rampage of hatred and damnation I will leave personal experience at arms length and suggest a couple basics.
Read your lease, re-read and re-re-read it, make sure it doesn’t counteract the consumer protection act. Most importantly make sure you know exactly what your obligations are. Then never ever back down, refer to that lease like the 10 commandments when dealing with your shark shit.
Avoid phone calls, to quote House – “Everybody lies” , email everything to avoid hearsay, trust me you won’t regret it!
3. Communal Kitchen
Communal food is the most cost effective way to live, sure have a cupboard with you own little treats but for everything else have a kitty. We setup a bank account for the digs, after rent we each contribute R1250 a month, never more! With this we get 3 meals a day, uncapped internet, a maid once a week, electricity, pool chemicals and all cleaning stuffs, not bad in my books. With a 5 man digs you only have to cook once a week, and the oven only runs for one meal (saving you a bucket on electricity) it also means that you don’t turn into a fast-food-fat-ball if you have a decent home cooked meal every night. Not all of you have to know how to cook, the internet is a wonderful thing and to make your life easier have a look at our digs cook book: HERE its really is a reprobates guide, and remember always be supportive!
4. Don’t have secrets
When you arrive home at 7 in the morning after a bender, and think you will quietly sneak into the house, or when you make an arse of yourself and think it best to keep your humiliation at a bearable minimum and not tell your digs mates, just bite the bullet. No hook-up or ill-had adventure stay safe for very long and when the ridicule starts, its best if you get to put your own spin on the story first.
5. Have as many events as you can handle
The awesome thing about having a house full with friends is the parties.. have them, LOTS of them! Although this does come with a foot note, paper cups, punch and music are a must, but NEVER and I repeat never spur a guest on by insulting his drinking. It will be funny when he can’t handle his liquor until you realize he is now your problem, at which point in his passed out state he may choose to urinate in a bed…you have been warned!
I think I will just end on that note….