When I was a teenager, I looked forward with much anticipation to the day when I could call the shots. Not that I was ever all that rebellious, nor did I smart under my parents' iron thumb. But I did look forward to flatting like it was some glorious future almost-utopia, like it was going to be like one long camping trip with friends.
I got it wrong. Unsurprising, I suppose, of any grass-is-greener hopes. And today, for my blogging audience, I will explode the myths devised in the past by my teenage mind.
When I am flatting, no one can stop me from eating exactly what I want for meals.
Ha! "Yeah right," my current self sniggers. What I eat these days is driven by forces even more influential than my mother or father.
(a) Affordability. I can't actually live on steak.
(b) Flatmates. If you share cooking with your flatmates, as I do, there's a high, high probability that your favourite foods are something they despise. One of my flatmates hates corn, a staple of the student freezer. Another hates kumara and mushrooms. Another hates onion, pineapple, chickpeas, and anything that has the slightest hint of spiciness, and doesn't really like fresh vegetables. It pains me! It pains me!
When I go flatting, I can stay up as long as I like.
I wish. Most nights, I find myself thinking "Oh, it's already 10pm. I really must get to bed. If I stay up any later I'll be exhausted tomorrow." But then I'm a weird kind of student, I have to admit.
When I'm flatting, no one can make me do chores.
Nope. I've discovered that I had it really easy when I was a kid. I had absolutely no idea how much work goes into keeping a house full of people presentable. I also discovered that it's really unpleasant living in a house in which the bathroom is uncleaned, the garden is overgrown, and the kitchen is filled with dirty dishes (besides the fact that it attracts rodents), and that it's sometimes more pleasant just to do it yourself rather than go and remind the person who's supposed to be doing it for the sixteenth time. Shock horror!
If I go flatting, I can go out at night whenever I want without having to tell my parents exactly when I will be getting home.
Ha! If I go out at night now, I generally have to beg someone for a lift home, which means I have to hang around at some event far longer than I really want to, because they are in total control. It was actually quite convenient having parents who would either lend me their car or come pick me up themselves.
Modern, middle-class homes are so bourgeois; derelict student flats are artsy and interesting.
Yeah well, that myth was exploded by my experience of the winter of 2009. I have, now, a profound appreciation of well-insulated homes with high-pressure showers and double-glazed windows.
If I can afford to go flatting, I will be rich.
HA! As outlined a few posts ago.