I thought I'd seen the most pitiful moment in this most pitiable of endeavours when Archie mentioned the 'large garden', knowing full well that the number of times any of us have been out in our garden in the year and three-quarters that we've lived in our house, except for the purposes of hanging up washing or evicting spiders, could be counted on the fingers of one snake. But then fell the most tragic of blows, as Lorna mentioned the 'nice big kitchen.' I couldn't cope. Lorna (famously food-shy) was telling me (famously too lazy to cook anything harder than a cheese toastie ever) that this house had a large kitchen, as if this would mean anything to any of us other than somewhere larger to store our kettle, toaster, and washing up. I nearly wept.
As far as I can see the desirability breakdown goes something like this:
|Factor||Current house||New house||Advantage|
|Housemates||Lorna and Archie, both of whom I really like living with||As current house, plus Lyndsey (nice, but very little overlap with my world-view), William (nice, but arguably better over email than in real life) and Nick (unknown factor).||Current house|
|Housework||Sporadic attempts to be made when one is in the mood||Lyndsey seems... fastidious. At least, compared to us.||Current house|
|Bathroom||One. Brown.||Two. Probably not brown.||New house|
|Structural integrity||Low. Plaster crumbling off walls.||High. Walls intact.||New house|
|Kitchen||Smallish. Uglyish. Underused. Adequate.||Bigger. Prettier. Likely to be reasonably heavily used. Adequate||None|
|Living room||Pokey. Knackered sofa (brown).||Cool. Big. Underground.||New house|
|Bedroom||Too small for all my stuff, with inadequate storage.||Bigger. Possibility of double-bed.||New house|
|Information||A phone line. Shitty TV reception. Terrestrial TV only.||Cable modem. Cable TV. Bedrooms networked.||New house|
|Visitor screening||All residents ignore knocks deemed suspiciously close to the knocking patterns of those currently on the undesirables list.||Unlikely to be sufficiently co-ordinated or callous to implement screening.||Current house|
|Rent||£290/month + £30 council tax each.||£300/month + probably lower council tax each.||None|
|Effort involved||None.||Significant.||Current house|
|Strain placed on relationship with girlfriend||Reasonably low.||Significantly higher.||Current house|
So, not the most tempting of prospects, overall. Especially given that I don't tend to give much of a shit about my immediate surroundings (as any of the benighted souls who've seen my room will readily testify.) I feel that some words of explanation about the last row are in order. Jo would like me to live with her, but accepts that, amongst other factors, I really like living with Archie and Lorna and don't want to leave them in the lurch. When I mentioned the possibility of this move at the pub last night, Jo got upset, on the grounds that this was clearly a less desirable situation for me, but still desirable enough that I preferred it to the prospect of moving in with her. Tricky. In retrospect, this was obviously not the best way of broaching the subject, but I had only heard the suggestion an hour or so before, and was still trying to get my head round it. Jo had to leave the pub early, so I was able to promise her that we'd discuss it tomorrow (*gulp*) and then solicit advice from my friends. Ruth, in particular, was understanding and helpful, but I didn't end up much closer to a resolution.
The thing is, we both know that I am dubious about moving in with Jo. Neither of us know quite why. Basically, I feel that the current situation, with us living separately but nearby and able to see each other every other day and sleep together on weekends, works. As far as I can tell. Certainly it's not ideal as far as Jo's concerned, but she doesn't seem to be too dissatisfied with the situation. Moving in together would introduce a number of potentially problematic factors. My attitudes towards housekeeping and food, for example, are significantly laxer than hers, which I fear would end up with her doing the lion's share of the cooking and cleaning (though I'd happily help, I'd have to be nagged a bit, and I'm not sure that either of us would like that.) Her rent is high enough that I could barely afford to pay half, which again could well end up with her making more of a contribution to our house than me. The thing is, she says she wouldn't mind, and I've got no reason to assume otherwise. But that just makes it feel worse, more like exploitation, however benign.
The other potential problem is that of personal space. I need it. She doesn't. OK, to be fair, really all we know is that she needs less than me, so it's always me that breaks first. I think this is my primary concern really. I don't have a 'good reason' for wanting to shut myself in my room and play computer games, listen to music or read on my own on a regular basis, and if our default state was to be together (as it would be if we lived in the same house), I would feel obliged to justify time I wanted apart, and, as I say, I can't really. I don't want her to feel rejected if, for example, I chose to stay up until 2am playing games instead of going to bed with her, but she gets tired much sooner than I do (and is much more sensible than I am) so tends to retire earlier.
Fuck. On reading this, it is rapidly becoming clear that I'm basically selfish. I want to be able to see Jo exactly when I want, on my terms, and then return to my slacker student-esque lifestyle whenever I choose. What a shit. I can justify things by, for example, citing a fear of the unknown spoiling a relationship that's currently great, and that's true. However, I fear that it may well be more of a justification than a reason. I wish I knew myself better.
We are to discuss this tomorrow. I'm worried. It's the only 'issue' we've ever had, really (we've never had an argument, and only a few discussions that have gotten at all heated, in our four and a third years). And this is the first time I've gone into a discussion like this not knowing what solution I wanted and how to get there. I'm sure things won't be as bad as I fear. I just genuinely don't know what to do for the best for myself, or for us.
Update: Email from Lyndsey. The house has gone to someone else. Part of me thinks 'Shit. If I'd waited, I'd never have had to discuss this with Jo at all.' However, Lyndsey's still looking for a house, and still has us in mind. And in many ways, this talk's been a long time coming (ever since Jo moved to Oxford, really) and though I'm a hard-core procrastinator, it's only fair to her that we discuss it. It might as well be now...
I also need to Talk to those spindly housemates of mine.
I fear a day of reckoning is dawning.
Ah, well. Mustn't fear change. Hail Eris, all hail Discordia. Or something.