People online are often shocked to discover that I have a roommate…
I’m not sure why, other than I’m in my 50’s and roommates are a thing you do when you’re younger, just getting started down the road of life, and things are more expensive than your meager income will afford.
But, have you seen what things cost these days?
Sure, I make a pretty good wage; I’ve been with the company going on seventeen years and I’m in upper-management… But the cost of living in Denver these days is shockingly similar to living on the Left Coast, and even with my income I’m very much ‘blue collar’.
Elections have consequences, as they say.
For example, my new house is a fairly nice place in a nice location, but it’s nothing super-special — and it’s worth almost a half million dollars in the Denver economy right now.
Granted, there are less expensive places to live in Denver, and that’s always an option — but I’ve lived in those less expensive places and one does get tired of the wheels and tires being stolen off of their car after a while.
The solution to affording Denver is to find ways of reducing the cost of living; marriage is the method most folks use as it usually comes with dual-income and lots of tax breaks — but I did the marriage thing ages ago, and I’m not interested.
The other option is a roommate, but that can come with its own complications in the form of generally crap people.
Fortunately I’ve known my current roommate, Scott, since 1996 — and we get along pretty well.
We met over a shared history of working sci-fi/fantasy conventions.
See, back in the early 90’s I drove around the country selling local artisans’ stuff at conventions — art, costumery, and other hand-made objects of geekery. Scott did basically the same thing in the mid-90’s, but more from a publishing perspective.
In the late 90’s I was just going to conventions for fun, and met Scott and his wife at a convention in Cleveland in late 1996. This prompted another convention together in California in 1997. Later in 1997, the company I had been working for was bought by Ingram Micro and Scott offered me a job where he worked in D.C. — so I moved, became a roommate for Scott and his family, and went in with them to buy a ranch in central Virginia.
Since then we’ve started a couple of successful companies, made some amazing things, done a lot of interesting side-jobs, and just been good friends.
I moved back to Colorado in 2002, and in 2006 the place Scott, now single, is working on the East Coast gets bought… So I move him out here to Colorado, hire him, and he becomes a roommate. Which balances the events of a decade earlier.
And Scott has been a roommate ever since.
By far the funniest thing is when people assume we’re a couple — I mean, it is the roaring 20’s after all and nothing is off the table anymore, and we’ve known each other for so long that I guess it can seem that way… But, no, we’re just friends and have a rent-share arrangement so we can afford to live in Denver.