The Colin McEnroe Show
3:06 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

For Roommates, Unexpected Challenges, and Joys

Listen to the full audio from today's show.

A roommate will  either get on your last nerve or change your life for the better. In my freshman year, I was assigned to live with two football players, one of whom dropped out at Christmas. I roomed with the other, Ken Jennings, for three years. He was African-American, from right outside D.C. and much more of a straight arrow than I was in those days. 

Susan Salisbury is director of residential life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.
Credit Chion Wolf

We turned out to have very little in common except for a secret life as a comic book nerd. But over the years, we discovered other, deeper commonalities and watched each other's backs. It's a difficult thing to quantify, but I am somehow a better person for having roomed with Ken. And we're still friends. We live on different coasts, but we have dinner once in a while. We wouldn't have chosen each other, and that's part of what our show is about today.

You can join the conversation. Leave your comments below, e-mail colin@wnpr.org or tweet us @wnprcolin

GUESTS:

  • Susan Salisbury is director of residential life at Trinity College in Hartford. 
  • Dalton Conley is a professor at NYU. 
  • Richard Fry is a senior research associate at the Pew Research Center.
  • Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic.
  • Shyaporn Theerakulstit and Danny Dempsey are two of four men living in “Fortress Astoria,” which was profiled last year in the New York Times.

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COLIN'S READING:

When Roommates Were Random"Today I am a college professor, and I am sad that most of my students will not experience what I did back when Mark Zuckerberg was in diapers. While the Internet has made it easy to reconnect with the lost Tonys of our lives, it has made it a lot more difficult to meet them in the first place, by taking a lot of randomness out of life. We tend to value order and control over randomness, but when we lose randomness, we also lose serendipity." 

Four Men, Sharing Rent, Friendship, for 18 Years"They have no children, no linear career histories, no readily disposable savings. The four men, all heterosexual, approaching 40 and never married, have lived together for 18 years, give or take a revolving guest roommate, cohabitating in spaces like an East Village walk-up, a Chelsea loft and, now, a converted office space in Queens."

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