Apropos of the 5402 thread on wandering to which I will contribute very soon I promise, a story:
Sebastian, whose disaster roommates make my disaster roommate look like Martha Stewart, moved recently. In the interest of background, he had a rotating cast of three roommates in the old house who may well have been the models for Kay Hymowitz's description of the modern single male. The house was a complete pigsty. The stove was crusty. There were two of each kitchen appliance, but nothing in usable condition. One of the roommates was addicted to video games and slept on the living room couch so he could get more gaming time in. One appeared because he decided to quit his construction job in Utah or something one day and move across the country for no reason. He forged a resume and became a waiter, and brought in the other roommate, who was the manager at his restaurant. This guy was about 40, worked about 20 different jobs in two months, and had his tax return docked because he was behind on his child support. He also stole from the other roommates. And so on.
So when the one sort of decent guy announced he was moving out, and the 40-year-old delinquent child support guy announced he was moving upstairs next to Sebastian, Sebastian decided to move out. (At this point, delinquent child support guy conveniently met a girl at a club and decided to move in with her the next week, so he left too.)
Sebastian found a room in another house where he'd only have one roommate, whom the landlord promised to find, so that seemed like a better bet. When he got back from Chicago with me and started to move, he discovered that his other two roommates had apparently fled (without paying rent) and, moreover, left all of their stuff behind--stereo, espresso machine, kitchen appliances, dining room set, everything. So Sebastian and his remaining roommate sold some of it and appropriated the rest. In the process, I got a sweet free espresso maker. True, I had to dig it out of a coffee and sour milk-encrusted skin three inches thick, and I'm still not sure if it works (haven't tried), but it could be a great thing.
But when Sebastian arrived at his new house, he discovered that instead of a roommate, he would be sharing the house with some unexpected guests--namely, an Ethiopian family living in the basement. According to the landlord, they're only going to stay until the end of the month and then go back to Ethiopia, but it's not clear if that's true, and they haven't really explained their status. (At one point, they told him they were "on vacation"--in the basement.) Despite the obvious awkwardness of sharing a house with a family, especially since the family is in the basement and he's in the master bedroom, Seb has concluded that he prefers the family, who is at least orderly and clean and sometimes shares its meals with him, to his previous roommates. (The baby is also, amazingly, quieter than the video gamer, the "pew-pew-pew" of whose virtual guns could be heard at 3 am.) So he calls the new living situation a net gain.