The internet, as usual, is full of advice to those who have to stay home these days, quarantined or just social distancing or because school/work is closed. One suggestion is to pretend you have an invisible coworker and everything annoying is due to that coworker. Dirty dishes left out? It’s the invisible coworker’s fault. Somebody stole your snack? Blame the invisible coworker. Or the invisible maid’s. Or in my case: The invisible roomie.

Some years ago I was working on getting rid of some bad habits (a process going at about the same speed as a manned mission to Mars), and named my lazy alter-ego Beatrice. A name she definitely doesn’t live up to (it means “she who makes happy”).

My intention was to get Beatrice to move out.

She hasn’t.

So currently, stuck at home (has it really been only a week???) as I am, away from the office, I am actually looking for things to do—for variety’s sake. Or, rather, I find things I want Beatrice to do. She is stubborn and hedonistic, but earlier this week she vacuumed my home office (the couch) and the rest of the living room a couple of days later. I wanted her to vacuum the whole apartment.

She left the vacuum cleaner out between tasks. It continued to stay out. Any comments on my part about how one should either finish the job or put the vacuum away fall on deaf (invisible) ears, or were met with, “I’m not done yet!” or “I’ll get around to it! Just not right now.” or “Well, why don’t YOU do it then?”

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At least she parked the vacuum to the side so neither of us had to keep stepping over it.

To give her credit, though, today Beatrice finished the job: She vacuumed the hall, main bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. She was angry at the end (neither of us has ever liked vacuuming) but finished so neither of us would be annoyed with that remaining undone job.

When she washed her hands after putting the vacuum away (!), Beatrice also wiped down the bathroom sink (that was my job… that I hadn’t done). I have to admit I was feeling rather proud of her in that moment.

We’re both being lazy and hedonistic now. We feel we deserve it.

Now I’m wondering if my invisible roommate isn’t actually a keeper.

By Keera Ann Fox

I am a bi-lingual American who has lived most of my life in Norway.
Jeg er en tospråklig amerikaner som har bodd mesteparten av mitt liv i Norge.

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