Saturday, September 15, 2012

Finding a Roommate

I have been trying to find a roommate for the last three months. I don't know why it has been so difficult.

When I first began searching for someone to help share living expenses I never dreamt it would be such a arduous task. I joined a couple of roommate search websites, they proved futile. Even though they advertise to be free, the only thing that is free is posting the ad itself. After that, in order to respond to an interested party you had to purchase the "premium membership" which cost thirty dollars.

I paid  the premium membership fee for a month on two different websites. I never had one response that led to a face to face meeting to view my condo. I reluctantly decided to try Craigslist, much to my surprise I have received more responses from that than from either pay as you go website.

Nevertheless, nothing has actually worked out as far as finding a suitable roommate.Of course it should go without saying I have had endless attempted scam artists trying their best to bilk me out of money. It saddens me to know that dishonest people put so much time and energy into these elaborate scams to try to cheat honest people out of their money.  What is even sadder is that they sometimes succeed in cheating some people, who are more trusting than I, despite my reputation that has been described as a Pollyanna.

When I first began placing my "roommate wanted" ad on Craigslist, I felt compelled to disclose that I was disabled, a wheelchair user. I felt I was being honest and upfront about myself and I didn't want to be deceitful or misleading. After talking to several people, it was determined that I was revealing too much information too quickly.

After all, I wouldn't put in the ad that I was 500 pounds overweight, even if I really were, nor would I put that I was Africian American or that I wore glasses, why then would I put that I was disabled?

I decided the right time to mention my disability was after a person has expressed a real interest in viewing my condo, before they actually arrived at my doorstep. My sister advised she would never verbally tell them, she would simply open the door seated in a wheelchair.

As the three months have gone by, I have had six or eight face to face meetings with prospective roommates none of these have worked out for various reasons. I have begun to wonder if my disability has hindered my success in finding a roommate.

I understand that people might have the misconception that I am looking for a roommate/caretaker. I have tried to reassure people I was simply looking for a suitable roommate to help share living expenses, nothing less, nothing more. I have explained I have a personal assistant that works for me three days a week, who assists me in doing things I am no longer able to do myself.

Perhaps I am fooling myself by feeling as if I do not look or act like a helpless person, dependent upon others for everything in my life. I feel as if I look healthy, strong, not overweight, and in good shape, all things considered.

I have been trying to put myself in the prospective roommate's position as best I can. I wonder if a younger person, whose life experiences have not yet revealed the pitfalls that life can present, who still feels invinicible and immuned to physical casualities, would want to be roommates with someone who has physical issues?

I wonder would I have been willing to "deal with" a disabled person when I myself was not  physically disabled, young and healthy, I am not sure.

Am I crazy to think this whole disability and wheelchair thing has a stigma attached to it that is hindering me from finding a roommate? Do some people not want to face another person who has suffered a debilitating loss, perhaps because it forces them to face their own human vunerability?

I think about my beautiful condo, the price I am asking, and the location, which seem to be on target with every other ad I have reviewed on Craigslist and I cannot help but wonder what, if any, my disability has played in my search for a roommate.

I know eventually I will find the right person but it sure has been tough so far. What do you think have I gone off the deep end?

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