I've been worrying about it for weeks. It's interrupted my sleep, compromised my ability to concentrate on Gossip Girl and dramatically increased my consumption of chocolate.
When I realized that I was going to be moving into a new apartment a few weeks ago, I wasn't just concerned about leaving my kitchen and losing full authority over the TV remote (and hence, my capacity to watch the aforementioned Gossip Girl at my leisure). I was terrified about how my new roommates would react to my excessive cooking, bizarre food rituals and occasionally neurotically-inspired behavior in the kitchen.
I warned them that I enjoy cooking, and I told them that I have an usual amount of dishes and kitchen utensils for someone who hasn't registered at Crate & Barrel, but there were still some things I couldn't prepare them for.
Like my morning routine.
"What will they think when they see me balancing my oatmeal bowl over my tea pot so that the steam heats up the peanut butter while my oatmeal simmers on the other burner?" I wondered.
"Will the smell of the oatmeal cooking four to five days a week start to bother them after a while?" I fretted.
"And are they going to think I'm crazy for taking so long to eat my breakfast that I have to microwave it mid-way through to heat it up again?"
These burning questions plagued me in the days before the move this past Saturday, and as the clock ticked down, other neurotic concerns began to eat away at me as well. It's always an adjustment to live with new people and get used to each other's quirks and style of living, and it was scary for me to leave the safety net of my apartment where I know no one is going to use my favorite tiny spoons or special mugs, or eat my Soy Creamy Cherry Chip ice cream.
In the past month and a half that I've been living without a roommate in my two-bedroom apartment, I've gotten used to coming home to a kitchen that is exactly how I left it in the morning. I've grown accustomed to taking over every square inch of space with my collection of spices, vinegars, pots and pans, without worrying about infringing on anyone's cabinet space. I commandered every burner on the stove without consulting anyone to see if I was in the way, and I let my produce roam free across both crisper bins in the fridge. It scared me to think of what might happen when I went from sharing a kitchen with no one to sharing it with two other people who don't know me and all my cooking quirks yet.
As the movers, my parents and I paraded into the three bedroom apartment with seven big boxes of kitchen stuff (plus three bags filled with groceries and produce), I imagined my two roommates, Betsy and Philippe, whispering behind closed doors about my invasion over their kitchen. Later, as I was unloading everything, I worried that I was taking over -- inserting my Tupperware, pink-stemmed Riedel wine glasses and Granny Smith apples where they weren't wanted. And then, yesterday, while I whipped up some pancakes and eggs for a mid-day Sunday brunch, I couldn't stop apologizing for taking over the counter tops with all my mixing bowls and fixings.
I kept waiting for one of them to blow -- to yell at me for reconfiguring the space in the china cupboard to create more room for my dishes, or to wriggle their noses up in disgust at all the bowls and pans I was dirtying to make my brunch.
They never did.
Today, after getting through my morning oatmeal event-free, I finally feel peace of mind with the move.
I love my new apartment, I love my new roommates, and I'm even starting to find my way around the kitchen. It feels right, and I feel silly for even worrying about potential Y2K effects upon my arrival. They are cool people, and even more importantly, I don't think they find me all that crazy. Maybe a little crazy (I was very enthusiastic when I showed Betsy my immersion blender), but not enough to kick me to the curb just yet.
Of course, they still haven't seen how anal I am about sanitizing cutting boards and counter spaces after working with raw chicken...