The house is located in a fashionable neighborhood of Montreal. Its windows are amazingly shaped and its front is adorned with cheerful designs painted on the brick. Many times I have wondered who could inhabit such a unique space…
Posted at 8:00 am
The good news is that now I have an excuse to find out. After all, I have this recurring concept of the chronicles where I allow myself to ring the doorbell of strangers to learn the history of their residence… So I just do my job by showing up at this door.
I knock once. Twice. Three times.
I’m going back.
About ten seconds later, a “Hello!” echoed in the distance. I turn around, a smiling shaggy blonde head peeking through the door frame.
“Hello! My name is Rose-Aimée and I am so curious to know what is hiding in your house…”
Eddy doesn’t even seem to find my request strange. He just beckons me in.
* * *
The ground floor, covered with posters that are sometimes protesting, sometimes comic, is impeccable. The accommodation is warm. It’s a strange description, but I’d say he’s lively and humble. You immediately feel comfortable there.
“How long have you lived here, Eddy?”
– Since November.
– Single ?
— No, we are eight in total.
– … I’m sorry ?
Eddy tells me that the three-level house is occupied by eight adults who share as many bedrooms and three bathrooms. Although he just got his BA, most of his roommates are still studying, in fields as varied as music, drama therapy, political science, and the environment. They were born in Morocco, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Canada too…
The person who has occupied the premises for the longest time moved four years ago. She saw about thirty roommates go by, whose ages ranged between 20 and 45 years old…
In fact, so many people have left their mark on these walls that Eddy doesn’t know who owned most of the furniture in his house.
“Even the beautiful piano?
“Even the beautiful piano.” »
I knocked on the door of a modern commune!
A lot of questions come to mind, but most of them come down to: “Ayoye, how does it work? »
Eddy points to a whiteboard that lists all the household chores that need to be done and the people responsible for them. Organization and communication are essential to ensure the cleanliness of such a busy place!
Every two Sundays, the roommates meet to take stock: is there an issue to resolve? Projects to implement? Activities to organize?
Everyone handles their food, but on Wednesdays, two roommates cook for the rest of the gang. Dishes must be vegan (ask to please everyone); however, cooking meat is allowed the rest of the time. Accounts are divided fairly and friends are welcome. In fact, the only rules relate to the values of the house: we do not tolerate oppression, racism or homophobia here.
When I ask him about the challenges inherent in a communal lifestyle, Eddy can’t name a single one. On the other hand, a panoply of advantages comes to mind: the support of others; group activities; the pooling of resources, such as sharing the same car, etc.
Speaking of activities, I notice a Twister game box on the coffee table…
“Do you play often?
“Um, not really,” Eddy replies, laughing. Our favorite activity is dancing in the room. Otherwise, one of our roommates just bought a karaoke mic, so we’ve been using it quite a bit these days! »
I hear noise on the stairs. A young woman stops between two steps for fear of disturbing us. I introduce myself.
“Funny you decided to call our house!” »
Adrita has lived here since September. She got her room from a queer housing group on Facebook.
All roommates are from the LGBTQIA2+ community. In fact, they were recently the victims of a shocking hate crime… Someone painted “Kill Blacks and Gays” on the front of the building. Four times.
These funky phrases are now hidden by dark paint. The peers hope to cover them with a brighter job by soon hiring someone to paint a large mural.
This violence bothers me. All I can say is that I’m sorry.
“It was terrifying,” Adrita continues. She was afraid to go out alone for days! I wondered if the person who had done that had targeted us directly, even if she was looking at us. She eventually wrote this in various places on the street, but I feel like our Black Lives Matter flags made us a particular target. »
In addition, the psychological effects of this misdeed are still being felt. Adrita asks me if it would be possible to hide some clue that would identify her house. Obviously, I agree to preserve the anonymity of her sweet lair.
I admire the courage, the atypical way of life and the solidarity of this home. I have the impression that I couldn’t live so peacefully in a group… “They tell us that many times, answers Eddy laughing. However, it really isn’t that complicated! »
Adrita adds that magic just happens: “What I find interesting is that we weren’t friends to begin with. Everything that unites us, at the base, is a system of values: we do not want a hierarchy and we are oriented towards conflict resolution. I think it’s healthy for us. »
He takes a moment to reflect and concludes: “Actually, I think we really like each other. »