My friend, at dinner last night, was detailing her recent search for a small apartment in Los Angeles. Space is very tight, and rents are high. She mentioned a word new to me: Bedspacer. Apparently, a bedspacer is a roommate one is seeking to share your very room.
Her aunt, L, and I had a vigorous discussion about what exactly that might mean. "Is it to share the bed?" Aunt E asked.
"No, I don't think so," L replied. "I think they just share the room space, closet, and so on."
"But that's still horrible." Aunt E was incredulous. "Sharing your space with a total stranger. That's like living in a jail cell! That's no privacy, that's horrible!" She repeated variations several times, so convinced that she had hit upon the most terrible way of describing a living situation.
I kept my own counsel. But, in my head, I was amused. How little you really know of what that's like, I thought. Actually having a bunkmate to share your space is normally fine. It's nice to have the companionship. Even an annoying bunkie is someone to talk to, to interact with, to create a small sense of community. What's truly horrible is having to be all by yourself, all those endless, unmeasured hours of isolation where the edges blur and the mind takes over where the body cannot move. But I knew there was no way to put that thought into words in such a pleasant social setting.
Most people wouldn't understand at all what that truly means. But some do.