Friday, July 13, 2007


Over the course of my life, I had the privilege of a very diverse cast of roommates. My first roommate was when I spent three months between my sophomore and junior years in high school taking college level course after winning a competition. One student from each in the states in the Midwest could go and I was Iowa's winner. My roommate had been a black kid from St. Louis and I think it made my mom nervous. After we had unloaded my stuff, she pulled me aside and told me that if he gave me any trouble at all, I was to request a new roommate. After she had left, we found ourselves sitting in our room silently eyeing each other up. So to break the ice, I told him what my mom had told me. He burst out laughing saying his mom had told him the exact same thing. We had a lot of fun that summer probably much to our mother's surprises.

My first roommate in college had been in the dorms and was my neighbor named Bob. Bob had been a year older in high school and his previous roommate from the year before had gotten a different one for the upcoming semester. Because I particularly didn't want to be stuck with a freak and liked the dorm Bob was in, I signed up specifically to have him as my roommate and he did the same. It had one drawback… Bob was a geek.

Bob studied all the time, which in hindsight was probably a pretty good thing considering we were in college, but he even did so on Friday and Saturday nights. He never had a girlfriend in high school and continued his streak in college. I would have guessed he would have been single all his life but he snagged a teacher from a local school a few years back from what I heard. But Bob was predictable and that was worth a lot in a time in my life when I went from being a big fish in a small rural pond to living in the big city. We roomed together for a year and a half.

After the dorms with Bob, my next step was to get an apartment with my brother and a guy by the name of Donny to finish out my college career. Donny hadn't been a geek like Bob and had been a pretty good guy with only one quirk that I saw. We divided up supper cooking duties between the three of us and while my brother and I cooked meals, whenever Donny cooked it was something like hotdogs. It wasn't until the final six months we lived together that things went south. Donny went out and bought a recliner one day. Our very cramped apartment already had two couches and a recliner and there was literally no room at the inn. I watched as Donny pondered the situation looking out at the recliner in his truck and the living room with literally five square feet of unfurnished floor space. When he finally looked stumped, I asked him if he wanted to bring it inside. When he affirmed this, I told him that if he could get rid of the $10 couch that I had throughout my college career, he could move it to its spot.

I had class so I left and when I returned, Donny was just finishing the last saw stroked from cutting my couch in half. Stuffing was everywhere. He got the messed cleaned up and I helped him carry in his recliner. About two weeks later I was neck deep in studying for some test with papers scatters all around me on the nearby couch, kitchen table and coffee table while sitting in Donny's new recliner. He came home from class and asked me to move so he could sit there. I happened to mention that he had been sitting in my furniture, eating off my dishes, using my pots and pans and my computer for three years now and suddenly I couldn't sit in his chair. He said that sized up the situation pretty well. I flipped and banned him from using any of my stuff, which included the microwave even.

For the next six months, Donny cooked and ate out of the one pot he had since he didn't have any dishes. Because the television and stereo was mine too, his sole source of entertainment was sitting in his recliner and playing his virtual fishing game with a hand crank that made a ratcheting sound. I knew he was trying to get me to relent by annoying me but I wasn't about too. This went on for six months until the day the moving van came to move my stuff up to my job up north and I shut the door to the apartment without a word leaving Donny sitting in the middle of an empty apartment sitting on his new recliner and playing that darn fishing game.

Somewhere towards the end of my college career and before Donny bought his new recliner, I got a cooperative education job for eight months up in Minnesota and took a semester off from college. I got paid and college credits for it so it had been a pretty good deal. I moved up right after New Year's Day expecting to be the first one to arrive knowing that two others would be sharing the apartment with me. Despite the recruiter saying that they weren't expected to move in until the following week, they were both there when I arrived, or at least there belongings. I moved my stuff inside and after a few hours, the door opened and in walked George who was studying to be an accountant from North Dakota and a computer engineering intern named Datun, a native fresh from the jungles of Nigeria. It is Datun that I wish to blog about in an upcoming blog post. Stay tuned.

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