Monday, September 20, 2010

A Strange Bedfellow

This weekend while WH and I were out, we met some strangers (as we are oft to do--though not as frequently since Timberlake's closed).  Turns out the couple was on a blind date and, while they were both nice people, not particularly into each other.  This isn't really a particularly interesting point of fact, other than that it serves as a segue to something greater.  The guy introduced himself as "Vic," which is what leads me to the other story. 

Years ago, in the sweet bloom of youth, I lived in New York for a year with a girl who quite possibly amounted to the biggest nutbag on the planet.  (Yes, I realize this is a D.C.-centric blog, but the story begins here and, frankly, it's just too good not to tell.)  We met in D.C. when we were both taking improv acting classes and cultivating dreams (delusions) of fame and fortune.  We had a friendship of sorts, which included our mutual love of going dancing.  There were red flags all along, warning me that living with this person wasn't a good idea, but I was desperate to get to the Big Apple at all costs.  One such warning sign I really should've paid attention to: while we were out at a club one night, she insisted that I leave her (I was ready to go home and she wasn't) with two guys she was dancing with.  I refused (and this was in the days before Natalee Holloway), which resulted in me following her to her house in my car while she rode with the guys.  It was bizarre and showing a great lack of good judgement. 

We moved up to New York in August, into what they call a "railroad" apartment (in the basement of a row house).  This meant that you entered the apartment in the kitchen, with the bathroom immediately to the right as you come in the door.  To the left, through the kitchen was the living room, and through that one bedroom.  And here's the kicker . . . through the first bedroom was the second.  As in, one must walk through the first bedroom to get to the second.  I'm not sure how I managed to finagle it, other than by sheer luck, but I got bedroom number two, which existed behind a plywood door, but didn't require foot traffic to get anywhere else (this will be important later).  It may sound awful, but we had a washer and dryer and each had our own rooms for a mere $1,000/month.  It was practically a luxury apartment. 

My roommate quickly revealed herself to be a nutbag (yes, I realize I already mentioned this, but I can't stress it enough).  For instance, she only flushed the toilet once a day, whether it needed it or not.  She also had what I like to call "selective bulimia."  It consisted of her eating all of my Ben & Jerry's, but leaving her own generic brand ice cream in the freezer untouched, and then claiming she threw it all up and refusing to replace it.  I know eating disorders are serious business, and I don't mean to malign them here, but I never actually heard or saw her throw up (even though she repeatedly confessed to/bragged about having an eating disorder), so the bulimia was dubious.  Also, she smelled bad.  She didn't shower much and she worked in this greasy diner so she alternately smelled of sweat or grease, and sometimes both.  On top of her own personal aroma, she would often hang her uniform from the pipe that ran the length of the apartment to "air it out" (why she couldn't wash it in our washing machine was beyond me), so it contributed it's greasy stench to our apartment. But all of this was nothing really, compared to her ill-advised coupling practices. 

She would often go out on Friday and Saturday nights to various clubs around town.  Alone.  She almost never returned alone.  Fortunately, I was usually asleep by the time she and her "gentlemen callers" had arrived.  But on the off chance that I was still up, she did at least extend me the courtesy of warning me so I wouldn't leave my room.  And this is where our story gets juicy. 

One Saturday night, I was home reading when there was a knock at my bedroom door.  It was McSmelly (as I had taken to calling her).  "Hey, Vic is going to stay the night tonight," she informed me.  I indicated that I was heading for the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face before they did whatever it was they were going to do.  She disappeared out the door while I gathered my stuff.  It could not have taken more than two minutes. I walked out of my room to see her sitting at her dressing table putting lotion on her face.  "Vic" was nowhere to be found . . . until I went into the living room.  There was Vic, 98 pounds soaking wet, doing lunges in nothing but a baby tee.  Yeah, lunges.  In a baby tee, his man-berries free in the wind.  I gasped, at which point Vic grabbed two pillows from the sofa, using one to cover the front and the other to cover the back.  "Uh, those are my pillows," I stammered as I walked to the bathroom. 

I fumed while I brushed my teeth, wondering why in the hell he was doing lunges half-naked.  What kind of sexual acrobatics could he have possibly had in mind?  And were they going to echo through our thin drywall walls?  I found myself wishing for earplugs (and new pillows) as I finished up my bathroom routine and prepared to head back to my room, unware of what might await me.  Perhaps Vic was now doing naked push-ups.  Or maybe he was sitting bareback on the sofa doing yoga moves.  I didn't know. 

I stormed back through the living room (no Vic) and into McSmelly's room.  She still sat lotioning up, and there, in bed under covers up to his chin, was Vic.  I looked directly at her and said, "Tomorrow, we need to talk!" and headed to bed.  I still don't know what he was warming up for, because (quite thankfully!) I didn't hear any addtional mayhem that evening.  The next day, Vic was gone before I got up and when I forcefully informed my roommate to perform naked calisthenics at his house next time, she agreed that it probably wasn't the best idea.  "And besides, I didn't really like him anyway.  I should've brought his friend home instead."

After that, my relationship with McSmelly pretty much deteriorated into oblivion and we barely spoke.  Her mother and aunt coming from Iowa to stay for two weeks in our tiny apartment (another story for another day) made me realize that I had pretty much had my fill of her.  But on the up side, after that she never did bring home another guest and I learned the importance of warming up before physical activity. To this day, I can't hear the name Vic without picturing that poor strange guy doing lunges in my living room.


  1. Wait, wait - that first time, driving behind the other car, did she sleep with BOTH of them?

  2. I have no idea...but it sure wouldn't surprise me. It was the strangest thing. Even stranger, she didn't drink. This was sober madness.