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11 September 2007

Some of My Roommates in London

Roommates in London
A French man. Cool guy. We used to finish a bottle of Whiskey every day together. A French woman. She was his ex-girlfriend. She was so drunk one time that she fell asleep on the tiny highway divider outside our home.

A Spanish woman. She was cool. Two Peruvian ladies. They stopped speaking English when I tried to get them to pay bills. We had a big bonfire in the back and burned all of their stuff.

A few Israelis. One of them was destined for greatness but he was too complicated to achieve anything. He played me some of his songs and I had Dollar signs in my eyes, like Brian Epstein listening to the Beatles for the first time. We used to bring chairs outside and play music by the highway, him on the guitar, me on the harmonica, and wait for cars to get caught on the speeding camera. One day a few of us were sitting in his room, listening to music, when suddenly he got up and looked confused. “What was I about to do?” he asked. No one answered. He sat down again with a smile, saying, “Oh, yea, nothing.”

An English guy. He used to fall asleep with cigarettes in his mouth, burning holes in his bed sheets. The police followed him to the house one night because he didn’t pay his pub bill and I woke up with a flashlight on my face.

Two South African couples. One of the girls ended up marrying the French man, the other one, her first cousin, is now with the singer from my band. The South African boys returned to South Africa. What can you do. Actually, there was another South African. She taught me Yo ma se Chat. Other South Africans taught me Yo ma se falepte pus.

A couple from Czech Republic. They used to take showers together and giggle. He was a country boy and she was from Prague. This meant she was open and friendly while he was close minded and his best friend was a policeman with a mustache. Just goes to show things are the same everywhere.

Our landlord was an old man with a glass eye.

There was an Irish deaf guy. We didn’t have central heating, and his room was the only one without a radiator, so to keep warm he left his hairdryer on all day. He didn’t realize it was noisy, see?

I had a South Korean roommate, too. One day I thought, What if he had some South Korean lady friends he could introduce me to? So I asked him, “Did you come here alone?” -- “Three months ago,” he answered. “No,” I said, “I mean, are you here alone?” -- “I don’t know yet,” he said.

There was a Polish woman. She had positive affirmations all over her room and a large picture of a married couple taped to her mirror. That’s what I’m saying, see? Life is funny and sad at the same time. And it’s the same everywhere in the world. And it’s always been like that, and always will.

27 comments:

Jill said...

All those people were your roomates at the same time?!?!?!? That sounds like the most fun place to live EVER!!! And I thought ****Houston**** was like moving straight to Epcott Center!

"Life is funny and sad at the same time. And it’s the same everywhere in the world. And it’s always been like that, and always will." Yes!!!!!!!!!! Exactly!! Funny and sad and glorious and terrible and wonderful and awful and heartbreaking and happy and absurd and full of logic and bittersweet and cute as a button and overwhelming and lackadaisical and always, always, always all at the same time. Yeah.

Woozie said...

Fun? Way too many people for one place!

I'll take the dog, the Israelis, and the Peruvian ladies' stuff

Jill said...

Sort of depends on how big the place is though, don't'cha think? I wouldn't want to live with that many people in a shoe box or anything, but if I had my own nightstand...

People in the Sun said...

Jill, London was funny like that. You live there for a year and you're considered an old-timer. I think the most people we had at the house at one time was fourteen, but people kept coming and going all the time. It was insane, and definitely not for everyone, but it suited me very well at the time. I probably miss the bonfires more than anything. I wouldn't say it was that small (although the deaf guy's room was just big enough for a single bed, a nightstand, and a hairdryer), but it was definitely cozy.

Woozie, I have somewhere a picture of the night we burned the Peruvians' stuff. I look very drunk and I wear one of their dresses. It has penguins all over. Later that night we burned that dress. No after pictures. We even threw their TV into a nearby river. I think it made sense at the time.

SJ said...

Half a bottle of whisky a day and you are still around to tell the tale... so much for the dangers of alcohol

Dan said...

Blimey. Full house.

Enemy of the Republic said...

Reminds me of my time abroad. Love that fine hound. Beautiful.

Secret Simon said...

There's more than a blog post in that lot. What's it to be? A novel? A sitcom? Or maybe you should get the band back together and turn it into a song...

Dave J. said...

You cause me to look back on my own life. What a great post. Sounds like London holds some seriously sentimental value in your scheme of things.

People in the Sun said...

SJ, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Now all it takes is a sip of beer and the room starts spinning. Eventually one of the South Africans and I did the intervention thing to the French man. How do you say "Leave me alone, you hypocrites, I like to drink" in French?

Dan, you either learn to get along with people or get upset about every little thing.

Enemy, then you might like the movie L'Auberge espagnole. But our house was slightly more insane than the one in the movie. Or maybe it wasn't insane at all, I'm not sure.

Simon, you're right. Each of these people deserves at least a post. Maybe I'll do that... There were probably about twice as many people I didn't even mention.

Dave, this whole blog is some kind of attempt to find out what made me the person I am today, for good and bad. Was it my childhood and the family trips to Europe? Was it the military service? Was it the people I met in London or the things I did there? Was it Honey? The dogs? Or does this obsession with the past stop me from looking forward?

durante vita said...

I bet you learned a lot from all those peeps. Of course I couldn't stand that much volatility (as if we're talking about the stock market) and maybe that is why I don't have half as many stories to tell. A penguin dress? I mean, I've never even worn a dress! You get my point.

spooky said...

You've got me relecting on all the people I have ever met except I'm not as prosaic as you, I'm more like Columbo...'there was this one guy see...'.

People in the Sun said...

Durante, wearing the dress had more to do with vengeful destruction of the Peruvians' clothes. It's International Politics 101. A penguin dress may even be featured in The Art of War.

Spooky, that's even better, It's Post-Prosaic.

Jeff said...

You're in a band? Cool! Where can I read about it?

Mr. Fabulous said...

When do I get to be your roommate?

Tsedek said...

Is that your new wooden floor on that photo? :D
(I even clicked on it to see the detail, LOL)

thewishfulwriter said...

Yay! Yer back!

This particular post of yours has inspired me to think about doing a post of my own like it.

Only....I'm not sure I can write an honest account without incriminating myself in some, um, in-e-propriate-ness.

Maybe I'll stick to lying in my posts....

Ms. Q said...

I loved this post! Your writing was spare but I saw a snapshot of each roommate. Wonderful writing, very feeling, I'm blown away.

People in the Sun said...

Jeff, no, not any more. After Honey and I met, she went back to the US while I stayed in London for two years, trying to be a rock star. But when we all realized the band wouldn't make it and the singer quit the band that was it. So I never got to be a rock star, but I got the girl.

Fab, funny but with all these roommates I've never learned how to tolerate other people. Hence, my chicken nuggets story. So, I wouldn't recommend that to anyone is what I'm saying. But you know you can come babysit whenever you want!

Tsedek, well, that's the downstairs floor, but we're now doing a similar thing on the second floor. There's actually also a third floor but it's not as grand as it sounds. Houses here are very narrow and tall. That's why the Baltimore version of the American Dream is to one day buy the house next door and break the walls between the houses.

Wishful, I know what you mean. I try to be as honest as I can here but I also fear this blog will one day ruin Honey's career (thankfully, I don't have a career to ruin; just a job). So, for example, I honestly write about my near-death experience, but I say it may have been the wine's fault. I guess it's not completely dishonest of me; I did drink a whole bottle of wine that night.

Ms. Q, wow, thanks for saying that.

Kirsten said...

well I, too, had some pretty interesting "flatmates" while I lived in London. Hmmmm... me thinks that would make an interesting future blog post, thanks!

People in the Sun said...

Kirsten, you're right--they were flatmates, not roommates. I forgot about that. Who knows? Maybe we met there? I was the drunk guy with the purple hair.

durante vita said...

International Politics 101. You, sir, are hilarious.

The Art of War, huh? I'll put it on my to-do list. Alongside Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals.

Graduation is in May, bitches. Then I'll have time to get to that list, and to do things... like write people letters the old fashioned way. You'll have to give me your address.

People in the Sun said...

I got a letter from a 60-something year-old guy I used to work with. I wrote (but never put up) a post about how hard it was to write him back even though letters are much more meaningful than emails. But in the end, maybe inspired by my own unposted post, I just wrote him back instead. It takes a lot out of you, though, that whole handwriting, postage, signature, return address... Man, writing letters is a pain.

(But if you want to write a letter I'll give you my address, of course).

MS said...

Thank you for this sketch, which made me laugh more than once. I don't suppose you have a picture of the house?

People in the Sun said...

MS, you know, I haven't put any picture from London. It's just that scanning photos is so early '00s... But I have some cool pictures from London: The band, the penguin dress, my photo-op with Dennis Hopper... I'll put them all up here one day.

Tricia said...

You know the old saying 'you can't see the forest for the trees'? Well, I'm a little worse than that. I can't even see the forest or the trees for the one twig laying on the ground. But I will say this in my own defense... it's got to be one hell of an interesting twig.

So that might explain why, out of everything you've written here, one thing just popped out and grabbed me by the prefrontal lobe and wouldn't let go.
My twig as it were.


"There was an Irish deaf guy."


Did he have an Irish accent?

People in the Sun said...

Tricia, you're right, you're right. Although that particular twig has an explanation. He had a very Irish name (I think it was Kieran). And before he left the house to go back home, he tried to show me on a map where that was. It wasn't easy, because he couldn't sign and I think he must have been dyslexic, too, because most of what he wrote for me was written phonetically. It was very frustrating. But he pointed at a small village in Ireland and then he grunted, which--I think--means that's where he was going.

I guess it could mean anything, really. Maybe that's where the treasure is hidden.

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