Looking back: Places I have lived

I live in Portland, OR. In the past 15 years I have lived all over this town.

Once I lived in a townhouse near campus with a young Asian chef and another Asian fella, my buddy S., an architect, who decided to never speak to me again after he found out I wasn’t going to date him. At one point they both moved out so I had to find 2 new roomies. I had one cousin of my sister in law and we found another. She was 19 and would be sweet as could be except for once a month (gee what could it have been?) when she go berserk. She was pretty, blonde, young and athletic. And one night she decided to threaten to kick my arse if I didn’t give her her rent money back so she could go buy a pair of Sorels. Wait, it gets better…the COPS came because she was knocking stuff over in my room and pushing me around and D. got scared (not me of course, ha! I have all that mud wrestling experience behind me so I was oh so confident READ: I almost peed my pants–not quite but I was a little weirded out) So the cops come and tell the crazed roommate to move out, which she did that night and needed us to give her money for gas to do so. She said so many nice things to us while she moved out.

In the same place, there was a man who lived next door. Every morning about 8 AM while he was in the shower he would verbally denigrate himself while he bathed. “YOU JUST CAN’T SEEM TO GET YOUR S@#T TOGETHER! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? YOU ARE FOOLISH AND WORTHLESS!!” and that would go on for about 15 min a day every am, at the top of his lungs. It was kind of a bummer way to wake up, if it wasn’t so bizarre.

In another place downtown Portland I was apartment sitting for like 2 months (long story there) in this terribly sketchy place in the city center. Taking my trash out at 3 am there would be these punk rockers in the elevator with knives, playing with the sharp edges, me with my bag of kitty litter to take to the dumpster just annoyed as all heck that they were just so odd in countenance. Never really occurred to me that I could have been in genuine danger. Hm.

In Corvallis doing my teaching stuff, I moved in practically without knowing anything about this one house because the loser advisor in the office told me literally 2 weeks before class started that it was starting. In those 2 weeks I had to quit my job, sever Portland responsibilities, pack everything I owned and move an hour and a half away. I had precisely 2 days to find an apartment, a cheap one at that…I was broke. This place was 210 a month, huge, private and very close to campus. Little did I know that all our utilities would be turned off because the roommates refused to pay, there were daily potsmoking sessions, and just before I left a new roommate had been told he could move in (without any consultation on my part because I was rarely home) and proceeded to sell big bags of green organic stuff from the house and empty out the bar into his bedroom, where they had a really great time at 2:30 am, and me right next to him have to get up at 5 am. This one wins for all around worst experience.

It was not without its moments…me kicking people off my couch who were watching south park and and smoking dubbage because my parents were due to arrive, trying to explain to a fellow student teacher why there were beer bottles all over our living room whenever he stopped by to see me but I wasn’t there…”I just sleep there…honestly, I am never there because it kinda sucks” (Milktoast doesn’t begin to explain the purity factor of this gentle young man) not that it is important, but going in renting there my thought was “Well as long as they don’t just sit around and smoke pot all the time and they pay their bills, I don’t care, I will never be home” Why didn’t I move? With what time (I worked 2 jobs, had a teaching fellowship and student teaching as well as attending classes) and what money? Besides, after one extremely stressful year, it was all over.

And this is to say nothing about the roommates who dragged out the crucifix with cowbones nailed to it and placed on our porch (it was art), and when my small voice registered some level of displeasure with this, I was painted as a big ugly fundamentalist kook.  Nice.

Nor to mention the crazy house where after we decided to have a swing dancing party, one roommate (a marine ROTC guy) nailed his bedroom door shut with him inside because he was weirded out by all my Russian and Spanish speaking friends. And the other roommates took his side and I had to send my friends home. (??) Had no previous inkling they were racist, promptly moved out.

Yes I moved out of all these places in short order.

But there were cool places too…the large gorgeous old house with all the architects with the snooker table and the bands that played in the living room…the house with the deck with the mannequin on it where we could sit out and watch the people from the pub all stumble over the same buckle in the sidewalk.

Okay nostalgia moment about the bad old days is over, I will resume to our irregularly programmed schedule.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Jenelle says:

    that guy in the shower cracked my shit up! That is funny as hell! Poor guy…

  2. suleyman says:

    Haha. A “faux” Masters. The education majors are always looked down upon.The shower guy was good. It’s a good way to get out your frustrations in the morning.This reminds me of the undergrad slums in my own town and in nearby Chapel Hill. Every time I visit my friends it’s just like you described: life exists on a minimal level (if you could call it life) on a diet of beer and Ramen. And people just drink and drink and drink and do nothing all the live long day but hang out.The crucifix reminds me of something I read a while back about the scene up in Seattle (remember, back when Mudhoney was actually nominally popular). There was a club that had this huge catholic crucifix featuring the image of christ nailed to the wall – and stuck all over Christ were dozens of empty syringes. Disgusting, I know, but lame as hell. Some of my older posts on the old Manhole are about similar circumstances: living on the edge of human civilization in a college town.And as far as the poem, I get the “silence” part now. “Don’t- open-your-mouth-or-else-I-might-find-you-unattractive” silence.-Suley

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