Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Real Character

Cyber D writing about his freshman year roommate made me think of mine. I have been cleaning out my crap in my house, and came across an essay I wrote about my freshman year roommate in a writing class I was required to take in my freshman year because my writing was so bad. It's rather pathetically written, so I'll only copy the better parts. I'm not sure I ever shared this with her, so it'll be some new insight from me as she does read this blog.

I was assigned to room with a woman from Puerto Rico. We wrote some letters back and forth the summer before freshman year, and finally we managed to speak to each other on the phone.

The voice on the phone had an edge of nervousness in it which made her sound very young. She did most of the talking, and with her heavy Puerto Rican accent it was no easy task to understand her. It didn't matter much, however, because we both really just needed to hear the sound of the other's voice to somehow capture the essence of the person.

When the big meeting day arrived, I was in our room early in the morning. She was nowhere to be found. It wasn't until later in the afternoon that I heard the keys jingle and she came klunking into the room on her clogs.

A bright smile came over her face as we shook hands. "Hello my name is DBN as you know." As we continued to talk, she bobbed around the room doing her thing, her short curly hair always in place, the movement destroying any possibility of tension. "This is for you" produced a beautiful painted t-shirt from Puerto Rico.

As she moved, her short, solidly-built body never hesitated and her stride was always purposeful. Time for dinner? "OK. Let's go." Sometimes, bouncing down the hall and popping in and out of rooms, good will seemed to pour out of her, too much to be contained. Other times, preoccupation made her seem aloof, yet anyone who knew her knew that a wide grin and a big hug weren't far away. Sensitivity is a part of her: a knowing smile or a pat on the back gives comfort.


That's it for the good part. DBN and I ended up living together two more times - senior year off campus, when I tasted for the first and last time her rice dish with squid ink (yucky) - and 3 years later when we were both in the same city as I did a year long internship. This year will be 24 years that we know each other! Holy crap. Boy are we old.

19 comments:

dmarks said...

I've never known any Puerto-Ricans, other than one I almost had as a college roommate, but that never worked out to happen.

Tera said...

Nostalgia is such a wonderful thing!

NoRegrets said...

So are roommates...sometimes!

Susan said...

eh, I should write about my roommate and now sort of boss some day. Joys of a small town.

Gyuss Baaltar said...

If there's anything I've learned from CyberD is that you can be lucky or unlucky who you room with your Freshman year.

It's great to get lucky and be in touch with those folks. But then you discover what a long long memory that person has. And the blogs they threaten to put up about it.

Hey, wait a second, was your roommate Eslocura?

NoRegrets said...

Oh my Susan! I was going to write that that sounds kind of inbred, but then I remembered you live in West Virginia, so I likely shouldn't write that.

G - which were you? lucky or unlucky? :-) And you know what, there's more than one Puerto Rican in the world, so no, it wasn't Es.

Gyuss Baaltar said...

I thought I was lucky until I found out about CyberD's habit of sneaking up on me with a chloroform soaked rag late at night.

not said...

Sounds like your freshman roommate experience was an overall good one. How fortunate!

thanks for stopping by.

Tara said...

Very cool. That last part reminds me of my friend from high school who got in touch with me about three or four years ago. She gets preoccupied, but she is one of the warmest people I've ever met.

Susan said...

Everything tends to sound a little inbred in this part of the world, Nor.

laura b. said...

What a great post! I may have to, um, "borrow" the idea and write about my old roommate.

evil-e said...

The only roommates I have ever had can simply be put in the "lessons" category. 2 exes and an "H" addict. Glad to see you have fond memories of a roomie.

NoRegrets said...

Ideas are meant to be borrowed. And thanks all for stopping by!

dbn said...

Boy, I'm not sure I recognize myself. Was I once energetic and good? Mostly these days I feel tired and bland.
I was indeed lucky to get such a good roommate such as yourself. Other than a couple of friends from childhood PR, you are my longest ever friend. It was wonderful moving to your city in 1995 and the saddest thing about moving away in 2002 was moving farther from you.
But enough sentimentality. Screw the writing class! You had talent writting and observing from a long time ago. I have to say that I have been very impressed by your blog writing. Other blogs I have read I have found fairly boring, but I love to keep with your adventures and insights on the world. Should have started blogging while in college!

NoRegrets said...

thanks! though, you ARE a little biased... :-)
Even when you say you have no energy you have more energy than many of us.

dbn said...

Good roommates are supposed to be biased :-)

Churlita said...

I love that piece. My first roommate in college was the Chickasaw County Beef Princess. Ah, Iowa.

NoRegrets said...

Hmmm... which is worse. H addict or Beef Princess? wow...

heather said...

somehow the words 'H addict or Beef Princess?' reminded me of the movie requiem for a dream with jared leto and jennifer connelly.

i gotta get some sleep.