Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day 1

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

The Friday before classes were to begin at my new university, I had aimed to transport the majority of my belongings to the new apartment, but first desired a haircut...a costly mistake. My hair ended up looking as though I was recovering from a bowl-cut. "What on God's green earth should compel a hairstylist to commit such a heinous act upon another's head?" An oft-repeated question that was for the next several weeks, I can assure you. Part of the allure of enrolling myself in this university was to see what I might be able to attract from the vast supply of lovely female students, but with a head of hair styled in such an offensive manner, my chances were severely diminished. This was a matter of great concern in the days leading up to, and especially the morning of, my first classes. I went so far as to even make several attempts at procuring a suitable hat, but with finances as strained as they were already, this was an unreasonable endeavour. After some thirty minutes' worth of attempts at taming the monstrosity adorning my melon back at my mother's place of residence, a state of equilibrium had been reached...and if only I could manage not to shake my head about and avoid any strong winds, I'd be set.

With ridiculous-looking head held high, once more I stepped up to face the world and it's next set of great challenges. Upon the starting of my trusty vehicle, it soon became apparent that the air conditioning system must be malfunctioning because all I was receiving was hot, humid air...a most unwelcome experience when, already, the temperature outside of the vehicle was easily in the mid-90s with 80-90% humidity. Having faced and dealt with such trouble in the very recent past, I knew that if only I could soon speed up to approximately 45 MPH, the cold air would kick in. You very well know that my body was not meant to be subjected to a hellish environment and that my suffering during Florida's 7 or 8 months of summer is intense and trying....well, here I was trapped in a sweat box in the hottest and most aggitating period of summer, stuck with speed limits of 25, then 30, then 35 MPH before, FINALLY, I came upon the stretch of road that calls for 55 MPH. Streams of sweat were running down my face and, within the confines of the light, thin, and quite breathable long pants I had selected for wear, my legs felt as if I were in the shower. The needle on my stress gauge came creeping closer to the red, point of no return, zone, and when the cold air had not decided to save me from the oppression of the season, I went well past that red zone. There was no way that I was going to make the hour+ trip in such conditions.

Having had (mostly) positive interactions with a particular mechanic in the past, I took my car there to be repaired. I told them my situation, and that I had to check into my apartment before 5 p.m. The time was now 1 p.m. They swore up and down that I'd be out in an hour. The time of my parting with those buffoons was nearer to 3 p.m. than 2 p.m. Not only did this displease me greatly, but they'd come back with a whole host of items that they considered to be urgently in need of repair. Even after explaining that my funds were not sufficient to even cover whatever repair was necessary to get the air conditioning operational once more, they persisted in trying to bully me into agreeing to have them fix the other issues. I had no patience for their games, and I'd been exceedingly pleasant, as is my nature, with the man up until this point...thrice I had to aggressively refuse their suggested repairs before he backed down, but not before he gave me the old, "Well, it's your car..." line. I'll have him, you, and anyone else who cares to hear it, know that after 4 months, I've not had a single issue with my automobile.

3:15 p.m., approximately, and I was on the road again...$100 more in the red, but at long last, enjoying the arctic winds from my air conditioning unit. The plan had been to stop by the university bookstore before the apartment to pick up the rest of my textbooks, but seeing as it was 4:30 by the time I made it to my new home, I had no choice but to stop by there and check in. Of course, a torrential downpour had started fifteen minutes prior to my arrival, eliminating the possibility of unloading my belongings. I sat, patiently waiting, in the parking lot for a quarter of an hour before deciding to head to the bookstore before they closed. After a successful, and pleasant, transaction there, I walked to my car without the need of my umbrella.

Upon entering my apartment, I first noticed the heat (air conditioner was set to 80!), and then all of the...well, junk, strewn about. Sitting in the living room amidst a pile of who-knows-what were a guy and a girl. I recognised the guy from prior interaction via a social networking website (interaction that he'd initiated upon learning that we'd be sharing an apartment) and was pleased with his well-meaning and friendly disposition. The girl was introduced as his girlfriend, who, it was announced, would be staying until Sunday. Hmm. Okay, that's fine. She seemed nice enough. Moments later, the second of three flatmates revealed himself. This was the one who'd been the cause of much concern prior to moving in, as his page on the social networking site was filled with tales of alcohol-induced tomfoolery and arrogant machismo...things that clash greatly with my personality. He was, to my great surprise and relief, quite amiable and welcoming...and much taller than I had imagined, although not as tall as me. The third flatmate, I was told, had gone out for food and would be back shortly. My concerns about having at least 7 years on them in terms of age were mostly washed away with this first interaction, which was most welcome having worried quite a bit about it in the months leading up to the start of term. After hauling my belongings into the apartment, I inquired as to which room was mine. This was my first hint of troubles to come.

The story, as relayed to me by the fellow who shall henceforth be recognised as Flatmate 1 (or FM1, should my manner be languid), was that all of the bedroom doors were open upon their arrival, so he grabbed the closest room. Later, upon discovery that the key he'd been given did not match the lock to his door, but after having moved ten tons of possessions into the room, he decided he'd stay put. He asked would I rather have the room assigned to me, and my first reaction was a resounding, "YES!" but I would've felt guilty having him transport everything down the hall... although, in retrospect, I had no reason to feel that way, espsecially since, if his story was true (and my belief is that it most certainly is not), holing up in the wrong room could've easily been avoided by checking to see which key fit in which lock. At the time, however, I had no real reason to suspect foul play and agreed to switch rooms. A few nights after moving in, I discovered that a popular, late-night meeting spot for loud and drunken students is right outside of my window. I've had many nights of discontinous sleep due to this fact. Furthermore, my room shares a wall with the living room, but for all of the protection from sound it gives, the wall may as well be a thin blanket. This, too, has greatly affected my sleep...obviously, my flatmates are about as deaf as they come, because the television can't be lower than volume 40 and they have to yell to each other instead of speaking at a respectable level. They are most fond of these activities the night before I have an exam or an early class. There have been many discussions about this, which I shall detail at some point in the future.

Overall, the apartment and my flatmates at this point seemed nice, and I was excited about the times that awaited us. My original plan was to make two or three trips to the apartment to move my belongings, but it was now so late in the day and I was exhausted. I left, with the promise that I should return the next day...and stay. I did just that, but, my dear, that also is a tale for another time.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

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