Good evening, Moonwork! Happy New Year!
How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along? I made one to lose about 50 pounds this year. But I can already tell that’s not going too well. So I changed it. My new resolution is to lose 100 pounds. Which means that before I can do that, I’ve got to gain 50 pounds. Which I can accomplish very easily.
The following story takes place back when I was still paying my dues. Therefore, yes, it involves a crazy actress roommate.
“Crazy actress”. That’s like saying “this sphere is round” or “I am talking with my voice!” In the total and complete history of all that is redundant, the phrase “crazy actress” is the most redundant of all redundancies. More redundant even than the phrase “hot flame” or the phrase “fun ejaculation”. Now, I don’t mean to suggest that all actresses are crazy. I mean to state it emphatically. They are all mad. Mad, I tell you. Avoid them at all costs except for the purposes of watching them on stage or screen or having sex with them but then after the sex part find a window and jump through it and then as soon as you hit the ground run, run, run from the actresses. And if any of your female friends who are not actresses ever casually mention that they’re thinking about becoming actresses, point to a random spot in the air behind them and scream “what’s that?” and then when she turns around to see what you’re pointing at shove her hard and linger just long enough to determine in which direction she is falling and then immediately start running in the opposite of that direction. Run from the actresses. They are all lunatics dipped in demon sauce with vacuums for hearts and a pile of dead leaves where their souls should be. And if by some strange, ill-advised chance you do befriend an actress or God forbid fall in love with one and with all the might of your passion and love and inspiration you manage to stir those leaves, you manage to stir those dead, grey leaves in that actresses’ soul, scattering them…all you will find where those leaves used to be is a dead squirrel…with bulging, panic-frozen eyes and a gut full of rat poison. Actresses. Are. Fucking. Crazy. All of them except for my fiance who is wonderful. And Kate Winslet, who for some reason seems like she might actually be a nice person.
From the summer of 1997 through the spring of 2003, I lived in an apartment on the Upper East Side with various roommates. The last six months of that time were spent living with the aforementioned crazy actress.
So the incident I am about to relate to you took place in either late 2002 or early 2003.
This actress, i.e. this crazy actress, was an extremely high-strung person. She would chain smoke all day while sitting out on the stoop, talking to anyone and everyone she could. She crouched there in front of our building like some sort of sphinx, except to pass her you didn’t need to answer a riddle, you just needed to put up with some inane conversation. One time during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq she said to me “Here’s something to make you think – how did our oil get under their sand? Hmm?” Which are some words that do not mean anything.
Having an actress as a roommate is like being at a big sportsbar, where they’re showing every single football game from around the country on a dozen big TVs scattered all over the bar. And the place is packed with football fans, fans of all the different teams that are playing. And every once in a while, over the din of your table’s conversation, you hear a big cheer, “Yeah! Yeaaaaah!” or groan “Awwwwwwww” or a “What??? NO!” or a “Go! GogogogogogogoYEAH!” Just these periodic outbursts, and every time you hear one you look around at all of the TVs and think to yourself “which game are they reacting to? I can’t tell at all. No matter how many times I sweep my vision across all of the televisions, I am not learning any information that can help me process what the fuck those guys were just yelling about. The moment has either passed too quickly, or it really wasn’t a big fucking deal to begin with.” So you stop trying to figure out what they’re carrying on about. Same thing with an actress roommate. She’s the table of other guys at the sportsbar, and reality is all of the televisions in the bar. “What is she reacting to?” There are no clues. None. If you assembled an investigative team of Sherlock Holmes, Encyclopedia Brown and Monk, they would fare no better at trying to decipher any linkage between stuff that happens and an actress roommate’s reaction to said stuff.
I did not like living with this woman.
At night, she would continue to chain smoke and drink cans of cheap beer until 3 or 4am. Then she would get up at 6 or 7am and do it all over again. She was nuts. Her email address was the name of her dead dog, and on the wall of her bedroom was a big, framed photo of her own naked boobs. Boobs from long, long ago. Boobs that still had hope.
Her eyes were always a bit misty, as if she had just finished crying or was just about to.
I could not stand her.
I would ask her not to smoke in the apartment. She did anyway, but she’d make up for it by leaving these cutesy little notes of apology under my bedroom door. As if the word sorry with a smiley face inside the O had some sort of air-freshening, anti-carcinogen power.
I loathed her.
Our bedroom doors were perpendicular to one another, and the walls in this small apartment were very thin. A thinness that should be measured not in inches but in number of plies. If our walls were toilet paper…well, then they would have collapsed. Anyway, they were thin. So thin that sometimes the sound of her typing and sighing while doing email would keep me up. I usually had to wear earplugs because of how perpetually awake she was, constantly walking around the apartment at the hours during which failed dreams dwell. Typing, sighing, walking, sighing, walking, typing, sighing and oh yes, smoking. She was a living ghost who haunted the apartment, inspiring not terror but annoyance. If my life were A Christmas Carol, she would be the Ghost Of Suck Present.
At the risk of sounding redundant, I would like to mention at this point in the story that my roommate was annoying, and that I did not like living with her. Now, back then, when I wasn’t at home being annoyed by my roommate, I was also miserable the rest of the time. I was alternately unemployed or working at crappy office temp jobs during the day, and getting very mixed responses to my comedy at various shows in the backs of bars at night. I was also in a relationship that was destroying my self-confidence, but that I was too insecure to get out of. I was perpetually full of anxiety, anger, and beer.
I had to find joy in the smaller moments. Like this one.
One morning during a weekday, following a night of beers, burgers, Ben & Jerry’s and beers, I farted. It was very early in the morning, around the time my roommate might start waking up, but way before I would normally get up for work, or for not work, depending on the day. So I was lying in bed. Under the covers. And I farted. It was a ripper. Loud, wet, sustained and high-pitched. Like someone was starting a helium-powered chain saw. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeowr!!! No sooner had the final notes of this fart faded into the sheets, that I heard the WHAM of my roommate’s bedroom door slamming open. Followed by the purposeful thumping of her footsteps across the apartment, away from my bedroom and in the direction of the kitchen. Where our front door was. And then, over the dim static that indicated she was holding down one of the intercom buttons, I heard her hoarsely say “Hello?” Pause. “Hello?” Pause. Then a thump thump thump back to her bedroom. Slam. I chuckled silently for a good long time.
She had thought my fart was the door buzzer.
To her, the pitch and duration of my fart were apparently indistinguishable from the sound the door buzzer makes.
I had made her answer the door by farting.
My fart made her get out of bed, walk the length of the apartment, and answer the door.
My body had processed the food and beer that I’d consumed, transformed it into gas, and expelled it, and then the sound that gas made as it strained out of my anus traveled through the paper thin walls of my apartment, into my roommate’s bedroom, and rousted her out of bed to go see what was amiss.
My butt was one of the TVs showing football!
When I look back at what was probably one of the most miserable stretches of my life, it’s moments like that…that do not change my opinion that I was miserable back then, but that I enjoy talking about.