Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.

6/25/2004

#019 In which our hero rooms with the French

Reading Mrs. Kennedy's post about her college roommate puts me in a nostalgic frame of mind.

I went to The Ohio State University (it's important that you have the "The" in there... and it's pronounced "THEE," don't you dare say "Th-ah!") in Columbus, OH. At the time it was the biggest university in the nation, but I believe that it's since been nudged out by someplace in Texas. The point is it was big, really big. And being that I came from a small, really small town, it was simultaneously exciting and terrifying for me.

My sister had gone to OSU years before. When filling out my application, her only advice to me was "Make sure you indicate NO OLENTANGY AREA RESIDENCY!" Actually, the only resident halls near the Olentangy River were Lincoln and Morrill Towers, aka the Freshman Factories. There two hulking towers dominated the near west side of campus; twin monoliths of underclassman housing. They were inhabited almost exclusively freshmen, and had a terrible reputation as being cramped, uncomfortable, and wholly undesirable. I stayed in one of the towers for orientation (I couldn't tell you which one) and frankly, it wasn't that bad. Then again, it was just me and two other guys in a room designed to hold six.

So, I completed my application and in the spot for comments I wrote "NO OLENTANGY AREA RESIDENCY!" and underlined it for emphasis. This was the place where I should have written something like "I like horror movies, books by Stephen King, riding my bike, reading comics" or anything else that would have helped resident life pair me up with a suitable roommate. But I didn't and paid the price.

Y'know, looking back, I regret shunning the towers. I'm not naturally that gregarious, and being in cramped quarters with lots of other people would have forced me to meet people. My OSU people-meeting experience was pretty limited - I'm really rather shy around strangers - and I only hung out with a few people from my dorm and those I met through my then-friend Scott. It wasn't actually until my junior year that I really had friends of my own, not friends-of-Scott-that-were-sorta-my-friends-too.

So, on my first day I met Brian, who would be my roommate for the first quarter. He had already hung up football pictures and sports posters. As an aside, I've always found it a little gay when guys put up pictures of male sports figures. But then again, I'm no jock (my wife watches more sports on TV than I do).

In that weird, imperative way that things seem when you're younger I knew I had to counter-balance the room with strikingly non-sports images. Heading off to the local record shop I bought a Pink Floyd poster, some horror movie poster, and the coup de grace: a poster for Plasmatics: Maggots. It was cruel, yes, but as previous stated, it was imperative.

Brian and I mostly avoided each other; not in a hostile sort of way; we just didn't really have anything to say to each other. Brian packed up and moved out at the end of the quarter, either to flunk out or move off campus; I never knew, and didn't really care.

The second quarter my roommate was an Ohio University student that transferred to OSU, but only for the single quarter. I don't remember the details of why that was... just that I knew going in that he wasn't built to stay. It was a shame, too, since he was a nice guy and I got along well with him. I'm embarrassed to admit that I can't remember his name. Brad? It might have been Brad. But, maybe-Brad packed up and returned to the foothills of OU at the break, again leaving me to face a new roommate upon my return.

The third and final of my freshmen roommates was by far the most entertaining. When I got back to my dorm I approached the room cautiously. Strange noises were coming from behind the closed door. These strange noises were... French.

I got a French foreign exchange student as a roommate. His name was Christophe, if I remember correctly. This was well before our nation's preoccupation with hating the French, but I still didn't like the guy very much. He didn't speak much English, so our bonding opportunities were limited. I guess I could have seen it as a unique chance to learn about a foreign land from a native, and tackled the language barrier with gusto, knowing the end result would be worth the work. But at 19, who really thinks like that? All I knew is that I had a gibbering roommate that wore too much cologne.

However, there was one evening when I returned to my room (with my high school girlfriend who was visiting - yeah, I know) to find Christophe stinking drunk in the bed with two concerned (French) friends watching over him. Luckily he was the laughing, giggling kind of dunk, not the combative or sobbing sort.

"Wheee! It's Craig!" he shouted. "And you! Are you Craig's girlfriend? I love you, Craig's girlfriend!" His English actually sounded better when he was smashed.

One of the non-drunk French students pulled me aside, and explained (disdainfully, but in very good English) how so many of his fellow students were going crazy with their new-found freedom, getting drunk and "making love all the time." Of course, this immediately make me scope out the other (decidedly female) French student in my room. Hmm... I wonder if she's making love all the time?

Sadly, Christophe learned his lesson and there were no further drunken declarations of love. The rest of the quarter passed uneventfully, and he packed up and went back to France with a quick "au revoir."

And I returned the next quarter a little wiser, and with a single room.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Ron said...

"I returned to my room (with my high school girlfriend who was visiting - yeah, I know)"

Jen?

Your friend,
Ronnie von Ronster

3:53 PM

 
Blogger craig said...

Jenny, yeah. You remember...

4:18 PM

 

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