24 March 2009


Walter is not his real name, Walter is the name we use for him. It started when Lady Toaster wanted to tell her friend on the phone about him. The walls are very thin in the house, any conversation can be overheard. When you are telling your friend how disappointed you were to find out that your new roommate is a raging, unapologetic alcoholic, you generally don't want said roommate to know you are talking about him. But you can't talk to him; he avoids us like the plague. He spends a lot of time out of the house, and we generally only see him between 2am and 9am. I'm up when he comes home drunk at 2 or 3, I hear him banging around in the kitchen, where I don't know how he hasn't sliced his hand open for a vegetable. The really special nights are when he puts water for noodles on the burner and passes out. I don't remember how many times I went to the kitchen for some Pop-Tarts and found the stove on, burning an empty pot, and Walter passed out on the couch, the kitchen chair, or, on the extra-special nights, on the toilet.

One night he left a disgusting mess, didn't clean it up until the next morning. He didn't wash the pots he used, just got rid of all the noodles and veggies and pizza he left out. That night, I stacked up the pots and pans on the stove and did the rest of the dishes, mine and hers. He came home, left a nasty note about how many of our dishes he washes and how amazing it is that we couldn't help him out, and stormed out. When I got him on the phone, I confronted him about his drinking, told him that the unsafe behavior was not acceptable and that he needed to be more considerate of us. He apologized and agreed, then he got drunk. Then he came home, put water on to boil, and went to bed. Lucky I fancy a late-night snack every now and again; I turned it off before it could burn down the house. Next day, I get him on the phone again, and I yell. Talking didn't work, so I rubbed his nose in it. He muttered something about not cooking after 11. (Alcoholics make rules for themselves; it's a way to maintain an illusion of control.) He promised it wouldn't happen again.

Next day I get a text from him: Call me, I have important news. I called him, he told me he got laid off and has to move out. Curious coincidence, no? The only conversation we've had since then is about what he needs to do to get his deposit back, when he's going to pay the house bills, you know, business. He continues to drink and act inconsiderately. A few days ago, he was passed out in the sitting room when Lady Toaster got up to have breakfast and watch the morning news. He got up, went to the bathroom, which, if you haven't seen my house, is right next to the TV room, and just started whizzing without even closing the door.

I know he is in distress, that he needs help, that he has a disease, but: he has a lot of friends, he has a mom and dad who bring him food every week, and we are just the roommates he won't even show the most basic respect. If he had ever shown the faintest glimmer of understanding that that we exist, if he hadn't acted like a dick from Day 1, maybe I would be a little more sympathetic.

But here's the thing: he continues to get up and leave at 10 to 9 every day, and every time I've asked him for the money he owes, it's always Wednesday when the check will clear. I am 95% sure that he lied about getting laid off, and concocted the story as a way to get out of a tough situation without taking any responsibility for his actions, or god forbid, changing his behavior. And now the week until he moves out seems like a very long week indeed. I have no idea how unstable he is, or if he is waiting until the last day to give me a piece of his mind, or if he will turn his self-loathing into anger at Lady Toaster or Toaster-Cat. I am taking the 31st and 1st off from work so I can be there when he is moving out, and he can put his key directly into my hand. I'm also thinking about asking the landlord to change the locks.

But here's the thing: the 1st is a Wednesday, and that's his payday, his band practice-open mic night, and the night, historically, when he gets the most twisted. I wonder if he will forget, on the Wednesday night, that he doesn't live here anymore. I'll make sure I stay up pretty late that night, and I'm not above punching him in the face, thereby knocking him out, and dragging his drunk ass outside and calling the cops. I hope that doesn't happen, but I will definitely rise to the challenge if it does.

New roommate is a good guy; he is also a musician, but he is a BSG fan, and he works for Harmonix, the creators of Rock Band and Guitar Hero. (I've already asked about the Beatles game; he's not telling.) His girlfriend works with me, and she is also a delight. Can't wait 'til April 1...

Addendum: I just went to the kitchen, it's nearly 3am, and found him asleep in the kitchen, stove on, burning an empty pot. Grrrrrr.....

23 March 2009

Man On Wire

Wow. This is a great telling of a great story. French dude Phillipe spent 45 minutes on a wire strung up between the World Trade Center. (Yes, THAT World Trade Center.) The film is a story told by its principals: the Man himself, his girlfriend at the time, the 4 or 5 guys who helped him pull it off. It's easy to see that people would over-dramatize events from their pasts, but it's pretty hard to over-dramatize walking on a wire 110 stories above the Big Apple; I get dizzy just thinking about it. Must have been pretty amazing to just be there, see him cross the wire, taunting the cops on the other side.

The best thing about Man On Wire is what is left out: there is no mention of anything that may have happened at the World Trade Center after 1974. I imagine that if I were old enough to have been there in '74 and remember it fondly, it may be bittersweet, but I'm just hearing of it now, and there are no towers where they were, so it just feels like a triumphant moment, an instance of joy, nostalgia for a safer time I never knew.

07 March 2009

This is not the awesome post...

August 8, 1974: Nixon resigns
September 22, 2004: Oceanic Flight 815 disappears enroute to Los Angeles
November 22, 1963: JFk is killed in Dallas
June 11, 2001: Timothy McVeigh is executed
December 25, 1983: little Frakkin Toaster gets an Ewok coloring book for Xmas
July 2, 1937: Amelia Earhart disappears
July 2, 1979: Charlotte Staples Lewis is born. (This is significant for 2 reasons. The first is the obvious tip of the hat to Earhart, but it also means that the little redhead girl Daniel saw was not in fact Charlotte.
October 28, 1984: suspected shutdown date
Decmber 19, 1992: The Purge
September 23, 2004: Monster eats the pilot
Here endeth the lesson.