Johnny America


Ad­ven­tures with My Room­mate: Christmas


I do not like my room­mate. There has nev­er been a time when I liked my room­mate. Var­i­ous things have made me dis­like her: the “W Stands for Women” sign she has taped to the wall above her dress­er, the gi­ant pic­ture of a bull­dog pup­py with a cap­tion that reads, “Give your wor­ries to God; He’ll iron out your wrin­kles,” her ten­den­cy to place her hair dryer/hair straightener/coffee mak­er on my side of the sink, mak­ing it so that I have to brush my teeth in a most un­com­fort­able el­bow-up-to-there position.

But when I walked in­to my col­or-of-tapi­o­ca dorm room a few days ago, my ideas about my room­mate and her rel­a­tive san­i­ty went out the win­dow. I had thought that she was sim­ply a con­ser­v­a­tive, rather re­li­gious, ir­ri­tat­ing­ly closed-mind­ed in­di­vid­ual who spent far too much time on straight­en­ing her hair and talk­ing about bull­dog pup­pies. I had thought she was just one of those in­di­vid­u­als who have in­cur­ably bad taste in books (Nicholas Sparks) and movies (The Paci­fi­er). More than any­thing, I thought that my room­mate was be­nign. But oh! — how wrong I was.

For it seems that my room­mate is in fact quite malignant.

It was one thing when I walked in and no­ticed a fake Christ­mas tree, rough­ly two feet tall and cov­ered in mul­ti-col­ored lights, perched atop my mi­crowave. And it was one thing when I saw that next to the Christ­mas tree was a stat­ue of San­ta dressed in our school col­ors and wav­ing a match­ing pen­nant. And it was one thing when I no­ticed the or­na­ment of our school mas­cot, still in the box (pre­sum­ably to keep it in pris­tine condition).

But when I laid eyes on the thing that was emit­ting the gold­en glow from the space above my mi­crowave, it was en­tire­ly dif­fer­ent sort of thing.

For there, wrapped in gold blink­ing lights, was a cross. A wood­en cross, rough­ly a foot high, proud­ly blink­ing — and blink­ing and blink­ing and blink­ing — right there. Right there, swathed in lights and im­pli­ca­tions, on top of my mi­crowave that came with a free George Fore­man Grill.

My dear room­mate was watch­ing me ex­pec­tant­ly as I no­ticed her dec­o­ra­tions. When I raised an eye­brow at the cross, she ex­plained her­self in an ea­ger flur­ry: “Oh, well, you see, the tree came with a star — that’s what the lights are from. But I thought the star was, well, you know, tacky. So I just took off these lights and, well, I just like wrapped them around this lit­tle” — lit­tle?! — “cross that I had here, and, well, here we go!”

I said noth­ing. De­spite my ten­den­cies to­wards sar­casm and gen­er­al­ly bit­ter re­marks, I was re­luc­tant to con­front my room­mate on this top­ic. I imag­ine that hell hath no fury like a Bap­tist soror­i­ty girl told to take down her Christ­mas decorations.

So I smiled weak­ly, nod­ded my head, and turned to my side of the room. I not­ed my sole Hal­loween dec­o­ra­tion, a stuffed witch, still hang­ing hap­haz­ard­ly from a hook on the door.

I did not take down the witch. And lat­er that night, when my room­mate had fall­en asleep bask­ing in the glow of gold-blink-gold-blink-gold, I crept across the room and yanked out the plug with all the vig­or I could muster.

When I awoke the next morn­ing, the cross was again blink­ing proud­ly. Mock­ing­ly. I glared at it, shoved off the cov­ers, padded across the floor half-asleep, and pulled the plug. Sup­press­ing the urge to laugh man­i­cal­ly at the of­fend­ing ob­ject, I sim­ply nar­rowed my eyes.

I left for class with the cross dark. But when I re­turned, it was blink­ing bright­ly yet again.

And so the qua­si-war wages on, with loss­es and gains on both sides. 

Filed under Non-Fiction on December 8th, 2005

Care to Share?

Reader Comments

Jum wrote:

Un­ac­cept­able! I com­mend you for tol­er­atin’ so far but she needs a les­son in re­spectin’ you.
You got to re­place the o‑ffending piece with a bumpy gold dil­do or a G.I. Joe or some­thing equal­ly r’pug­nant to her.
S’all fun and games til some­one shoves a cross in yer craw.

Consider posting a note of comment on this item:


Previous Post


Next Post


Join our Irregular Mailing List

For very occasional ramblings, word about new print ephemera, and of course exciting investment opportunities.