Saturday, November 17, 2012

Living with Jack

This is my fifth semester at NESCom.

For the first four semesters I lived in the same dorm room with the same roommate, an Italian man named Jim whom I got along with very well. I was very happy that the housing form I originally filled out had done such a good job of matching me with a roommate. We didn't talk much but we had a good rapport and never had any major conflicts. To this day Jim and I remain friends and often work on projects together.

This semester Jim moved off-campus into an apartment and for the first few days I had the dorm room to myself. However, within 24 hours of my RA discovering that there was a vacancy in my room (they had thought Jim was returning) I had a new roommate.

My initial impression of the seven-foot-tall wall of muscle bringing in a duffle bag of baseball bats was that we would have nothing in common.

I was right.

We introduced ourselves to each other briefly and I mentioned that it would be a new experience for me to live with a jock. He was upset by this, telling me that he wasn't a jock and didn't think it was very nice to be called a jock.

I apologized and then asked what he was studying. He replied "Sports Management, but I'm really only here for the baseball."

My face...

For the purposes of this blog my roommate will go by the pseudonym "Jack."

At first, living with Jack wasn't so bad. I thought it was nice to have a roommate who would talk. Jack isn't in the room very often, he's very busy with baseball practices, classes, and managing what seems like two or three relationships. So for a month or more we would speak now and then, mostly to marvel  at the fact that our schedules were almost exact opposites. I was always going in when he was headed out and vice versa. Many nights he would spend with his girlfriends and not come back at all.

This wasn't a bad situation as it was almost like having the room to myself. Then things got weird.

It quickly became apparent that Jack had a very different upbringing than me, as evidenced in his speech. His speech is what I would consider urban (One of his favorite phrases is "real talk yo" which means "This is important") but more than that it has a uniqueness to it that I have never encountered before. Uniqueness in this case translates to "completely unintelligible."

I'm not exaggerating either. He uses English words (most of the time) and the words follow what is arguably proper sentence structure, but the purpose of the sentences is beyond my comprehension. As such most of our conversations are fairly one-sided.

I cannot impart the way Jack delivered these lines but I think the oddness is apparent. Most lines are either spoken with a loud, commanding voice or a soft, halting, contemplative one. I leave it to you to decide which is which and present for your consideration a few phrases I hastily jotted down.

When Jack gets ready for class, he is always in a huge hurry and so he talks to himself to calm down and get his priorities straight...

"Deep breaths chew gum… know what else is there?"
"A slow turtle is better than a fast frog…… (and then quietly)…..I am a slow turtle."
"Jacket....engaged......backpack.....engaged.....caffeine...engaged..." This went on for a while.

"This puts everything on hold, this stops the flow" He couldn't find his hair gel.

"Twenty-three years old and I land on a hat..." No, I didn't mishear this.

"Do you think the mother of a douchebag.....knows?" This was prefaced with "Real talk yo..."

"Today was the first day I was able to say yes to something yesterday, and no to something today. But I could have made it happen. Whatever." A friend of mine kindly made this into a meme. (That is a stock picture, not my roommate.)

Jack is very proud of the word "skepticising" which he has coined with the following phrase.
"Man, the world has just been skepticising me today" Honestly, I kind of like this word and I think it should be a thing. Ex. "I skepticise that you could climb that cliff."

It isn't just his speech that is weird though. For example, Jack takes his baseball bat with him to go brush his teeth. He periodically raps to me about what I happen to be doing. One night Jack heard someone rapping outside (at 2AM), jumped up, ran outside, and proceeded to have an 80 decibel "rap battle" with them. Dorm residents were less than pleased with the commotion.

He has admitted to me that he is a kleptomaniac (but assured me he would never steal my things). Jack proudly showed me what he called his "power rag." Yep, power rag. It's a dishrag he stole off a counter at McDonalds. Why? Because Jack. The only other thing he's told me he's stolen was a bottle of eye drops from Rite Aid. Oh and possibly gummy bears (that's another story.)

Until I get a new roommate or I change rooms "Living with Jack" will be a recurring theme here on my blog. Trust me, this is only a small taste of what it's been like.

(UPDATE: New post! Read more about Jack here)