Being single and living in a big city can suck. Having one arm may suck more though…
After finding out my fiance was gay and suddenly needing to move, I turned to Craigslist to deliver to me a roommate and confidant. I narrowed my search down to finding a fellow single gal. I fantasized about us having late night talks and mixing our social circles. I thought of how I’d meet my new boyfriend through her and we’d laugh at my wedding reception how it all began on a site that listed yard sales and sex opportunities. I envisioned strangers stopping to tell us how our witty banter belonged on HBO, or at worst Fox.
Reality quickly bitch slapped the fantasy right out of me. Turns out not many people are rushing to live with a single 25 year old stranger. My new roommate Kira was nothing that I had hoped. Upon first looking at her she looked like a personified version of a wet sweater crammed into a dresser drawer for months. Her laugh annoyed me to the point of suicidal idealizations. She claimed to love cats. crosswords and gardening, but in reality enjoyed bringing home strangers of both sexes. Strangers that would use my bath towel, wear scrunchies with sweatpants and combat boots, or pass out in my bathroom in their own vomit blocking the toilet.
Among the slew of strangers that paraded in and out of my door, there’s one particular night of stomach turning awkwardness that remains tattooed on my brain. Actually, it’s probably the back of my brain, since I had repressed this memory until last night when my father asked me if I had ever seen “The Fugitive”.
I had made the mistake to assume, “Do you mind if I have two of my guy friends over?” meant “Do you mind if I have two of my guys over?”. Unfortunately it meant, “If I have a guy I’m interested in over, will you please take his friend?” Hey, you live you learn.
Kira prepped me with the visit by letting me know that Tim only had one arm. I’m not really sure what the socially acceptable response to that is. I thought “Okay” would suffice. I thought maybe she was giving me a heads up, maybe others had encountered this poor man and gawked or screamed. I again mistakenly took something as face value and moved on.
The evening began in a fairly low key fashion with beer and burgers. It progressed into a game of Taboo, which quickly became awkward when I needed to make my one armed partner give the clue for “Amputee”. As I said pass, Kira was quick to lean over me and give the poor guy the clue, “You are this…” That was the tipping point to me saying that I was getting tired and needed to get some sleep. Kira quickly cornered me, questioned me, and guilted me. She wanted to know what my problem was, didn’t I like Tim, was I being discriminatory about his one arm. I assured her that I wasn’t quite sure what my specific problem was, that I wasn’t discriminating and that I just wasn’t feeling dating right now. She countered this point with a suggestion that I go into my room to show Tim my scrapbooks and let him sleep in my bed. Up until this point in my life I hadn’t considered my scrapbooks to be an aphrodisiac, and again made the mistake of thinking that a one word answer, in this case “No”, would suffice.
As I was announcing my departure to bed, my wonderful roommate chimed in that I had some great scrapbooks. My rebuttal was that the books where under my bed and couldn’t be removed without moving the entire bedframe. I thought this would clearly end the discussion, but again, I was sadly mistaken. My roommate pushed the issue and the next thing I knew, Tim was holding my bed frame up. He then asked me, “Can you pull the scrapbooks out? I would but I only have one arm.” The newness of this particular situation struck me dumb. I pulled out my Tuppaware box of scrapbooks and watched as Tim opened to a page of me getting engaged. There I stood smiling at Fenway park with my fiance, having no idea that he was soliciting men for sex online. I looked at the bizarre picture in this increasingly bizarre situation and didn’t know if I should assign it laughter or tears. Tim tried to coax me onto the bed, tried to rub my back with his good arm, as I had this sad little thought of “this is my life”.
Drama ensued as I asked him to leave, which he said he would do but that he would then drive home drunk. Most people wouldn’t want to be responsible for causing an amputee to go on a drunk driving rampage, but as this point in the evening I was okay with it.
Only later did this story become humorous. I recounted it to my aunt with confidence saying that, even though this guy was camping out in my room that I felt confident in my ability to fight him off. My aunt quickly replied with, “You’ve obviously never seen The Fugitive.” I had infact seen the movie years before and suddenly could relate to a situation that would make you jump down a cascading waterfall over jagged rocks.