K. Mennem 6:15 p.m., May 21
I tend to amass roommates. Let me explain.
On any given morning, I count between five to six people and one cat asleep in my apartment. They’re usually overflow from the apartment below us. We call it The Man Cave.
My roommates and I live semi-communally. The ones that pay have bedrooms. The ones that don’t pay claim a couch or a corner in the living room. It’s a bit of a dodgy situation, but we make it work. For example, I have not cooked dinner, washed a dish or scrubbed the toilet in months. This is because the head coucho takes care of that. That’s his rent.
I live in an apartment complex at the apex of the Linda Vista hill. From my balcony, USD lights up against the rolling hills of San Diego. We can see the ocean if we squint really hard, and the Sea World fireworks spark up the sky on summer nights.
Downstairs is The Man Cave. It’s a two-bedroom apartment filled with rappers, artists, deejays, and everyone in the like. Each apartment has a head coucho. These are the permanent ones. The rest of them dwell here on a semi-permanent basis. They find unique ways to pay rent, and I often smell it as soon as I step outside. Most of us are jobless, carless and penniless. I lucked out by going to school, so I receive my loan and pay rent months in advance. Otherwise, my money would be spent quicker than quarters in a slot machine.
The Man Cave is a sweaty, stinky pile of dudes. Just dudes everywhere, all the time. When there are more than six of them downstairs, one or two usually seeks refuge in the quieter, cleaner sanctuary of my apartment, although it only seems like that when you compare it to downstairs.
In actuality, my apartment is chaotic. We’re weirdos. We’re misfits. We’re two boys and two girls who geek out over The Legend of Korra, read and write fan fiction, host weekly BBQs, prepare for the zombie apocalypse and collect random instruments. If you question the random part, may I ask how many people do you know own a koto? How many people do you know know what a koto is?
Sometimes, well, most times, the boys get on my damn nerves. They’re stubborn, egotistical and just plain childish. And when you tell them these things, they think you’re complimenting them. You have to learn how to talk to them to get them to do what you want. I know that ration and reason are foreign words in this household, so I resort to my tricks. It’s a matter of feeding the ego, letting any one of them think that he’s the alpha-male. I know it’s manipulative, but in these special circumstances, it’s necessary.
But I love my boys. They are my surrogate family. I would not hesitate to wave my finger in any beezy’s face for them. Likewise, they would not hesitate to take my side in any situation, even if I’m wrong. Even though The Great Recession has cast a shadow on the world, it has also brought us all together. So now we’re a band of silly fools; we’re mischievous, broke and loving it.
In general, Linda Vista is not the party spot. You won’t often see herds of good-looking drunk people migrating from bar to bar on weekend nights. In that respect, we feel like we have the neighborhood to ourselves. It’s ours to prowl in the days and nights, and it’s ours to return to after we’ve terrorized some of the other more hip San Diego neighborhoods.
There’s one more thing I must mention about my boys. Completely random, but continues to irk me to no end. And this is for all of you book geeksters out there. You’ll know what I mean.
I’m proud to say that I’ve accumulated a nice collection of books. In fact, I’ve created a little library in my room, organized by genre and everything. Every once in awhile, the boys get inspired to take up book reading. I get excited. I suggest a bevy of books to them, to which they reply “is it cool if I check out our your collection?”
“Um, err…sure,” I say, but I know where this leads. Three months later, the book is accumulating dew and dust somewhere in The Man Cave, untouched, unread. It’s always an awkward situation to ask anyone for a book back, and one thing I’m not proud to say I’ve done before is make up fiblets to justify my reasoning. The most common of them: “I’m writing a paper and want to quote the book.” It’s much harder to use that excuse during the summer; but it’s better than stealing it back, right?