Last week, I received a card in the mail. On the cover was an obese man in a thong, mid golf swing, on a beach. I laughed out loud, as anticipated by the return address, but was flabbergasted to find a full page letter inside.
It was from my friend and college roommate, Chrissy D. H. (henceforth, CDH) She loathes writing as much as I loathe the phone. She not only dislikes letters, but emails, IMs and Facebooks too. So, it's really no surprise we've been in and out (mostly out) of touch over the last 17 years or so.
Aside: She was, however, featured on this blog a few years ago after she passed along some camera pics of her approaching Snoop Dog in Vegas. He actually said to her, "What's crack-a-lackin', baby?"
Needless to say, her letter was a gem, chock full of updates and tid bits of nostalgia:
Remember when we'd be hungover and panting outside of Papa Gino's at 10:30 a.m. begging for them to open?
Yes! Yes! Of course I remember! I've been digging through a lot of old journals lately too, working my way back. CDH is in a lot of them so I have to tell some of the stories.
She and I couldn't have been two more different creatures, but for some reason it worked. We just clicked, not only as roommates but as friends as well.
1990, Lammers Hall, WSC
On one side of the dorm room: Ceiling-to-floor Top Gun and Doug Flutie posters. On the other: U2, the Beatles, REM. On CDH's nightstand: novels, a hummel, a massive jug of white zinfandel and Marlboro Lights. On mine: A broken alarm clock, door knocker earrings, a three-year old lipgloss, and a ragged journal. And Marlboro Lights and a broken lighter. On our radio/cassette player: Barry Manilow and the Replacements were constantly going head-to-head.
Over our front door, CDH hung her Xeroxed statement on the status quo: "If assholes could fly, this place would be an airport" -- which was true at least 40 percent of the time. During the holidays, she hung up a red pillow, only the first in the trio, that said "Ho." Which was also true at least 40 percent of the time.
Still, for someone so opinionated and bold, she was also the most easily-embarrassed person I'd ever met.
1989, Freshman Year, Dining Commons (before we were roommates)
CDH, our friend Amy and I headed to the caf for dinner. We were all making enormous salads that night. When CDH reached for some pita bread, she somehow dropped her entire tray on the floor. The whole incident took less than 8 seconds and the caf was so loud and crowded that few people even saw it happen. As we went to help her clean it up, we noticed CDH was already gone. We spotted her outside of the caf windows walking briskly back toward the dorm, head hung in shame.
The following night, Amy and I went to get CDH for dinner and found her huddled over, stirring some Oodles of Noodles in a hot pot.
ME: What's going on, Yoda?
CDH: Oh, I am never ever going back in there again after what happened. Can you just smuggle me out some bagels?
We could tell by her eyes that it was futile to convince her otherwise, so we just lined our pockets with sesame bagels and low-fat cream cheese for a few weeks until she relented.
Aside II: Once, when she was in high school, she was completely mortified when her mother fell down at the grocery store. After whispering frantically to no avail -- "Get up. Get UP -- she walked away, not realizing that her mother had actually broken both her arms.
1991, Lammers Hall, The Avoidance Factor of Love
(Amy, me and CDH and the massive jug of White Z, 1991)
Those campus romantic dramas -- some instigated, some unavoidable, all inevitable when you're all squished together in a world smaller than a city block. While I was embroiled in a particularly heinous one, CDH left me a card on my bed. On the cover was a brick wall. Inside she wrote, "The next time you think it's a good idea to talk to boys -- any boys -- bang your head against this brick wall until the feeling goes away." I still have the card.
When she was similarly afflicted, we would sit in the common area and play Boggle (or cards, I can't remember). She'd have the mammoth jug of white z and I'd have Keystone Light or some other cheap swill on hand. The whole idea was to screen incoming calls on the common phone. When it inevitably rang, I would rush to pick it up before anyone else: "No, Chrissy's not here. I think she went to El Italia."
Aside III: Perhaps a strange foreshadowing of the "I think she's at the Egg & I" incident circa mid-90s on Cape Cod?
Later, we'd chain smoke and "Celebrate the Moments of our Lives" with some General Foods International coffees -- toasting to "the avoidance factor of love."
Well-Pressed & Coiffed, Curled Bangs
Most moved among campus in baggy sweats and baseball hats. This was unheard of for CDH. First, showering was not optional. Regardless of a prior late night, she'd barrel down the hallway, shower caddy in one hand, middle finger up on the other should anyone dare to address her in the AM. Second, she always had perfectly pressed slacks and blouses with matching belts, purses and shoes. Make up was always on, her hair perfectly coiffed into cascading mushroom curls with bangs curled under with a curling brush.
Aside IV: One of the first times she actually wore jeans, we all went out to Kelleher's. The night quickly devolved and we ended up back in our apartment dancing to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Then, for whatever reason (alcohol), five of us (CDH not included of course) decided to strip down and crack each other up by posing like underwear models in a Bradlees circular. Hearing the commotion, some of the boys from next door walked in, which sent several of us diving into the corner, turning our Pier One Papasan chair into an instant bunker.
So, the stories could go on and on.
Since CDH shocked the hell out of me by writing a letter, I shocked her right back by picking up the phone and calling her at work: "I can't believe you called!" "I can't believe you wrote!"
(Goy, Amy, CDH, Cherelle and me @ Amy's bachelorette, 1996)
So, we've made plans to get together for an overnight. CDH, Amy, Goy and I. She still doesn't drive long distances (she's out of state)..some things never change..and for some if it I'm grateful. If we have to put her on a Peter Pan bus or yellow moped, we'll meet her somewhere in the middle.
So, today, in lieu of a playlist, I'd like to dedicate the entire "About Last Night Soundtrack" to CDH. Rock on with your bad self!