Thursday, March 31, 2005

Contrary to popular opinion, it is NOT fun to stay at the YMCA

I'm trying to forget it, actually. Blocking painful memories is A-OK in my book. Y'know, intellectual elitist assholes, artistic elitist assholes... (and that was just my classmates. Just wait till I start talking about professors) MANY things to brighten the day of your average uber-poor mal-adjusted socially autistic college student.


I digress.

I won't get into the details, I'll just say that I didn't get the financial support my parents (read: dad) promised me for school. I lived off of whatever I earned working 25 hrs a week on campus. Rent, food, clothes, books, you name it. The point is--I was really fricking poor. I was poor in ways I hope most people never have knowledge of. My poorness could fill volumes. Washing clothes in the shower stall/cutting school to do operas to get money to get home for break/becoming a psychological guinea pig for lunch money levels of poorness.

Oh yeah, and I also spent two years living at the YMCA, as testimony to my intense poorness. My room was on the sixteenth floor, something less than an efficency but better than a cot at the homeless shelter. It was a bed jammed up against the coiled old-school hot water heater that hadn't been dusted since FDR was in office, a small desk, plastic molded chair, dresser and a minifridge. I payed an extra hundred dollars a month for a room with a bathroom attached. Yeah, I could have gotten away with just $325 for a room with a community bathroom but first of all, even I, with my advanced ninja skills in poorness, have the limits of my endurance, and the community bathroom my freshman year in the dorms was where I drew that line. Second, it's one thing to share a restroom/shower room with a bunch of oversexed gross and thieving teenagers. It's another to share a bathroom with the kind of people who live at the YMCA.

I'm not saying this to be prejudicial in any way towards people down on their luck. I did, after all, wash my clothes in a shower stall for two years (do you have any idea how STIFF your clothes get when you do that? Dryers are your FRIEND). But most of the people there didn't impress themselves upon me as being the most mentally stable individuals in the world.

Once, I did a favor (no good deed goes unpunished) for a deaf guy living in the building--He was struggling with six bags of groceries, so I helped him carry them from the subway up to his room. An hour later, he knocks on my door and asks if he can pay me for sex. When I say no (and for some reason I was trying to be nice about it), he asks if he can pay me $10 for a hand job. I only mention that he was deaf because after my unpolished understanding of sign language failed me, he wrote all this down in my notebook for History of Dramatic Literature, and that was a little weird. Of course, I'm not sure they covered signs for sexual acts in my junior high enrichment courses.

There was some dude who tried to break down my door. He actually did get into the room, and I was like EXCUSE ME!!?? (still with the weird politeness stuff), and I chased him out of the room. He dropped a pillow case outside my door with his loot from other rooms. It all comes back to History of Dramatic Literature, you see. The only reason why I was home was because I was exhausted and skipped HDL to sleep in.

Then there was the harmless but strange lady who had a Cabbage Patch Doll that she carried with her at all times like a baby. She even had an umbrella handle stroller for it. When she was eating down in the common room, she'd sit the Cabbage Patch Doll at the table with her and would make a place setting for him. I'm not sure what was up with that. What was even odder was a couple years ago I saw another lady in a restraunt in Pittsburgh doing the same thing.

So, uh, yeah. College--really poor, lived with creepy people that I did my best to avoid to the end of becoming a hermit in my 12x17 room. Didn't really have any friends, didn't really have the social skills to try to MAKE friends (still don't, really--my disingenuine nature with people I don't know is another story for another post).

Oh yeah, and a note to my former classmates: You're not Kevin Smith. You shouldn't try to BE him. Nor is he the be-all, end-all of writing. Go find your OWN writing style. There OK, I feel better about that.

Now I'm going to lock college away in the back of my mind again for a little bit if that's OK with y'all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really appreciate you opening yourself up and sharing so much of your college life. I knew a lady once that actually had a belly like she was preggers but she wasn't. She had lost her child at birth and her mind snapped and she was commited to a mental hospital. Her mind mader her belly look pregnant. I don't know why I wrote about that...


9:08 AM  

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