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A Tale of Woe, Artfully Crafted to Amuse Denizens of Texas (or Erika) on a Thursday

December 2, 2010

Okay, so my roommate’s boyfriend (another J, Lord help us all) is having his apartment painted. Very reasonably, my roommate offered to let him stay with us for a few days.

I get along with this guy well enough–we don’t have a great deal in common, but I don’t have a categorical problem with him so long as he treats my roommate well. When he’s over here, we’re completely capable of engaging in small talk for the ten or fifteen minutes before one or both parties retreat to their own rooms.

Last night, I stayed up a bit later than I intended to; I was working on packing and storing my summer clothes, and also *finally* watching Zombieland (OMG! AMAZING! I LOVED IT!). When the movie ended I looked at the time, said “Eep!” and scurried into bed–waking up is always a challenge for me, and I knew that 1:30 was far, far later than my optimal departure for the Land of Nod.

In bed. Covers up. Glasses off. Strobe light puncturing the darkness. Words assaulting me from every angle.

Or, to be quite specific, from the angle of the wall I share with my roommate. That’s the one thing about her boyfriend–when he’s over, he always has the TV up *loud*, and not entirely without good reason. Her room faces the street, and I know from two years living in there that the traffic makes it hard to hear sometimes.

I snuggled in, reminded myself to be nice (after all, until five minutes prior I’d been enjoying a film with both zombie shrieks and shotgun blast intervals hastily turned down), put a pillow over my head, and slipped into a blissful, dreamlike state until morning.

Or, y’know, laid there for an hour pretending that I couldn’t hear EVERY word of the gritty, heart-wrenching tale of two urban youth and the trials of their policeman-come-foster father.

It was then–2:36am, to be excruciatingly precise, because only excruciating precision is possible at that hour–that I became aware of something new. Under my two pillows, I was able to hear a (somewhat muffled) buzzing. It was, in fact, exactly like the buzzing of my work-provided blackberry, accidentally left in the living room. I tried to weight discovering the presumed emergency (um, 2:30, Boss?) against the immediate temperature drop that would ensue if I left the bed. Neither option appealed. Adopting a spirit of compromise, I counted the rings. After all, it was probably a pocket-dial or something.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten.

Was the world ENDING?

Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen. Fourteen. . .

I didn’t even think my phone *was able* to ring continuously. I pulled the pillows off and sat up.

In the clear (albeit chilly) airspace that was the not-nearly-dark-enough of my room, I immediately realized that it was not, in fact, my phone, and noted a quick mental apology for the names I’d been calling my boss.

The only possible explination for the treble/bass combo that was reverberating through the room, creating a rattling counterpoint to the sharply shrill voices of my angst-ridden adolescents, was that someone was snoring.

In the mystical logic of the midnight hours, this added an intolerable level of insult to my injury. My first option, namely, Fire-Bombing The Hell Out Of The Room Next Door, was rejected on practical grounds. It would undoubtedly necessitate moving; even I don’t keep fire-bombs conveniently stashed under my pillow for nighttime incendiary needs.

I decided on a more-or-less-polite-yet-decidedly-passive-aggressive approach; I knocked on the wall. Clearly, the boyfriend had dozed off, and my roommate was so engrossed in the film that she was completely unaware that bits of plaster were cracking off the ceiling from the barrage of sound.

Or alternately, I decided, as no response came, she had become utterly deafened by the cacophony that was happening in that room.

Realizing it was naive of me to assume she could hear my timid scratching, I got out of bed, re-acquired pants, and made my way down the hallway, where I administered knuckle to doorframe with what I found to be an admirable briskness.

No answer. Defying all laws of nature and science, they were BOTH somehow asleep in there.

I needed another option.

Aha! The tv in that room uses the same remote as the one in our living room! Deliverance would shortly be mine!

(Which was reassuring, because the events of The Tell-Tale Heart were quickly transitioning from oh-lawds-the-depravity-of-humanity-creepy-horror to unfortunate-yet-reasonable-the-old-guy-really-was-asking-for-it-probably-kept-the-stupid-tv-turned-up-too levels of inevitability.)

Feeling optimistic for the first time in an hour and eight minutes, I decided to try aiming the remote beam through the crack between our rooms (there’s kind of a skylight/door/wall thing going on there).

Okay, no, I have to be honest–mostly, I just wondered if one *could* get it to read through the crack in the door. Turns out, one (or I, anyway), can not.

Plan B. I returned to the actual entrance-door of the room, snaked my elbow around the edge, and pressed “off” with all the pounds-per-square-inch of fury my pointer finger could muster, then closed my eyes to enjoy the blissful silence that followed.

“YOU’RE NOT MY–ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ–FATHER!”

No, but suddenly a hard left turn to the Dark Side and the ability to force-choke a fool was looking awfully appealing.

I leaned my (throbbing, defeated) forehead against the jamb and contemplated getting a hotel. Then, due to a strange happenstance of positioning and mirror/furniture alignment. . . well, let’s just say I gained a sudden insight into the lives of airport scanner technicians.

Okay, so, here’s the thing. More than anything else, I really didn’t want to invade their room. Besides being a gross breach of privacy, we’re all adults, and adults, well, adults tend to sleep in less clothing than is otherwise considered socially acceptable.

I’m just not that close with my roommate, and certainly not with her boyfriend. Although now, it appeared, we kind of *were*.

Desperately yearning to find closure for both my eyes and this post, and bowing to the inevitable (and the probably-should-have-done-this-from-the-beginning), I stumbled into the room and batted blindly for the power button on the television.

You guessed, it, folks.

I found the “volume up” key.

Time for that third cup of coffee, I think.

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