Putting This Delicately

, , , , , | Learning | July 11, 2018

I live in the girl’s dorm, and we aren’t really supposed to do washing for people who don’t live here. A shirt here, a pair of pants there is not a problem when combined with our own, but people have been taking up entire wash cycles that only have someone else’s clothing, most likely due to the cheaper prices than public laundromats.

When the new term started, there were complaints of a girl sometimes using two washing machines at once. One was full of girl clothes, the other full of boy clothes. One day, I needed to do laundry, and everything was running except one, but it had clothes in it. I waited, but no one came so I took those clothes out. It was full of boy clothes. I was pissed I couldn’t do my laundry because someone did someone else’s clothes.

I pulled them out, and then I found someone odd: a delicate bag. I was like, did she seriously put her own delicates there so she could claim it’s her stuff plus someone else’s? Yes, I opened it up — I know it wasn’t right — but that’s when I found curious things. A binder and a packer. I zipped it back up and finished removing the rest quickly, and then my own laundry.

She came back as I was finishing and looked from me to the basket curiously before saying thanks and leaving with them. When I left, she was still waiting for the elevator, and we rode up together while she looked at me curiously.

A week later, I felt I had to be honest about looking into the clothes. He wasn’t mad, but felt very relieved that someone had known and kept it quiet.

By the end of the entire year, he actually came out. Unfortunately, the university didn’t allow him to move to the boy’s dorm for the second year because it wasn’t legal yet, but he was fine with it, because he had friends here, and then he was the only boy who could spend the night with his girlfriend in the dorm.

To Sleep, Perchance To Downward Dog

, , , , , , | Learning | July 5, 2018

(My roommate and I are best friends, and as such, we’ll end up staying up much later than we should just laughing and hanging out. Our sleep schedule is kind of messed up, but we’re trying to fix it. Our grades are good despite this, I should point out. One of our other “friends” — really just a girl whose existence and company we tolerate at times because she’s unbearable to be around for long — of her own accord, decides that we can’t be left to our own devices and need a “motherly figure,” as she put it. I’ve pulled an all-nighter to finish studying for a test. It’s eight am, and I have just eaten breakfast and crawled into bed for a two-hour nap, exhausted, when the girl starts pounding on our door. We ignore her at first.)

Girl: *peeking through a crack in our window blinds — the dorm rooms are a converted motel* “I can see that you’re in there! Open the door! NOW!”

Me: *mumbling through my pillow* “This isn’t happening.”

Roommate: “I’ll get it.” *she opens the door* “What do you want, [Girl]?”

Girl: “Get up! We’re going to morning yoga! I’ve signed us up, and since you guys obviously can’t take care of yourselves, I’m going to make you. Get dressed! Let’s go!”

(I snap. I’m less than nice when sleep-deprived, and she’s been pulling this kind of crap for a while now. It isn’t a nice gesture; she is going about it as if she is our savior or something and it’s a burden to do it.)

Me: *face still buried in pillow* “First of all, you can’t make us do jack-diddly squat. And second, I swear, if you don’t leave us the h*** alone, I will personally throw all 90 pounds of you off of the balcony and take my happy a** right back to bed.”

(I didn’t get to see her face, but my friend described it as “thunderstruck.” She sputtered and quickly left, thankfully leaving us alone for the rest of the semester. We honestly weren’t bad enough to warrant the need for someone to “fix” us. Our sleep schedule was a little off, that was it. Oh, and I made an A on the test! That all-nighter was definitely worth it.)

What A Soap Opera

, , , | Related | July 2, 2018

(My mom and I have come for an arranged weekend of activities at the university I’ll be attending in two months. I stay in the dorms while she stays at a nearby hotel. I have, unfortunately, let her pack for the both of us. We immigrated to the US three or four years ago, and our habits and customs regarding basic things are a bit different, though I have not yet fully realized just HOW different. Mom does all the shopping for all of us at home and buys only the most basic toiletries. I’ve never even been given a chance to go to a store by myself before, so I just make do as best I can with basic things I need. When I open the toiletries she packed for me, I discover shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and brush, deodorant, a razor, and nothing else.)

Me: “We need to go to a drugstore to pick up some things.”

Mom: “What? What things? You have everything there.”

Me: “I need at least a bar of soap or something.”

Mom: “What on earth for? There should be soap provided at the dorm’s sink dispenser things. Did you look?”

Me: “No, not for washing hands. I mean to shower with…” *long confused pause* “You know, to wash your body while you’re in the shower?”

Mom: “What are you even talking about? What on earth does anyone need with soap in the shower? When you wash your hair with shampoo, the runoff that comes down from that just automatically cleans everything else! You don’t need soap to wash anything!”

Me: “…”

(I just had no words. Though I didn’t even know about body- wash back then, I’d at least been using bar soap regularly since around puberty. I hadn’t realized just how backwards my parents were. My mom was 44 years old at the time this happened. Yes, I got my soap in the end.)

Bros Before Woes

, , , , , | Friendly | June 12, 2018

(I am a bisexual female, and one of my guy friends knows this. He also isn’t exactly the brightest bulb. Right now he’s discussing the “bro code,” and how in his mind it applies to me, too, since I can develop crushes on girls.)

Friend: “So, do you like anyone right now?”

Me: “I do have a crush on [Girl], but I’m pretty sure it’s unrequited because I think she’s straight, and she’s engaged to [Girl’s Fiancé]. I’m okay with that, though, because I also want to be friends with her.”

Friend: “So, bro code says I can’t hit on her.”

Me: *wondering if he even heard half of what I said* “I don’t think bro code is the reason you shouldn’t hit on her. Remember, she has a fiancé.”

Friend: “But I can’t hit on her because you like her.”

Me: *giving in* “Fine, yes. Don’t hit on her because of bro code. It would be rude to me.”

(I don’t think he ever figured out that bro code played no factor in this situation, but on the plus side, I think he also never figured out who [Girl] was, so I doubt her fiancé ever had to worry about me apparently having more “claim” over his future wife’s potential suitors than he did.)

These Finals Are A Piece Of Cake

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | June 3, 2018

My first year of university, my dorm floor is pretty much all first-years like myself, living alone for the first time, trying to figure out what we want to do, and desperately missing our families and friends. The very first day we move in, one girl at the far end of the hall makes it a point to ask everyone when their birthday is. We figure she’s into astrology or something, but lo and behold, whenever someone’s birthday rolls around, she has a cake or cookies ready, and leads the entire dorm floor in singing happy birthday. When we ask her about it, her response is that you don’t stop celebrating birthdays just because you’re technically a grown-up, and that we need reasons to celebrate now more than ever, now that we’re all living away from our families and stressed out by classes and trying to learn how to be adults.

As the year goes on, my dorm floor gets closer and closer. By Christmas, we’re all studying together, partying together, making exhausted Sunday brunch together, and going to each other for homework or relationship help or advice, or just to rant. The girl’s birthday is in February, and we noticed that although she bakes for everyone else, she doesn’t usually have much more than a single cookie or a bite or two of cake. One of my roommates asks her about it, and she admits that she doesn’t really like cake; she prefers fruit pie, but isn’t very good at baking it. It’s clear what we have to do.

The girl’s birthday falls right in the middle of midterms, so we are all up late studying, anyway. As soon as midnight hits, we knock on her door, wait for the, “Come in,” and the entire dorm floor files into her room, my roommate holding the cherry pie he made, lit with candles. All forty of us sing her happy birthday, and my roommate happily presents her with the pie. She is almost in tears by the end of it, and admits that she was so stressed with exams, she’d decided she wasn’t going to bother celebrating her own birthday. That won’t do, either, so we decide we’ll go out and celebrate together in a week, once midterms are done, and we stick to it.

That’s years past now, but I’m still in touch with her, and she’s still extraordinary, as a doctor and as a person, always thinking of how she can help other people. For me, though, nothing ever tops the eighteen-year-old girl trying to offer comfort and continuity to a bunch of other stressed and frightened students, and how she turned us from a bunch of strangers into a second family, and made our dorm a home!

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