That very special roommate

WANTED: ROOMMATE TO SHARE PARTLY FURNISHED HOUSE in good location with earnest journalist - or perhaps only with his possessions because he is never home. Rent includes water, garbage disposal, frozen turkey and a pair of used inline skates, size 8, which I think are in the closet. Great place for student, artist or other misfit.


"Hi, you advertised for a roommate?"


"Could you tell me a little about the, um, the 'frozen turkey' that is included in the rent?"

Oh, right. That's a turkey we've had in the freezer for - oh, gotta be seven years now. A previous roommate got it for Thanksgiving but it never got cooked, I guess. So what do you do? You can't throw away a frozen turkey.


We thought about hacking it up and feeding it to the garbage disposal - and I must say I am extremely proud of our fine garbage disposal - but that seemed a bit extreme. So we keep it as an emergency backup turkey. Believe me, if you have any need for a rock-solid, well aged frozen turkey, this is the place for you.

"I'll keep that in mind. The ad says 'partly furnished.' Does that mean it's decorated?"

Well, I'd say it's been pretty weak on decoration since my old roommate took down the chart of sexually transmitted diseases - she's a nursing student. She did leave behind a book on midwifery, though, with a very good section on technique during baby delivery, which I find fascinating. So there is that.

"Book on baby delivery. That's good."

And downstairs we have a mad dog poster that hung in the sports department of the Philadelphia Inquirer for many years, featuring a close-up of an obviously deranged dog ready to attack. It's an arresting image. We keep it by the front door. But none of your typical girlie beer posters. We are adults, after all.

"Do you smoke? Is there smoking in the apartment?"

I would have to say no, aside from the occasional hibachi fire.

"Oh, you have parties?"

Sometimes. You'll probably agree when you see it that the kitchen roof is the coolest party venue in three cities, and it holds about 15 people. Even more since the landlord filled the hole.


Christmas lights.

"Christmas lights?"

Yes. We have Christmas lights around the ceilings of several rooms. Unless you have some objection, of course. I find the quality of their light is just, oh, so much more elegant than that of decorative lamps. Plus a string of 100 goes for five bucks.


Well, we have a couple, um, inflatable mascots that can be easily deflated and stored away when company comes over. We did have a cat, but the poor thing found its way through one of the furnace registers and, well, that's an ugly story.

"How's the heat?"

I don't know. We've never turned it on.

"How old did you say you were?"

Look, it's really a great place except that the kitchen has leprosy and we need a vacuum cleaner. We do have an excellent garbage disposal, did I mention that? And we're getting rid of the lawn-mower engine within the next month, definitely, so we'll have lots more space in the living room...


© Rob Laymon 2002

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