If These Walls Could Talk, Part IV

(Read Part III)

About a month ago, his girlfriend came to visit. It was around 8:30 at night, and I decided to go get a snack at the student union before studying for my “Self-Paced Kinesiology” exam.

Hey, I never said I was one of those guys from The Big Bang Theory. And yes, I am aware that using them as my example of “smart people” suggests I should spend less time watching TV and more time studying. But let’s not lose sight of how I’m the victim here.

Partly motivated by my desire to give them a little privacy and partly driven by my need to procrastinate, I didn’t come back to the room until 10:00, at which point I was planning just to grab my books and head down to the study lounge. I had my hand on the doorknob and was about to turn it when I stopped dead in my tracks, frozen by what sounded like the laboring of mattress springs.

“He’s not,” I said to myself, holding out hope the two of them had installed a basketball court in the hour-and-a-half I was gone and were now squeakily practicing defensive close-outs. That illusion was shattered when I heard him declare: “This is awesome!”

No one likes doing close-outs that much.

I can’t explain why I was so uncomfortable that night. After all, I had willingly cracked the window of opportunity for them. I suppose I felt like the dad who says he’s fine with his kid living with someone and yet won’t let them share a bed when they visit; rationally, he knows they’re sleeping together, but coming face-to-face with the forensic evidence of said activity is a little too much for him to handle.

Since I’m not my roommate’s dad, the only fallout from this episode was a request that he hang a tie on the doorknob when engaged in similar activities in the future. Back then, I didn’t stop to ponder the frequency with which our esteemed predecessors would’ve needed to break out their own neckwear on such decidedly non-formal occasions. But times have changed. Take 70 years worth of guys with even average looks, charm, and libido, and I’m living in the setting for more “adult situations” than TV-MA. The unseemly side of drunkenness is no longer the only reason Lysol has shot to the top of my Christmas list.

Of course, having a girlfriend isn’t a prerequisite for having a libido. In fact, the latter may actually grow stronger when there is no former and you’re left to craft mental images or, you know, peruse your mom’s Victoria’s Secret catalogue. Or so I’ve heard. What happens next is as reliable as the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and 6:00 p.m. King of Queens reruns. Multiply this by 140 guys, living here seven days a week, for nine months apiece.

I need a calculator and a bag to breathe in.

But wait, that wouldn’t even include summer sports camps. How did I forget those horny little bastards? More importantly, what surface in here isn’t tainted? The chair? The desk? The mattress? I can’t assume any of them have been spared.

Oh crap. The mattress. The mattress. Last year, they stuck my hand in hot water while I was sleeping, and I obviously peed all over myself. Haha. Hilarious. Classic. And how does something become classic? By having people do it over and over and over again. But you never hear someone say: “Hosing off a mattress—classic.” That’s because no one hoses off mattresses. To hell with bringing our own linens; this bacteria trap needs urinal cakes.

There’s a bead of sweat trickling down my forehead, and my heart sounds like it’s peppering the wall of a racquetball court. I need to slow down. Take a deep, cleansing … alright, there’s something on my leg. I felt it move. Just now. Right above my left ankle. You don’t just imagine that. It’s probably bed bugs. Why not? We’ve got every other form of pestilence in here.

OK, I have to get some fresh air. I don’t care if it’s dark and 10 below out there. This has supplanted the afternoon my freshman-year roommate asked me to leave so he could have some “naked time” as the most traumatic experience of my life. The only thing keeping me from a full-on meltdown is the humor of him not realizing the filthy horrors his bare butt must have been touching. That guy wouldn’t have thought twice about sitting anywhere, even like that.

I, in turn, choose not to think twice about the implications of what I just said and will instead leave this room immediately, without pausing to collect any personal effects, possibly never to return.

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