Let's talk about Facebook for a second. Really, what this site is, is jackass repellent. When I say "jackass repellent" I don't mean "repellent from jackasses" (but I understand how you could misinterpret it that way). I mean "repellent from being called a jackass." I have people that I once called "friend." I guess they once called me "friend" too, because the internet says so. However, somewhere along the line, we stopped being "friends", but were too proud to admit it. That's where Facebook comes in. It's like a backwards race to see who will unfriend the other person first. The first to unfriend is labeled a "jackass." Now our relationship is reduced to me halfheartedly clicking the word "Like" when they post something that I don't really care about, such as the cute trick their dog just did, and them occasionally posting the word "lol" when I get around to posting one of my thoughts. The internet would become a very dark and disturbing place if Facebook learned how to sense adverbs and apply them to how you do something. I'm picturing something like "Hugo accidently clicked 'Like' on your stupid status update because he actually meant to click 'Like' on his friend's drunken photo from the night before that his friend thought would be a good idea to post for the world - and future employers - to see." Yeah... that would suck. It's funny how I'm stressed about that happening when these people aren't even my friends anymore. Oh, the lengths I go to avoid being called a jackass.
Enough about imaginary friends, though. Let's talk about real friends. I'll start with my roommates.
I currently live in an apartment above an ice cream store. I have 3 other roommates (Nate, Jeff, Aaron) and one that will be moving in when he decides to stop living in his parents' house (JJ). We are all distinctly different from each other.
We'll start with Nate. Nate is the one that owns the ice cream shop downstairs. I don't know if he actually owns it, but he says he does. I'm pretty sure his parents own it. He's 21, about 5'10", a little pudgy, red hair, and one of the most boisterous and flamboyant people I've ever met. Many people think that he's gay (he really fits the template) but he adamantly (originally spelt adamately) says that he isn't (and I promise he isn't at all. It's just funny to tease him about it). I often tell him that he's as feminine as you can get without setting off my gaydar (which is properly calibrated after growing up in San Francisco). He does have quite the fanclub up on campus, though. Females, mostly.
He's an opera singer - a soprano (yep. Male and soprano) and he shows it off often. I'll often hear him downstairs in his shop singing at full volume when he thinks no one can hear him. It's hard not to hear him. The guy that owns the Italian restaurant next door complains about him all the time. That's some singing power when you can sing through a wall, through about 3 feet of space, and through another wall and piss off an italian. I don't care if opera is or isn't your thing, that's skill right there.
When Nate's at home, he is in his underwear. Always. We're not talking about boxers that legitimately cover things up. I'm talking about whitie-tighties plus some short leg-sleeves (I don't know what to call them). On a scale of "1" to "naked", he's floating at about an 8 or a 9. I'm a big advocate for nakie time, but not constantly. Not in front of other dudes. Not when I'm trying to eat dinner, or have a date over or anything like that.
Nate gets very dramatic about small problems, and I can tell when he's upset and how upset he is based on the volume of his ambient activities. Did he set the bowl on the table, or did he dramatically pound it as if to say "HOW DARE YOU GET IN THE WAY OF MY BOWL, TABLE!!" Did he open the drawer, or did he rip it open as if he were trying to catch the dish and the spoon doing the nasty? Did he shut the door, or did he try to throw it across the apartment? Did he turn on the AC, or did he punch it? Did he take a shower, or did he... dramatically take a shower? I use these tools to determine what kind of mood Nate is in.
Once I feel I have an accurate estimate for the amount of dramatic that Nate is that day, I begin to play my games. I'll see how many new responsibilities I can stack on before I send him into tears. "Nate, the water pressure seems low, can you fix it?" -he'll being breathing dramatically- "Nate, my window fell out of its place and broke." -I can physically see his heartbeat pick up- "Nate, your singing sometimes sucks." I see how far it will go before he dramatically snaps and begins his whirlwind of red-hot, flamboyant emotion. I haven't actually seen him cry, but I often notice that his light is on until 4 or 5am. I like to imagine that he's huddled in a corner in the fetal position, rocking back and forth and quietly singing the female part of opera songs to himself while sitting in his underwear.
Then there's Jeff. Jeff is 22, and about 5'7". Jeff went bald when he was about 17 years old, and is silently miffed about it. He is hands-down the most cautious person I've ever met in my entire life. Making a mistake to him is like knowingly nuking a colony of baby penguins. We were roommates a few years ago and just recently decided to live together again. He moved in in May. When he moved in, he had the goal to buy 1 CD every month (a way of him giving back to artists and producers that he likes. A strange goal in today's iTunes driven world, but you're starting to get an image of what he's like).
Jeff researched which CD he was going to buy. I don't mean researched like looked at a list and chose one from an artist that he likes or anything like that. I mean he sat down and read about each individual member of a band, how they all met, what their motivation was for writing songs, why they chose certain songs to be in the album, etc. He borrowed all of JJ's CDs and listened to them (but only 30 seconds of each song to avoid copyright infringement AND so that he wouldn't ruin a potential purchase for himself). I'd say he listened to at least 30 CDs. He would come into my room and talk about his decisions. For a while, Neon Bible by Arcade Fire was at the top of his list, but he was afraid that it was too sacrilegious for him (I'm still not sure why). I don't remember who won the $14.99 decision. The point is he's so cautions that by the time he decided to buy a CD, it was June and time for him to start the whole process over again. I tried to explain to him that if his time is worth $10 an hour, that he spent the equivalent of $1000 on a $14.99 decision. I don't think he understood the implications.
That pretty much explains Jeff. He talks himself out of liking girls for the most petty and dumb reasons I can imagine. Some examples (that sound exaggerated but really aren't) include, "the freckle on her left cheek is 3 degrees off from ideal." "She wore a green shirt the other day and I don't like green." "She wears DC shoes and I'm really more of a Vans guy."
Jeff is the whitest guy I know. He is very careful at pronouncing each and every sound in a word - especially his Rs. Not a bad thing in and of itself, it's just funny to see him talk to the southerners around here and see the difference in styles of communication.
Aaron is the newest addition to the group. He moved in like two weeks ago. There is a lot of mystery surrounding him. He works (manages?) the local Hardee's (aka Carl's Jr.). Supposedly he has already been married and divorced and he's 25. He hasn't talked about it with me at all, but other people say that he's talked to them about it. I'll remain undecided on the subject until he says something directly.
Aaron is a dude. That's probably the best way to describe him. He rides a skateboard everywhere, talks like he lives on a California beach and is obsessed with "chicks". He will check out any girl - tall, short, fat, skinny, old, toddler, it doesn't matter. He will legitimately check them out and almost always come up with the conclusion that they are "cute and cool." I don't know how he does it, but he manages it every time.
He spends all of his free time on Facebook, adding random people as friends and then chatting with them while looking at their pictures. I'm pretty sure he doesn't know most of them in real life.
The real thing that I find so amusing about Aaron is his social skills. One-on-one, he knows how to interact. When you get him in a group, his "good idea" and "bad idea" filters combine and cancel each other out so that he's just left with an "idea" filter. If it's an "idea" he says it. If it's not an "idea" then he doesn't say it. He doesn't seem to understand that people have histories with each other. For example, someone made a joke about a rhino and it was funny because Nate was in a play called Rhinoceros that he hated being in. Aaron was not around for the play and didn't understand the joke, but still laughed with the group as if he did, and then interrupted the laughter by saying (in his California surfer-dude voice), "Haha, yeah Nate! What are your thoughts on hippos?" And then continued laughing harder than before while everyone stopped and just stared at him. It was like a scene straight out of The Office. Magical.
Now don't misunderstand. I sit here and make fun of my friends, but everything I've said here, I've said to them. There are no secrets and no feelings will be hurt if they ever find this. I make fun of them, but I'm glad they're my friends. I'm especially glad that they're all distinctly unique from each other to where I feel like I'm in a movie when I interact with them.