When I was in college, I imagined that I would form friendships with a huge group of people, relationships I would effortlessly maintain for years to come. I imagined we would stay up late and complain over comically huge glasses of wine. I imagined we would have dance parties and laugh for hours. I imagined my younger years would be a lot more Sex and the City and a lot less me writing in a library for 9 hours straight and only seeing my three wonderful roommates if it was Plath-related.
In the end, I got what I wanted. I now live with 7 amazing human beings who are consistently more energetic and social than I am. What’s more, this week has seen a guest into our midst: Giuseppe. Of course, we didn’t see him for the first few days he was here due to a lingering illness. In fact, we weren’t sure he was in the house at all until he burst through the Mud Room door days later. It’s been nice to break bread with him and laugh at his timeless The Princess Bride jokes. And with the return of our house parents (Claudia & Michael), we have at last outgrown the kitchen table.
A friend of mine asked me two very good questions yesterday: “How many house dinners do you guys have a week? Do you ever just order pizza?” To be quite honest, I eat with my roommates almost every night. We might not always cook and share a meal, but we congregate in the kitchen long enough for two or three waves of people to come and fix themselves a plate and share their day and a glass of wine. For the record, we do order pizza every now and then. We seem to have a penchant for il Panino’s less than stellar crust.
Yesterday wasn’t a pizza night, though. After getting home from work, I fully intended to continue editing my manuscript for a few hours. There’s that saying about best laid plans, I think. The kitchen was full of people and two loaves of banana bread in the oven, only to then be made fuller as the day brought everyone home. It’s hard to remember what we talk about when the conversation darts from place to place so easily. The only thing that sticks out is Elzerie’s impatience with the banana bread and its subsequent falling apart, which doesn’t matter because it was delicious and fluffier than Michael’s recipe.
From there came Gizem’s traditional “pulling-things-out-of-the-fridge-before-it-goes-bad” tactic, meaning that there was a whole host of vegetables thrown together in a chopping whirlwind. Claudia and I jumped in and there was soon enough tilapia, asparagus, and fresh salad to feed all 9 of us and a few guests. While we waited, Elzerie put together a beautiful snack platter that made the cheese lovers in the house (all of us) very happy and Bill whipped up the deadly chocolate martinis.
When it was finally time to eat, the table was set in minutes by eager hands. We fill up a room and don’t eat until everyone has been served. As one might imagine, conversation flows easily in this house. There are life stories to tell, sex jokes to crack, astute observations to be made. We have it all here. After dinner there is dessert and after dessert, Brennan digs up a board game: Dixit.
It’s not unusual for me to eschew games in favor of watching, especially in a house where a thousand things are happening at once. I need to observe and catalog, which is why I am very glad that my martini-addled brain was aware enough to more or less live-tweet the evening to my friends. Looking back on the texts now are about the level of hilarity that I expected. There’s no need to linger on the many, many, many spelling errors and grammar mistakes that were made.
At some point after the game was won (by Theresa, I think), I was voluntold to lead a writing exercise, a thing that is already difficult to do when sober. Then again, 2-martini-Bailey is game for just about anything. We wound up writing an Exquisite Corpse, a fun exercise that allows people to respond to the sentence of the person before but no one else. I admit that I am very pleased with our results:
Once upon a time, in a big, beautiful house…
A plot was hatched at the end of one long lick.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Dreaming of their children, they wished the same love
and happiness they enjoyed for their brief moment in time.
They held each other’s hands and they jumped off the cliff.
“Hey darling,” he said, turning to his companion.
“Did you remember to turn the gas off before we jumped?”
“Don’t worry, a bit of a tan will do us well,”
they said and burst into flames
and Jesus came down to smite them.
We do one more exercise about faults that we cherish in others or ourselves, though writing gives way to conversation quicker than it does actual writing. That’s to be expected, of course. It warms my heart to see how different we all are, but then how similar. All of these people from different walks of life to only show me how universal the human condition is. But I guess that’s a little too philosophical for a blog post I started without a cup of coffee.
The night winds down with Theresa making me laugh so hard my ribs hurt and Michael leading us through a fascinating conversation about Burning Man. When I go to the kitchen to put away my glass (the one I accidentally flipped over and nearly stained the table with wine but didn’t), I find it has already been cleaned. All I need to do is go to bed. What a concept.
Some mornings I wake up and nothing is in the kitchen except a hot pot of coffee. Some mornings Gizem is making enough pancakes to feed everyone in the house twice over. Some mornings Michael and Elzerie are dancing to “The Circle of Life” cranked up as far as Google Home will let it go. It’s hard to go to work on days like that. In fact, it’s hard to do anything but sit in the presence of these people who make me laugh and teach me something new every day.
How grateful I am for them and our grand adventure.