21 Apr 2011

Oh. My. God.

This is a random picture I found online of a
dorm room in Rundle Hall. The man in the
picture isn't me. Or Heidi.
This blogging thing has finally paid off!

A week ago, my roommate from first-year at the University of Calgary - Heidi - sent me a Facebook Message asking for my mailing address. My best guess as to what she was sending? Proof that she could blackmail me.

I didn't leap to that conclusion because Heidi is some kind of crazy bitch. Rather, I figured she was going to blackmail me because I really, really had it coming and owed her some payback.

You see, Heidi and I were strangers who were assigned to live together in a single room in residence. Little did she know, she'd have to share a space the size of a shoe box with someone who was mentally ill. I wasn't technically mentally ill, but it's the only non-shameful way to explain why I was such a disastrous roommate.

We were sort of like The Odd Couple. Heidi was a pretty and charming nursing student who liked to paint, drink Growers Cider, hang out with her friends from Drumheller, and prove to anyone who asked (or didn't) that she could do the splits. Then there was me - the uncouth Communications student who liked to braid her arm hair, drink - well - anything, hang out with the TV, and couldn't touch her toes if her life depended on it (my inflexibility is so bad that I even took part in a study done by the university's Kinesiology department on the issue. That's nothing to be proud of, and yet I smile as I recall all those future sports therapists huddling around me in awe as I showed off my limited range of motion).

Where Heidi's half of the room was very tidy a la Felix Ungar, I was Oscar Madison - slob extraordinaire - that is, if Oscar liked to buy vintage clothes and put up posters from John Hughes movies. My junk possessions literally created a line down the middle of the room. You see, I was "considerate" enough not to let my mound of shit go onto her side. Never mind the fact that when you opened the door, you were greeted with my piles of CDs and dirty clothes. Never mind that Heidi pretty much could never have her friends over for fear of being humiliated. Never mind that I had probably created some kind of health and fire hazard that she had to sleep in every night.

The other thing she got to put up with? The whole fact that I never went to class. Oh, sure - each day I had intentions to take advantage of the higher education my parents I had paid for. But then the alarm would go off and I'd be bagged from a late night of watching The Jerry Springer Show and then I'd remember that I didn't technically have to go unless there was a test. And so I'd keep sleeping ... without bothering to turn off the alarm. And just a few feet from me Heidi would be lying there without my gift of being able to ignore obvious things.

"Um, you gonna go to class, Jen?" she said, surely through gritted teeth.

The question would annoy me because I figured she was judging me. Which she probably was, as anyone would, and was the least awful thing she could have done.

"Mmm ... no," I'd mumble. "It's cancelled today," I'd lie.

"Okay," Heidi would say with the patience of a saint, "so, can you turn off your alarm?"

Ugh. Sheesh. And then I'd use my ab muscles for the first and last time that day and stretch over to the foot of my bed and stop the ringing.

What's a miracle about this whole scenario is that Heidi never once lost her shit on me. Papa Smurf knows, she was entitled to it. I would have lost my shit on me. And that's why I thought that maybe it was only now that she was going to get back at me, seeing as my blog has reached celebrity status with its audience of 12. I'm quite certain she has a fair amount of things she could share with the world that would be of embarrassment to me: photos of my half of the room; details of how I used to write two paragraphs of an assignment and yank at the paper as it was coming out of the printer as to create the illusion that my printer had jammed - and then take that paper and go to class armed with fake tears in order to get a free extension; video of me doing an exceptionally insensitive recreation of the last days of life of the Heaven's Gate cult members ...

And anything Heidi could demand would be fair: That I fly out to Alberta and clean her home until it's spotless. That I wake up whenever her children squawk in the middle of the night and tend to them, allowing her to sleep in. That I keep a steady supply of Growers Cider and Dairy Queen Blizzards coming her way.

But instead of any of that, she's sent me a hand-written (!) note updating me on her (She lives on a farm! She has two darling children! She likes my blog!) and a fantastic care package consisting of these:

Peanut Butter Slice and Puffed Wheat Squares!

Oh. My. God.

What I've pictured is nothing - she sent me a whole box of them! Happy memories of Alberta flooded my body as I munched on Heidi's homemade gift. And then Patrick came in from work and I was all, "Look!" and he was all, "Where did you get those?" and I was like, "An angel sent them to me!" and then he dropped his bags and just stood there with his mouth open waiting for me to feed him.

I wish I had a video of Patrick's First Peanut Butter Slice and Patrick's First Puffed Wheat Square, like how parents have documented the major milestones of their children. He was enamoured with the Peanut Butter Slice, but the Puffed Wheat Square officially gave him a food boner.

"Oh, my, this is so divine."

I love that when it comes to talking about food, my husband says things that only an old woman or a gay man would normally utter.

And so we laid there in the hotel eating these treats made by someone who could have told me to eat shit instead. Is Heidi nice or what?!?

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


Di Smith 12:42 pm, April 21, 2011  

Hahahahahaha. Catching a glimpse of your life in Uni was HILARIOUS (not surprising in the least, but funny nonetheless). She is indeed sweet. And has now risen to blogger fame, as she so justly deserves.

Karen 1:11 pm, April 21, 2011  

I love the way you tell a story, Jen. When you mentioned she was from Alberta, I guessed it would be the treats you were raving about in that other post!

Anonymous,  1:58 pm, April 21, 2011  

Lady, you make me laugh! What a nice friend you have in Heidi. While you paint the picture like you were horrible to live with, I imagine you were probably pretty fun too.

Anonymous,  3:53 pm, April 21, 2011  

I think you need to create a recipe called "Food Boner". Honestly....

father of the monkey,  4:09 pm, April 21, 2011  

Oh, yes! I remember Heidi! You certainly were lucky that the system randomly assigned you two the same room. And, I don't think you ever have to worry about ANYONE ever blackmailing you. You have no secrets from the entire interweb. You tell all!

Greg,  8:07 pm, April 21, 2011  

Yum! If I give you my address, will Heidi send some of those my way? :D

Heidi,  9:31 pm, April 21, 2011  

Oh come on now - at least you were a successful slacker. I still recall a Communications assignment you pulled together (quite quickly) that was not only good - but still gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. It was a story board of "The Breakfast Club" that was just as inspiring as the movie ;-). Also, now that you mention it I do have pics of your half of the room - and if that will bring you to Alberta to watch my kids while I sleep in I'm not above bringing them out!

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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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