wacky housemate antics
Friday, December 29 2000
On this, the last workday of the Year 2000, the industry of my colleagues was demonstrably anemic. It's been a rough year to be a dot com employee, especially if you've held any shares of common stock. By around 3pm I was the only one doing any work on my entire floor. Julian (of Linda and Julian fame) was passing my cubicle and wondered what the hell I was still doing there. At this point I nervously spilled the Asahi beer I'd been drinking (magnanimously provided by the Grand Pooh Bah of the Data Systems Team) into the unexplored recesses of my keyboard. And that's how my day ended.
Back at my house, John was all wacked out on Adderall, his Attention Deficit Disorder medication of choice. The Adderall appeared to be having precisely the opposite effect from the one intended, causing him to leap around physically and skitter from topic to topic uncontrollably. John explained this paradox by saying it was a consequence of his having been cooped up in a car for hours and hours on the drive home from Arizona earlier today. John's friend Chun was there too, and she and I just sat back and watched the spectacle that was John. There was no need for music or television.
In his mania, one of John's recurrent routines was something that can only be described as "Altoona humor," referring to John's somewhat backward Appalachian hometown in Pennsylvania. Like me, John never really fit in with his hometown crowd, but this never obstructed his clear view of their many quaint antics. One thing about Altoona which John has mastered particularly well is the wild-eyed, exuberant provincialism of their particular flavor of seedy northern-Appalachian accent. When combined with lame homophobic jokes, it's rib-crackingly hilarious. I wish I had better audio capabilities set up right now, because (in the absence of the accent), text just doesn't do these justice:
Question: What's the difference between you and a donut?
Many of these jokes are presented as if they're being performed as a comedy act by a local Altoona commedian, usually concluded with a suddenly-thrust-up palm and a hearty, "Thank you Altoona, g'night!" By the way, John gives most of the credit for these Altoona routines to his older brother Joe.
Answer: A donut has a hole and you are a hole! Ba-dump-bump!
(Hole being a well-understood Altoona epithet)
Question: How can you tell if someone is a faggot?
Answer: He's always asking you if he can suck your dick! Hey! Ba-dump-bump-psssh!
So anyway the other day Eddie is driving me and him to the Target and he tells me he has to pull over and take a piss. I told him, can't you wait? Why don't you just hold your dick until we get there? So he says sure and so he's holding his dick and driving. But then he's having trouble shifting because he's holding his dick so he asks me, "Why don't you hold my dick so I can drive?" And I'm thinking, sure, I'd hold his coffee or his beer if he needed me to, why not hold his dick if he needs me to? So there we are still going down the road and I realize, hey, I'm holding Eddie's dick! What am I holding his dick for, is he some kind of faggot?
Other acts performed by John were considerably more physical. One involved standing upright while holding one ankle and then quickly leaping over the horizontal leg with the one leg left vertical. I kept expecting him to get stuck somewhere along the way and snap his shin in two with a very loud cracking noise.
Towards the end there, John was completely out of control, taking huge swigs of brandy and spilling it down the front of his sweater. At one point he leapt into the air and landed with a loud thump just to crush a mummified spider he'd found on the wall. He also ran around to different places along the wall with a small ladder and climbed to the ceiling to "investigate" one imagined thing after another. He was reminding me a lot of Krazy Thom. It was all very imaginative and entertaining, but it sort of had me on edge and I was happy when he and Chun finally went off to the gym.
By this point, the 20 mg of Adderall I'd taken started kicking in and I was beginning to feel creative and focused. I went upstairs and tried to make some four track music, but I was too fussy about my work to create anything useful.
About this time John and Chun returned from the gym. You wouldn't believe what a change had come over John! The medication was finally having its intended effect and he was behaving like a perfect gentleman, only talking when addressed and mostly concentrating his efforts on his latest artistic masterpiece. Inspired, I started an entirely new painting from scratch. It eventually came to feature a group of abstract people standing in a desolate field beneath a richly-textured blue-green sky. Chun, who saw most of this painting materialize right before her eyes, seemed suitably impressed. But, like the boys of the house, she had also been taking Adderall recreationally.
I'd been expecting to hang out with Linda tonight, but things came up that kept this from happening until late. Finally, when I'd decided to curl up around some Michel Foucault for the night, she got around to calling me. For whatever reason (these things have no rational explanation), I was feeling angry with her, so I told her that I was tired and it was too late for me to do the fun thing she was helpfully suggesting at this late hour. What was that fun thing? That I hang out with her and her boyfriend Julian at Julian's apartment.
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