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Soundtrack: That Travis CD. Again. And Again. And Again.

After you live with people for awhile--"awhile" being a variable that can mean anything from a couple weeks to years, but is inversely proportional to how close your beds are and how many walls/doors there are between said beds--nothing goes unnoticed. It is possible to make a concerted and frankly-not-worth-it effort to hide things, and even then it probably won't stay hidden--the ratio of things that actually stayed hidden versus things I wanted to stay hidden is not as close to zero as I'm generally comfortable with.

Room K on a clean day, with plenty of nasty things to land on. (Photo: Nick)

Still, sometimes the everyone-noticing-everything can turn out alright. As an egotistical young male, there are myriad things that I'm quite proud of. While certain of these things are both useful and obvious, a number of them (most of them, actually) can be classified as who-really-gives-a-fucks (a lovely portmanteau I've just created, in fine German tradition). So when these w-r-g-a-f things are noticed, it gives you a pleasant glow. I mean, it's not like you can go around and start bragging at how well you move through crowds (something I occasionally feel I have a magic touch at) or anything like that. You just have to wait for people to notice.

This is why I was inordinately pleased when one mid-December evening when, during an evening spent--in a desperate attemp to get to sleep and make it to work on time for once--wacked out on high alcohol cough syrup and thrice the recommended dosage of non-prescription strength sleeping pills, I was singled out for my agility in gracefully getting out of bed.

This is not as crazy as it may sound.

A lifetime of sleeping on a top bunk has taught me well: how a quick leap and a little bit of support from the frame of the bed can have me slipping into bed with the grace of an Olympic gymnast on the sawhorse. Or, if I so choose, slamming into the already precariously bowed center to give Nick on the bottom bunk severe Armaggedon type visions.

And then, the dismount. At Prince's St., I am usually the first or second one up in the morning. After an hour of swatting the snooze, I bound out of bed, landing (as I think of it) quiet as a cat, letting my legs absorb the impact until my hands touch the ground, like I'm praying to the gods of morning ('cause I sure as hell won't give the fuckers any real type of worship). Quiet as I can be.

Of course, it occasionally has its downside. While at university, I sprang out of bed one morning only to realize on the way down that my right leg was completely asleep. Too late to do anything about it, so my graceful landing was slightly spoiled by being transformed into a very loud painful plane crash. My roommate Matt later informed me that the sight of me twisted and swearing on the floor was when he decided to stay in bed and skip class that morning. "Too many portents against" it being a good day, he said.

Even if I survived the ride down, occasionally my prayer-to-the-morning-gods pose would transform into a sprinter's pose. I was always late or going to be late for class, grabbing my coat as I vectored out the door. One morning, I was halfway there before I realized that I needed to turn around and slip into my blue jeans and shoes before continuing on to the dreaded American Lit.

But, on that fine sleeping-pill cough syrup evening, my fine mount/dismount ability was finally acknowledged.

I was not alone. Everyone in Room K has a distinctive mount and dismount. Nick, on the lower bunk, has a neat three point mount. First, standing by the bed, trying to manoeuvre his feet around his piles of crap on the floor. Then, sitting down in a position--dictated by the low upper bunk--that made it look like he was praying, when instead of talking to God he's actually talking to anyone with a semblance of a pulse. Then, into the full recline. Reverse for waking up.

Ylva and Annica, our two Swedes, both favored climbing their bunks like cliffs, climbing with such slow assurance that you wonder who's belaying their rope.

Jeremy's methods were distinctive in that they were hidden. In over a month of living together, I can not remember one instance where I noticed him getting into or out of bed. Like a quantum particle, he was either in bed or he wasn't, with no transition. What was more distinctive for Jeremy bed-wise was the odd pieces of other people's underwear and socks that would be found there. Not that he was promiscious (in fact, in nearly three months I saw nothing to indicate Jeremy had any sex-drive whatsoever), just that Annica liked to hide everything she could for him to find at odd hours of the morning and whine about.

However, Alissa's methods were my favorite, all the more often because they were so rare. On the blessed occasion (I suppose that should be plural, but it never felt like it should be) when she would actually get out of bed, Alissa favored a flailing barrel roll, beginning with a five minute search through the clutter under the bed until she found her glasses, then following through to roll out to land with a thump on all fours, ready to face the new day only hours after sunset.

Due to wildly differing working hours, I don't think I ever saw her go to bed.

I suppose in a certain sense there's a kind of Norman-Bates-through-the-keyhole feel to how I've noticed all of this. But it's just an after-effect of living with people. You just pick up on these things after awhile, and they become part of someone's personality. Or, occasionally, they contradict people's personality. Alissa described my graceful dismount as seeming "somehow very un-Stu."

Maybe I shouldn't feel so proud of my dismount.


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This page last updated on 22 August, 2002. Let it sleep in.
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