Happy New Year Everyone!
Among the many interesting stories one could tell concerning STDave and his tenure in apartment 1D, most of the more interesting ones involve the adventures and mishaps he encounters with his friends. As mentioned in previous posts, he had many friends at the neighboring university that neither Jim, Dave H., nor I knew. As the three of us are generally friendly people, it did not bother us immensely when his friends came over... at least not at first.
One thing that must be said about STDave, is that he was often late. If he needed to be somewhere at 6:00 pm, that usually meant he would get in the shower at about 6:15, and leave no earlier than 7:00. As I rarely went anywhere with STDave, this did not affect me much, but I imagine that it was a source of great annoyance for his friends. Of course, how can you be a friend of STDave's and not have a few specialnesses yourself?
In the autumn of our year together (literally, not figuratively), when STDave was still sleeping on Jim's futon in the living room and still living grâce à Macaroni and Cheese, we were introduced to many of his friends. One in particular worth noting I will refer to as Chubs (since I never knew his real name anyway. I would call him Friendly in an ironic way, but STDave had another friend that we called Friendly because he actually was friendly). As indicated by his nickname, Chubs was a rather plump man. I realize that I don't have a lot of room to call people plump, but seriously, this guy was round, and I'm not saying that to be mean.
STDave did not drive, and evidently Chubs did. Unfortunately for Chubs, STDave was never on time. This meant that Chubs spent a lot of time in our living room waiting for STDave to shower and whatever else it is that he did. Being friendly people, Jim, Dave H., or I would invite Chubs to have a seat in our living room and watch TV with us. Chubs always declined. It seems that instead of sitting, Chubs preferred standing directly behind people who were sitting down. Just standing...silently...behind us...watching...waiting...for 15 minutes at a time...just standing. I don't know how to type a good onomatopoeia for the sound you make when a chill runs up or down your spine, but that's the sound I make every time I think about Chubs standing behind me...quietly waiting.
One night, I was sitting alone in my living room with my back facing the kitchen (and the front door to the apartment). I heard the front door open and close, and I assumed it was Jim or Dave (not STDave). I became a little concerned that no one greeted me and wondered if perhaps my roommates were just having a bad day. I stood up and began to turn around and, "AAAHHH!" Chubs was just standing behind me, quietly, waiting. Clever guy that I am, I turned my panicky scream "AAAHHH!" into a trembling but believable, "AAAHHH-I didn't know you were there."
Chubs's Response: Silence
My response: Have a seat.
Chubs's Response: Silence.
Thus ended the most meaningful conversation I ever had with Chubs.
As my other roommates began to learn that Chubs was entering our apartment without knocking, we started to lock the door at all hours of the day, even when we were home. The unintentional but humorous side effect of this remedy is that from time to time we would hear our screen door open, then a large mass slam into our front door. After a few moments of what must have been muffled cursing, a feeble knock could be heard throughout the apartment.
Whatever Chubs may have lacked in social skills or human warmth, he made up for in the fact that almost every weekend he swept STDave away to his apartment downtown. This meant we could use toilet paper in safety, reclaim pots and pans, and sit on the futon in the living room during the day. Weekends were generally STDave free for me, Jim, and Dave H. Although we knew Sunday night we would lose the futon again, at least we had the weekends.
One Sunday night, I came into the apartment at about 11, and as soon as I walked through the door I froze in disgust at an unspeakable stench. It was as though someone were smoking old Camembert cheese in a sewer.
"What is that?" questioned my roommates and I as we raced through the apartment trying to find some air freshener. Coughing and gagging the rest of the evening, we tried to discuss possible causes of this new odor, and just as we were concluding that this smell is other-worldly, and just as we thought we were getting used to the ungodly aroma, STDave walked the short distance from his room to his bathroom. Never in my life had I so fervently wished for the sweet release of death, so strong was the stench surrounding him.
The following weeks were torturous and confused. The stench seemed to dissipate throughout the week, so that on Friday's, the odor was hardly noticeable. On Sunday nights however, STDave would return from Chubs's place along with his new olfactory accompaniments. Our efforts to mask or diminish the stench were endless. We burned candles in all common rooms of the house. We opened windows on days it was way too cold to open windows. At one point, it was impossible to find any free electric receptacles in our living room, because of Glade Plug-ins. We shut and locked our bedroom doors (I found that any time I left my door open during the day, the smell would invade. I always pictured the odor asbeing a large, semi-solid, toxic cloud that was too big to get through the cracks in my bedroom door. I also feared that it could stick out its semi-solid hand and open my door if I didn't lock it. It sounds insane, but it helped me sleep at night.) All of our efforts were fruitless.
We knew an inevitable conversation was coming. Only two questions remained: How do you tactfully approach the subject of this horrible smell, and who would be the first person desperate enough to bring it up? Both questions would be answered one very Christmassy night.
On a Sunday evening in November, Dave H. and I were putting up our Christmas tree in the living room. We heard the front door open, and we didn't even need to look to see who it was. We could smell him. In an instant all the warm Christmas cheer in the air had been murdered and replaced by the smell of smoked sewer cheese. This was the worst night of it, and this was the final straw for me. Pacing around the living room with an insane look in my eyes, I practiced how the conversation was going to go. Here's the ideal script as it played out in my mind.
Andy: (Knocks on STDave's door.)
STDave: (Opens door) Hi, Andy how are you?
Andy: I'm great Dave. You?
STDave: Fantastic, Andy! Thanks for asking. You're such a great roommate. What can I help you with tonight?
Andy: Well Dave, Dave H. and I were just wondering if you smelled something kind of funny tonight
STDave: No, no I haven't.
Andy:Oh, well, Dave and I picked up a whiff of something, and we picked it up last week right after you got back from your friends' in Dayton.
STDave: Oh no, Andy. I'm so sorry to make you feel uncomfortable. I will seek out the source of this odor, and all of our lives will be better.
Andy: Thanks Dave, and Merry Christmas.
STDave: No, Andy, thank you. And as my Christmas gift to you, I'm going to buy my own bed, clean my own dishes, not invite my friends to just walk into our apartment, not steal your toilet paper, not keep my friends waiting, and generally contribute to the quality of our apartment.
Andy: God Bless Us, Every One.
Unfortunately, the conversation did not go like that.
Andy:(Knocks on door)
STDave:(Opens door; says nothing)
Andy: Hey Dave, I was wondering if you smelled something kind of funny?
STDave: Yeah! Where do you think that's coming from?
Andy: (Thinks, "No, that's not how the conversation's supposed to go. You're not supposed to be able to smell it. No, no, no. Where's it coming from? You! You! YOU!!! Andy pauses briefly while all these thoughts pass through his mind and then says) Well, it's coming from you.
STDave: Oh Snap!
Andy: Well, we really notice it right when you get back from your friends' in Dayton, but...it's bad...and we smell it...a lot.
STDave: Oh Snap!
STDave: I think my friends have mold.
Andy: (Thinks "Lovely" but says) Yeah?
STDave: I'll try to work on that.
Andy: Yeah, we'd all really appreciate that.
STDave: Okay, see ya' later (shuts door).
Walking back into the living room, I saw a look in Dave H.'s eyes that I had never seen before and will probably never see again: admiration.
Fortunately, as the holidays rolled around, STDave got his odor under control, and we were able to move on to bigger and better points of contention.