My pre-warehouse roommates had always maintained their own area in our shared dwelling. They regularly used soap and for the most part knew when to make themselves scarce. But while I vacationed at the warehouse, the administration almost always assigned an unwashed and inconsiderate dimwit to the bed only two-and-a-half feet away from mine. The staff and the other residents considered me an uppity asshole because I chose to draw the privacy curtain hanging from the ceiling around my bed, thus defining a personal cubbyhole.* And I’d demonstrated the habit of rejecting the staff’s minor-league bullshit instead of cowering and blindly accepting anything thrown my way.
While I enjoyed a welcomed but way too brief period without a roommate, a guy in his early fifties strolled into my room. I sat on the edge of my bed hunched over my word processor; he stopped four feet from the bottom of my bed, I remained sitting near the top as I turned and regarded him. Short and stocky, balding, wearing a brown goatee and a short-sleeved shirt, he cut an unexceptional figure.
He started to speak: “My name’s Roy. Is it okay with you if I’m your new roommate? I’m not supposed to say nothing but Mr. Gold sent me in here to see if it was okay.”
Tattoos of wild animals and reptiles decorated his bulky forearms. The images didn’t resemble tattoos so much as illustrations accompanying a National Geographic article. The faded representation of a turtle, stoic in the presence of a deer and a bear, especially impressed me.
He continued: “Are you a Jew? You look like you’re Jewish. If you are, it doesn’t bother me. Really. I mean, it doesn’t bother me that you’re a Jew.” Before I could tell him no, I’m not a Jew he turned and quickly strode out of the room.
The next day I encountered Mr. Gold in the hall and asked about my potential roommate. I related Roy’s insistence that my alleged Judaism posed no problem and his abrupt exit. Mr. Gold sighed and told me that less than an hour after our enigmatic meeting, he’d heard Roy viscously arguing with another man on the front porch outside his office window. The confrontation sounded violent enough that fisticuffs might ensue, so Mr. Gold peered out of his window to assess the situation. Roy stood alone on the porch and used two distinct voices to argue with himself. I never heard from Roy again.
* I’m not overprivileged, neither am I naïve. An in-depth explanation of my opinions concerning any given lowlife resident’s self-imposed shitty living situation prior to mooching off the warehouse is beyond the scope of this blog. And I won’t waste my time answering to clueless armchair bleeding-hearts who allow political correctness to distort their pedestrian observations. Such imbeciles can pucker up and press their lips against my ass. Alternately, they may fellate me.