Archive for the 'Roommate' Category

Bob Drunkenly Authorizes a Wandering Bracelet

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

After the administration transferred Mort to God knows where, a middle-aged schlub named Bob moved into my room. Clearly, Bob didn’t qualify as mentally disabled but demonstrated he possessed the mind of a witless child—which is a semi-polite way of saying he was stupid.* Whenever some nosy CNA asked why he’d landed at the warehouse, he‘d answer simply, “Heart condition.” (“Heart conditions” were extremely popular among male residents.)

One morning at around 6:30 Bob managed to foul up the flushing mechanism in the toilet. He and he alone would reproduce this blunder at least once a week—as a young child I’d figured out how to properly flush. more »

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Mr. Gold Confiscates Larry’s Gun

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Once, I saw Larry in the rehab room and casually asked how he was doing.* He regarded me like I wore a turd my head, and replied in his raspy voice, ”Lousy.”

A stroke had jumbled Larry’s speech and gifted him with a shuffling limp. The ever-present unlit cigar lodged in his mouth left the charge nurses and CNA’s disgruntled. I knew that he pissed most of his days away in the basement cafeteria/smoking area, gossiping with his moth-eaten clique. When he moved into my room, I considered that he might prove himself a good fellow inmate by virtue of his almost constant absence. I later found out that I’d guessed right about the “constant absence” part, but even the brief periods I interacted with Larry made me want to go through a carwash. more »

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Bobby Goes On a Trip

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

My one-time roommate Bobby led a pointless life—unless you consider taking up space, pissing on the floor, and fouling the atmosphere with a pungent reek worthwhile endeavors. But when his crackwhore sister visited him, their prattling vaguely amused me. That and his comically inept burgling provided marginal worldly value to Bobby’s existence.

Particleboard nightstands stood next to each warehouse bed. (A few years into my stay, the administration tried to buy my testicles with a cheap desk from the basement. Their strategy failed but I thoroughly enjoyed my new furniture.) A hinged latch had been screwed to the top of the nightstand, and fit over a metal hasp protruding from the drawer (as was the case with my desk’s main drawer). The administration sold padlocks. Mr. Gold advised residents to buy and use the locks, store valuables in the secured drawer to thwart thieving staff members and dodgy roommates. more »

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The Curse of Mabel

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Mabel packed an ass the size of a small continent. Her gargantuan derriere and beer-barrel legs appeared wildly mismatched to her plump but normally proportioned upper body. The warehouse administration employed Mabel as head nurse. (There’s a joke in there somewhere.) While the stubby angle of mercy pushed a cart filled with medicines and dressings from room to room, she didn’t walk so much as laboriously waddle. When she pulled a graveyard shift, she routinely interrupted the slumber of residents in order to tend to their medical demands. Of course some residents needed round-the-clock care, but clearly not everybody required frequent attention. Shortly after I arrived at the warehouse Mabel woke me at 4:00 am for some reason—I don’t remember why, so the reason couldn’t have been too stellar. more »

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Jews Don’t Bother Roy

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

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. more »

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Josh the Activist

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

A clumsy and unsophisticated nine-year-old controlled Josh’s gnarled body though he biologically approached middle age. I had only seen Josh from afar and, based on his diminutive frame and immature behavior regarded him as a vaguely simple-minded young adult. His spasmodic pigeon-toed gait and palsied gestures advertised his physical condition before he opened his mouth. We met when he moved into my room. Up close, his weathered face revealed his age. I also realized that he smelt funny and wore an elastic band around his head to keep his generic black glasses in place, just like the pussy kid in your grade school. He immediately started jabbering, tried to introduce himself. I guess he got sick of my repeatedly begging his pardon, so he finally used a twisted finger to point to the nametag on a pair of his briefs. more »

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All Crippled-Up

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Freddie expected the CNA’s to unconditionally wait on him even after he’d shown the capability of performing a given task. For example, he easily navigated his wheelchair to the liquor store but took for granted that a CNA would happily drag his drunken ass to the shower room when the stench of his soap-deprived body became unbearable. If anyone questioned the annoying lack of effort he put into taking care of himself, he bellyached like a petulant child: “But I be all crippled up.” Sometimes he’d also remind them: “. . . And I’m a black man.” I never figured out any reasonable correlation between his race and his accidental injury. more »

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But He Can’t Help It

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

CNA’s indifferently accepted that some residents pissed onto the linoleum floor while lying half asleep in their beds because they were too lazy to get up and baptize the porcelain catchall. It never crossed their pea-brains that such a resident might be wildly ill-bred. Most parents teach their small children appropriate toilet habits; therapists were supposed to teach such skills to absent-minded patients. But the therapists often sloughed the responsibility off on the charge nurse, who delegated it to the CNA’s. The dullwitted CNA’s proved themselves incapable of any action beyond summoning a member of the housekeeping staff and telling them to mop the floor.

To be fair, it was hard to tell at first glance who suffered from physical dysfunction and who chose to conduct themselves like a fucking animal. more »

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Catch Them AIDS

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

Most residents excelled when glomming public aid checks¹ and securing government “benefits” i.e. handouts to which they were entitled (as opposed to petitioning for “assistance” which by definition requires effort). But when it came to bathing or digesting text full of big words and unaccompanied by colorful illustrations, they couldn’t understand why they should be bothered.

On three occasions the administration designated an HIV-positive resident as my roommate.² They realized I was probably the only denizen of the warehouse not so dirt stupid as to believe that you would “catch them AIDS” from doorknobs or airborne cooties. And I’m not some Neanderthal homophobe who assumes that all HIV-positive men are gay and therefore subhuman pariahs anyway. more »

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Freddie Admits He Likes Me

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

In some older Chicago neighborhoods there’s a ditch in front of residential buildings. Freddie, one of my roommates, claimed to have been sitting on a lawn chair in front of his house when an old friend burst into the yard and slapped him on the back. The force of the slap sent Freddie headfirst into the ditch; the impact broke his back.

He’d demonstrated the capability of walking behind his wheelchair while gripping the handles to support his towering frame, but most of the time chose to plant his skinny ass in the seat. I overheard a therapist ask him why he didn’t walk more often. He whined his answer: “Because I be all crippled up.” Plus he couldn’t stand upright when he was crocked—every day he knocked back plenty of cheap vodka. more »

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