Maria and I decided not to be roommates. We felt we should branch out in college—meet new people, have new experiences, and not test our girlhood friendship with a loft and mini-fridge. We both chose Chadbourne Hall, an all-girls dorm, because we liked the location and didn’t want to deal with drunk gross boys .
During the previous summer I’d cut six inches off my hair, so my hair grazed my shoulders instead of my back. Apparently back said “high school,” while shoulders said “college.” I had my first real boyfriend, and first love that summer. Despite my transition hair, when the boyfriend went back to his school in Northern Minnesota, I assured him he was not my high school/college transition boyfriend. Six months later I was making out with the theatre department.
Dad drove me to college on move-in day—slightly anticlimactic to share this epic rite of passage from childhood to adulthood when it only required a three mile trip down University Avenue from my Dad’s house. We arrived at the dorm and threw all my crap in a wheeled bin that looked one movie-musical away from Orphan Annie laundry escape-hijinks, and waited many minutes for one of the two elevators to take me to the 9th floor. Chadbournites paid a good portion of their college tuition per minute waiting for elevators, and harshly judging anyone below the fourth floor that chose not to use the stairs.
Maria ended up with Denise as her roommate–an angry, quiet girl, with a full-face of make-up. Maria referred to her as “Neesers.” Neesers drank only hot water.
I ended up with Angie. I’d received the requisite pre-roommate letter, so I knew she came from Neenah, Wisconsin and liked aerobics.
Two moments of import occurred on move-in day:
1) I offered to share my clothes with Angie whenever she liked, and she responded “I don’t really share clothes.” Anyway, my closet consisted of black and burgundy. She filled hers with teals and purples.
2) We took the single most awkward roommate stroll up and down State Street in the history of 18 year olds. I believe this apex of our relationship revealed me as the first Jewish person she’d ever met, and her as the first person who’d told me they’d never met a Jewish person that I’d ever met.
We spent nine months as perfectly hospitable nothing-in-common roommates who did not share clothes.
Maria and I never took to life in Chadbourne, less due to our roommates and more due to organized activities likely derived from a 1950’s RA Handbook–for example “The Ten o’Clock Scream!” wherein we were encouraged to join together as a group outside and yell as loud as possible–as a group!–to get our nerves out during exam week.
By sophomore year Maria and I shared an apartment off campus. We did not miss meal cards or shower caddies or group lounges that resembled prison rec rooms. We did not miss Angie or Neesers, nor transition boyfriends. We probably missed out big-time over at Ogg and Sellery.