Every freshman across the country has that fear of their roommate situation when they first get assigned sometime in June or July. I was no different; I spent weeks checking the Cornell Class of 2011 website to see what the prognosis would be. By no means did I want a single– this is college, you should have a roommate– but I also didn’t really want a quad or really even a triple. I got lucky enough to get just one roommate.
His name was Chris and he was from Ringwood NJ. His Facebook profile said he liked frisbee, friends, and games. He took a few weeks to respond to my emails, and when he did, he used an awful lot of emoticons. I figured he couldn’t be too bad, right?
Your first impression is absolutely a lasting one, and I am not sure I made the best first impressions. Having been a day student at a Boarding School for high school, I kind of knew what stuff I should bring. Being a life-long pack-rat and survivalist, I brought way too much stuff. I moved in first and immediately took over “my” half of the room. A few hours later, after my mom and I had already lofted my bed, organized shelves, drawers and desks, Chris, his twin brother, and his loving parents showed up. He had one suitcase, his backpack, and one bin of odds and ends. My usurpation of the room would go unchallenged. As if that wasn’t enough of a first impression, there were two conversations that probably (and rightfully) freaked out Chris and his parents
The first was about a street sign I had “acquired” over the summer in some remote town in Illinois. It read “Cornell Ct” and Chris’ twin asked me where I got it. I replied I had found it in a yard…come on, who finds a street sign in a yard? That lie didn’t fool anyone, and I distinctly remember Mrs. Fleischl giving me a “who is this kleptomaniac that my son is rooming with” look.
The second conversation was in regards to a hammer. My father bought me my first hammer and said “Son, I want you to sleep with this hammer”. I did so, and since he has never told me to stop sleeping with said hammer, it still resides next to my bed (former girlfriends have decided that under my pillow was too literal…). When my mom pulled the hammer out of its box and asked where I wanted it to be put, “next to my bed” did little else to impress the Fleischls.
Despite the rocky start, Chris and I got along well enough over the rest of the year. He was a Packers fan, and I liked the Bears. We both would procrastinate until no end. We had similar enough music tastes and sleep habits (although the kid could sleep through a bomb going off). We had a few little disagreements, that I was most likely completely responsible for, but all in all he was a very good roommie. We parted ways for the summer, me to go and work at a factory, and him to go and work for Schindler Elevator company. Only he didn’t come back.
Chris took a semester off. We would text, Facebook, email, etc when the Bears and Packers played or saw something worth mentioning to each other. I saw him on campus once or twice when he returned from his semester off. But then, he stopped responding to texts. And calls. And shut down his Facebook wall. None of our friends have seen nor heard from him in well over a year…
This is very unfortunate to me as he was a decent friend of mine (at least I think he was). If anyone knows where in the world Carmen, er, Chris is, they should holler at me.