Did I ever tell you about…?

4 August, 2011 § 2 Comments

I’ve always wondered how people end up with outlandish stories to tell.

They usually seem like normal-enough people. Your middle-aged uncle with three kids, who treats the family Christmas party to a full recount of his frat days. The buttoned-down, loafer-wearing boss who admits they went to small, crazy Dave Matthews Band shows – before they got big. Your friend’s cookie-baking mom who suddenly decides you’re old enough to chat about “the promiscuous days.”

And I always, always, think, “You don’t just end up with crazy stories to tell; you have to go out looking for crazy situations.” And I naively assume I am too normal to end up in strange situations or to ever have stories like this to tell.

Until yesterday, as I shared the story of a small house I had lived in for one college semester.

Cheerily, I was recounting the unkempt, one-bedroom anomaly in a neighborhood of otherwise well-groomed mid-sized homes. My roommate and I lived on the main floor, and our landlord’s 30-something year-old son lived in the basement. Things were small but convenient for the first few weeks. Until our basement-neighbor came back from doing … I have no idea what, somewhere in South America.

We soon realized that, though we rarely saw him, this wangster smoked like a chimney. How did we know? Because it all floated through our poorly insulated floor, like steam through the lid on my hot latte. If, that is, my latte produced as much smoke as a train, smelled like swimming-pool-sized ashtray, and caused bronchitis.

“Really, I don’t smoke! You see, my neighbor…” I sheepishly explained to a woman whose kids I watched then, hoping all she could smell was the damp layer of Febreeze on my clothes as I coughed into my shoulder.

Now, years later, it seems almost comical when I tell people about it. My former roommate and I even chuckle when we mention the little smoke-shack we unintentionally inhabited.

It’s not that I went looking for such a crummy place to live just so I could tell you about it now (I wouldn’t do it again if you paid me).

It’s that strange things do happen to normal people. And even normal people end up with good stories to share. What’s yours?


§ 2 Responses to Did I ever tell you about…?

  • City Girl says:

    The smoke-shack is definitely comical now, but back then, I’m sure you and your lungs were unhappy!

    When I was 21, I spent three weeks in Crystal City with my best friend’s boyfriend’s brother. He didn’t speak more than three words in English, and I didn’t speak Arabic. He would go out drinking and come home yelling (about what I did not know). 17 years later, his English is perfect, and he manages a very popular restaurant downtown :).

  • Ha, I’m glad you shared, and that there was a happy ending!

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