Before I got my first apartment I had spent years bouncing
from state to state, couch to couch, car to public park.When I turned eighteen I moved back to
Phoenix from Coeur d’Alene with one of my best friends (surprisingly we are
still best friends today).After a
scramble to find employment we managed to find a pretty decent two bedroom
apartment in a pretty good area.
Neither of us was really met with any sort of disillusion of
what living on our own meant since we’d been doing it in one form or another
for quite some time.In Coeur d’Alene
while crashing with my cousin’s girlfriend we figured out how to cook Hot
Pockets without a microwave.We knew
what it meant to live on the third floor and have to back up the stairs due to
a knee injury and had experienced the thrill of streaking topless through a
parking lot at 1am.We now knew not to
eat the fruit at the bottom of the Jungle Juice trash can and we had learned
that wearing a Marilyn Manson t-shirt with the effword on it was a surefire way
to get sent home from school.
We were all kinds of ready for our own apartment.The adventures we had there are worthy of
their own post but here are the things we picked up along the way:
Milk crates and cinder
blocks make adequate furniture
Who needs a seven hundred dollar entertainment center when
we can hide out in my Volkswagen at 2am and rip off milk crates from behind the
grocery store?We built an entertainment
center, nightstands, shelves, end tables, and I’m pretty sure we built a coffee
table too – all out of milk crates.
Condiments are a
privilege – Not a right
When you are faced with spending your last ten dollars on
fifty packages of Ramen noodles and frozen vegetables or ketchup and mustard
the Ramen wins every time.One of our
many, MANY transients could do wonders
with Ramen noodles.I swear, she was the
driving force behind our food the entire time we lived there.
Clothes can be worn
more than once before needing washed
That ten bucks that went toward Ramen?It likely came from the laundry fund.Yes, I admit it:women in their late teens and early twenties
employ the “sniff test” too.Not just
men of all ages.
We didn’t live in that apartment very long – a few months I
believe – and in all that time I can’t recall one time that I did laundry.I can only hope that others had been doing it
Name brand TP is for
If we weren’t using John Wayne paper (rough and scratchy and
doesn’t take sh*t from anyone) then we were using napkins from the local Taco
Bell.I think I remember at one point
someone bringing in one of those huge rolls that they had ripped off from the
gas station.That sucker lasted a few
Bedframes aren’t a
In our apartment not one single bed was on a frame.Not hers, not mine, and certainly not the
pallets made by the transients in the living room.Not surprising since our furniture was made up
If something is gonna
break it’s going to happen at the worst time
This one didn’t happen to us in that apartment but it’s
happened since.Often.Right after you send in that last payment for
the month, your bank account now sitting at exactly six dollars and twelve
cents, your car won’t start.Or you drop
your phone in the toilet.Or some douche
busts out the back window of your Honda to rifle through your things but not
take ANYTHING because he’s a bastard and now you have to replace the window.
There will be bugs
Again, not in that apartment but I remember one vividly that should have had about
twelve hundred residents on the lease.Three humans and 1,197 friggen roaches.No matter how many times the complex bombed that apartment they never
got rid of them.
It’s amazing what you can get used to when faced with no
choice.We called them the Ferocious
Growing up most of us had that one relative who just “gets”
us.That one comrade who stays with us
through thick and thin and around whom most of our childhood stories are
Enter Amby.We didn’t
live together: she lived with my mother and I with my grandmother.But even so we were super close then and
still are to this day.In fact, I expect
an earful from her after this post goes live.
Amby and I spent nearly all spring breaks, winter breaks,
summer breaks, etc together.We didn’t
have “sleepovers” we had “weekovers”.Our favorite movies were Mommie
Dearest and Throw Momma From the
Train.To this day I can send her a
text that reads only “Move it, Lardass!” and she will reply with “Pick up every
One of the earliest memories I have of us is also,
unfortunately, one that is captured on film for future generations.We were about seven and eight years old
respectively and had learned a cheer in school.So during one of my grandmother’s semi-annual barbeques we stood side by
side in front of Kevin (who always showed up at these events with a huge video
camera mounted on his shoulder) with our dirty faces, bare feet, and scraggly
hair singing this dumb cheer with horrid yellow pom poms on sticks.
Ugh, we are NEVER going to live that down.
Around that same time she and I decided to try our hand at
shoplifting.My grandmother had taken us
to Pic n Save (now Big Lots, heh) and while we were there she and I ripped off
some plastic dolls with long hair.In
the middle of the store aisle we stood, slowly working the packages open.When we finally were able to free the dolls
we (again, in the middle of the store aisle!) shoved them in our underpants and
rejoined Nanny a few aisles over.
And the store
employees never caught us.My god,
we couldn’t have BEEN more obvious!
When we got home we decided that we were going to go
swimming in the horse barrels.Yep,
that’s what I said.So we filled them
with water and jumped in, wearing only our underpants filled with dolls.
Then came the part of this entire scheme that we never
bothered to factor in. Obviously no one
had bought the dolls for us so how could we explain how we got them? We couldn’t.
The result of this little stunt of ours?A choice, granted by Nanny.We could either get a butt beat with the fly
swatter or sit in the corner for three hours.You can bet we sat in the corner for three hours.
Our stunts weren’t always embarrassing. There was the time that we spent an entire
afternoon and evening eating every single orange off of one of our orange
trees. We were sitting on a huge wood
pile next to the horse corrals just passing the afternoon with conversation
when we decided to eat an orange. Then
another. Then another.
The amount of oranges we consumed could have won a
record.It was easily thirty or forty
between us.The piles of orange peels
alone were enough to cause concern.The
strange part?Neither of us were full,
neither of us were sick!When it got
dark we just stood up, brushed off our clothes, and went inside like nothing
One of the stories that still gets me laughing to this day
was an embarrassment that is hers alone to bear.We’d been out walking (this was not uncommon,
we walked tens of miles a day to avoid being at home) and she had to use the
bathroom really, really bad.We found a
lone convenience store on a corner that boasted absolutely nothing else and
darted inside.The clerk REFUSED to let
her use the facilities!Desperate and
nearly in tears she stood ringing her hands outside the store, shifting
uncomfortably from one foot to the other while I stood alongside, in tears of
my own from laughing so hard.
My suggestion that she go behind the building and just drop
trou was turned down initially but as the situation reached DEFCON 1 she had a
change of heart. We set off behind the
convenience store and she squatted down to the tune of my increased
The punchline?It was
all in vain.She’d waited too long and
wet her pants before she could whip them down!Hahahaha
These memories and so many others like them are part of the
reason we are still the best of friends.You just can’t let someone who knows so much about you fall out of favor
with you.Who knows what they might tell