When I was 19, I dropped out of college and moved to New York with a guy named Chad, which was bad for a number of reasons, not the first of which was his incredibly stupid name. After a few months, I knew I had to move out. Being New York, this was no easy task. I was getting depressed at the sheer hopelessness of every finding somewhere to live. Id reached the point at which when Id hear people speak of clean, roomy rent-stabilized apartments, Id burst out crying.

I remember standing outside smoking, chatting with some of the girls in the building I worked with, when this random guy started in with, "My girlfriend is looking for a roommate." I interrupted loudly, "Girls, goodbye, I know this man. This is my apartment. Not yours. You go now!"

I called Kristi and we met at a bar around the corner from where I worked. When I first met her, I thought she must have been a prostitute or something and she was trying to trick me into paying her for sex. But we talked and it became clear that this was going to be my new roommate. We drank and drank and it became apparent that she was just a regular girl who, for whatever reason, dressed like a hooker.

We found an apartment (a term Im using loosely here) on 13th Street between avenues A and B. Outside the entrance I noticed something which looked like poop with a syringe in it. Yeah. The apartment itself was a studio divided by beaded curtains into two 6 square bedrooms and a living-kitchen area. It was also shared by a few hundred cockroaches. $1,000 a month. Paradise found.

We set off some bug bombs, scrubbed the place down with Simple Green cleaner (which I cannot smell to this day without wanting to hurl), and then the fun times began.

Kristi constantly invited her boyfriend to stay the night. I did mention the rooms were divided by a beaded curtain? So yeah. Plus they were the most cutesy, annoying couple ever. Ever! They were like something off a bad sitcom. When I thought it couldnt get any worse, they broke up.

At first things were good. We did nothing and it was so much fun: coffee, shopping, walking around. We watched the New Kids on the Block greatest hits video collection while drinking vast amounts of red wine.

Over the next few months though, she kind of glommed onto me like a giant soul sucking leech. It was disturbing. I only really like people who dislike me. I find them far more interesting. Once they begin to like me, even just a little bit, I tend to lose all respect for them. Okay, whoa, that was a scary trip into the inner workings of my mind.

Somehow, she seemed to be convinced that I was going to set the apartment on fire. She called me at least twice a day to make sure I was going to turn off the coffeepot before I left. She got scared when the smoke alarm went off (it beeped every time we would turn on any electrical appliance, except oddly enough, the coffee pot), and would go into the kitchen several times a night to make sure the oven was turned off. Neither of us cooked. Ever.

Sometimes when I would be sitting on the sofa reading, I'd look up from my book and she'd be watching me. When Id look up, shed just smile. It was way creepy. She also liked to know everything that Id do and where I was going all the time, why I was doing what I was doing, calling me at work and then calling me again. It was like she was living through me vicariously. Sad because at the time, I had two jobs, one a receptionist job, and one a job delivering fruit baskets on roller skates (the roller skates were on me, not the actual fruit baskets, just to clarify) so its not as though I were out doing anything glamorous and exciting. I know it sounds like it, but trust me, no.

Oh there was other stuff too, but hell it was nine years ago. Most days, it takes all the brain cells I have left working together as a team just to remember where I left my car keys. What I do remember is that I moved out while she was in the hospital after taking an overdose of sleeping pills. It just seemed like the right time to be moving on, you know?

She seems to be doing much better now, healthier. If at least not better, than better medicated. Besides, who am I to criticize? I havent always been the picture of mental health you see before you today. People who live in glass houses shouldnt eat stones. Or something to that effect.

Right then, Im going to visit her for a week. She lives in Vermont now. Why am I going? Well one, I hear they have good maple syrup in Vermont. And two, well actually I guess there was just the one reason. Humph. If I never write here again, it will probably be due to the fact that I left the coffee pot on and died a fiery, syrupy, caffeinated death.

2002-11-24 at 11:45 p.m.