Editor's Query: Tell us about a time when a roommate had to go.

Editor's Query
(Mark Giamo)
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

During graduate school in southern Illinois, I lived in an older, university-owned house on several acres on the outskirts of town. My two roommates and I maintained the grounds in exchange for rent. One of my roommates was an interesting character. He grew up in the Chicago area, but he had a great desire to learn the ways of rural life. He planted tomatoes and canned them and often scoured the adjoining property for herbs and wild edibles.

But he struggled with execution. It was not uncommon for my other roommate and me to discover rotting tomatoes floating face-up in foaming Mason jars in the cupboard, the product of incomplete sterilization, or to find decaying herbs in a kitchen drawer. There also were curious contradictions: He had a habit of abandoning watermelon seeds and peach pits on the living room floor or on the seat of a chair. Yet he bathed himself under a hose outside because we didn't have a shower (only a tub), and he didn't like to "wallow around in my own filth like a buffalo."

One Saturday morning, I awakened abruptly to the sound of power tools. I got up and made my way to the source of the din. There in the center of the living room stood my roommate, safety goggles on, bending over a circular saw while cutting a board stretched over two sawhorses. Sawdust filled the air and drifted down around the room. He had taken up indoor woodworking.

-- David A. Brenningmeyer



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