James is scheduled to graduate from Lawrence University in early June; we’ll make the drive up to pick up his stuff. Lawrence is chiefly a residence campus, but even there are stories about sloppy roommates.
Roommates, hell. All college kids are sloppy as hell (except Ben Davidian — exceptions and pathologies are what they are). We’ll expect to have to do some cleaning to get the place up to the level that the cleaning crew from the University will touch it.
Now, James’s older brother, Kenny, DID have some legendarily messy apartments at the University of Texas – Dallas. But it got to him, and he became quite civilized on the cleaning front. Just this past week Kenny and I spoke of his search for living quarters, probably in Connecticut, though he would like, sometime, to live in New York City. One of his work assignments in in the Bronx, so it’s not totally ridiculous.
On the way to finding something else, I ran across a blog I used to read a lot, but haven’t lately, and found this story of legendarily sloppy apartments, and in New York City (yeah, I know — Queens ain’t the Bronx, but the whole five boroughs would fit in the footprint of DFW Airport, nearly).
Like all great souls, Tom loved a good joke even when the joke was on him. We hadn’t known him very long before he told us the story of when his Bayside, Queens apartment was burglarized (by which I learned that Tom and I grew up within a two or three miles of each other, back in the day). Tom and his roommate called the police to report the missing stereo, and when they arrived the officers were flabbergasted by the ransacked state of the apartment. “Wow, these guys really destroyed the place,” they said. “Do you have any enemies? This looks like a vendetta.” Tom didn’t admit to them—but cheerily admitted to us—that “this” was in fact the apartment’s natural state.
Yeah, well they grow up.
On sort of another topic, I was also reminded why I liked that blog, and Bérubé‘s writing in general. Go read the piece. You’ll lament the passing of Tom Buckley, too. The one story above is the least funny and least emotional of several told there. You’ll wish you’d known Tom. This piece meets the requirements for a good story posed by John Irving in The World According to Garp, as good a requirement as any I’ve ever seen.