February 28, 2011

Kleptomania in Collegetown: Roomie Shenanigans

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Northern Exposure is a new column series that chronicles the Cornell Freshman Experience. With each edition, one of the newest Cornellians will give a unique take on the nuances and intricacies of the student’s first year on The Hill. Our first topic? The dreaded random roommate …

“How could you go random? What if your roommate steals your stuff? What if your roommate doesn’t talk? What if your roommate is a weirdo who watches you when you sleep? Why wouldn’t you just pick someone?”

My best friends from home would harass me. They had all picked their roommates in an attempt to avoid the freshman year horror stories. But I didn’t want to pick my roommate. I wanted to let Cornell pick for me. Call me a pessimist, but I assumed I would hate my roommate regardless. If I did random, it would be Cornell’s fault instead of my own that the girl I shared a room with sucked. So when I received my housing information in mid-June and discovered the name of my future roommate, I did what any normal human being would do: I Facebook stalked her.

My stalking just confused me even more. She was from California. She was athletic. She liked hipster music. She seemed like a hard worker who still liked to have fun. She didn’t seem that bad.

We posted on each others’ walls in an attempt to get to know each other. I assumed we’d get along, but that we would never be in the same friend group. We were just far too different. (Although we did both have sisters with the same name and a love of trashy reality television like Jersey Shore.)

Move in day came. We hugged when we saw each other, as any female roommates would have done. We had immediate normal roommate bonding and story sharing. We clung to each other because we didn’t have anyone else, while simultaneously trying to gage whether we were the “perfect fit” or not. We met other people on the floor and promised that we would find a party for that night to attend. It was the first night after all — go big or go home! We hit Collegetown, and all my views changed. My roommate was unconventional. She made friends with everyone, slapping asses to evoke laughter. She made obnoxious, oddly sexual jokes. And everyone loved her. More importantly, I loved her.

Our first bonding activity that night? Dabbling in kleptomania in Collegetown. Our late-night escapades had brought us to College Town Pizza, which, as most people know, is a weird girl’s dream poster shop. We used our five-finger discount and swiped the flyers from off the walls, brought them home and taped them to our door. This habit did not fade away. Over the course of the year, we have stolen random shit from around campus and Collegetown: an AcroYoga poster, a Salsa dancing poster, a random yearbook picture of some girl from a magazine, a bathroom poster from a frat that warned that the bathroom was for number 1 only, a condom ad sticker, the Cheetah Girl cougars ads for the Johnson museum and God knows what else. We brought these things home for each other and taped them up.

Are we a perfect fit? We are, and yet we aren’t. We are from opposite coasts; she stays up late when I go to bed early; she gets up early when I sleep late; she procrastinates while I get my shit done. We are opposite roommates, but we are perfect.

For the Kid Cudi concert, she went shopping at the Salvation Army and bought a Christmas vest to wear. Not because she wanted to, but because she had to. For a ’90s themed party, she wore lime green spandex, a neon orange traffic vest and a fanny pack. Don’t question it. She’s one of those people that can make you laugh no matter what.

When the girls in the quad on our floor bought a futon, it came in a very large box. My roommate had acquired said box. It became our little pet. We hid in it, scaring people as they walked by. We put it in people’s rooms so that they’d come back from class and find a random box on their bed. One floormate fell victim to the box on bed prank six days in a row. Multiple times a day. But the first night we had it was the best.

We had pushed it into the hallway. My roommate had been demonstrating how to properly work the box to me.

“Like this.” She climbed into it, sitting comfortably. “Try it.”

I climbed in after her. We both thought it was absolutely hysterical. It was roughly two in the morning at this point.

“Wait, wait. Let’s put this in our next door neighbor’s room.” My roommate suggested, laughing.

We cracked open the door to our neighbor’s room to find him passed out. Giggling quietly to ourselves, we dragged the box in and set it up so that it was right next to his bed. We then crawled in, waiting for the opportune moment to wake him up and freak him out. The box then fell over from our shifting weight, depositing my roommate on top of our soon-to-be-formerly sleeping neighbor and me on the floor. He woke up, completely disoriented and completely freaked out. We just laughed hysterically and ran away, leaving our precious futon box behind.

Unfortunately, this semester our shenanigan times have been halved. I joined a sorority and she didn’t. But it worked out for the best. She’s the perfect GDI — friends with everyone and not tied down anywhere. We’ll live together again junior year in ctown, and our neighbors and CTP better watch out — we’ll be collecting boxes and have our eyes on those posters.

Alyssa Leventhal is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at ajl267@cornell.edu. Northern Exposure appears periodically this semester.

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Original Author: Alyssa Leventhal