The Delta Delta Townies|
The Delta Delta Townies (again)
This is now the third time I have attempted to write this entry. Yesterday, immediately after finishing up the Christine entry, I decided to write about all the Cowtown people I am now going to be talking about constantly. The power went out, and didn't come back on until after D. and I had left. (I got lots and lots of money in Saturday's mail. We went out to breakfast. We bought many bookshelves and fans and chairs. D. assembled said bookshelves and fans and chairs, while Jack and I washed damn near every scrap of fabric in our combined two households. (Twelve loads! Twelve, I tell you! We totally picked the wrong time to go, too. When we got to the laundromat, we had to wait 15 minutes just to get four machines, which we guarded with our lives for the the next two hours. ) When laundry was finally done, it was time for D.'s campaign. I didn't have the place to myself until almost midnight, and by then I was exhausted.) Just now, my computer crashed after I had written two words.
(Yes, that is indeed a rational paragraph. The last sentence is a logical continuation of the overall theme of the paragraph, namely, "I have been having technical problems writing this entry." Go back and read it again, dammit. I know that the best sorts frown upon overuse of parentheses, but they're a lot easier to deal with than footnotes. Now that I've used yet another set of parentheses to explain why I use so many damn parentheses, I can get back to the topic written way back up at the top of the page. In case you've forgotten by now, it's "The Delta Delta Townies.")
For the record, I originally coined the term "Delta Delta Townies." I actually got kind of pissy when Jay told it to me, thinking he was just passing along the latest catch phrase. As you've probably gathered by now, I attended college in Cowtown, WI. I belonged to a co-ed frat called Delta Delta Tau. In Cowtown, as in probably every college town, there are "those crazy college kids" and "those damn townies." Now I'm back in Cowtown, and even though I get to be Tau forever, I'm clearly not a student. I'm a townie. A Delta Delta Townie. Ba dum bum ching.
These are the rest of them:
Vincent and Bob. Roomates, about a block away from D. and me. Both gamers (computer, Playstation, Magic: the Gathering, RPG's, etc. etc. etc.) Both stoners, though Vincent is currently prepping himself for a drug test. Vincent plays Bridge, but Bob prefers some sort of heretical nonsense called Sheepshead. Although Bob's computer is studlier, Vincent is the one who knows exactly how it works. Vincent is a computing maniac. Programming, building, whatever. He actually left a discussion on Magic to watch me plug my machine in for the first time. His fingers were twitching when he asked if he could look inside my case.
They will eventually be joined by Dante, who shares a pretty much identical list of vices (except for the computer thing. Dante fears technology, because it always goes wrong while he's using it. He owns a computer, solely because it usually will play Diablo with him). D. spends a lot of time there, and will spend even more time there when Dante shows up. D. and Dante rank right up with just about every comedy team in creation when they argue. Think Felix and Oscar. Think Bert and Ernie. Two people who should not get along, but somehow mesh perfectly. Dante is possibly as neurotic and insecure as I am, but he's also a clean freak and a Catholic (Not that that matters to me, of course. But he would have put that in any description of himself, so I felt obligated to do the same. He's also an Artist, at about the level that I'm a Writer.) The end result is one of the just plain funniest people I've ever met.
Jay and Alice. Roomates, about two blocks in the opposite direction from Vincent and Adam. Alice is Mellow with a capital M. In fact, spell the whole thing in caps. The girl is MELLOW. Absolutely nothing seems to phase her. Pass the bowl, and she's all good. Alice doesn't really live there anymore, but strangely, continues to pay rent. She spends most of her free time hanging out at Yahn's. Yahn is a townie, but I won't hold it against him, because he is almost too funny and warped and cool to be true.
Jay is technically still a student, and thus not a true Delta Delta Townie. He graduates in December. He's good people. He and Alice and I are pretty much the only non-gamers in the area, so I may run over there a lot to escape from the constant talk of experience points, and D10's and whatever else I'd find anywhere else.
Jack and Anne and Dave and Drew. Jack and Anne are married. Dave is a student, spending the summer in their spare bedroom. Drew is also a student, spending whatever nights he can escape from the Jewish summer camp where he's working on their couch. I have no idea how Jack and Anne do it. Since it's been just D. and me, I can't even imagine living with someone else always around. It would drive me insane. But they seem to like it that way. Because half the town lives there already, their home is kind of the gathering point for everyone else. On any given night, between four and ten people who don't live there will at least put in an appearance. It's total madness, especially since their home is not particularly large (Hee. Jack uses the word "particularly" far far more often than anyone else alive. It amuses me to use it now, describing his house. But I digress.)
About five years ago, Jack got really sick. This was the semester right after I had graduated, and we came up for a weekend. Jack suddenly had a heart monitor he had to carry with him everywhere. (The same month, Matt had suddenly developed his life-threatening illness. It was a pretty disturbing weekend.) At the time, I pulled someone else aside to ask what the hell was going on. I was told that Jack had the same thing the chick in Beaches had. I have never seen Beaches. At the time I was too embarrassed to ask for more details, but I have since determined that there is something very wrong with his heart. The heart monitor pumps medicine into him 24/7. Every night, he has to sit down with a syringe, and fill up the next day's worth of bottles, which he has to change every four hours. His condition is very rare, and no one knows exactly what to do about it.
As if that weren't hardcore enough, he started using an oxygen tank the week before we moved here. The medicine hadn't been working the way it's supposed to, and the doctors thought he might have sleep apnea on top of everything else. If his heart is stopping for a few seconds every now and then, the monitor isn't pumping in the medicine correctly.
The motherfucker won't stop smoking. In their living room is a sign reading "NO SMOKING. OXYGEN IN USE" So, every few hours, he takes the oxygen tubes out of his nose, and goes outside for a cigarette. The cigarettes didn't cause his heart trouble, but they sure as hell aren't helping. The other night, Jack, Anne, D. and I were outside smoking. (When Jack takes a smoke break, everyone else gets to take one too. This is wrong. If nothing else, we should all manage to control our cravings while in his presence, so we don't tempt him.) Anne was talking about someday when they have their own house, someday when they have kids. I wanted to rip the cigarette out of Jack's hand and scream at him. "You bastard! Listen to her! She's told me that if the medicine doesn't start working soon, you might not live 5 years! You say you love her, you should be doing everything in your fucking power to at least try to make sure she gets her house, her kids, her perfect life! Don't you know what your death would do to her?" But I just smoked my cigarette. Not my problem. I'm fucking immortal.
Last night, though, after they were done gaming, and after Anne had left for work, Jack left his oxygen in the gaming room, and told those assembled we could have a cigarette in our living room, instead of going out on the porch. He still had his monitor with him, of course, but he took off the shoulder strap, and put it on the floor by his feet. He was leaning back in his chair, laughing and smoking a cigarette and talking about the session with his friends. He looked happier, and more like his old self than I'd seen him in years.
Dammit. He's a smoker. He doesn't look like Jack if he doesn't have a cigarette in his hand. But he's gotta stop, or it will kill him. Not in the nebulous way all smokers know cigarettes are death. That's years from now. To paraphrase Dennis Leary, "Yeah, cigarettes take years off your life. But those are the years you'd spend drooling in a nursing home, and I for one, don't want 'em!" Jack could be dead in five years.
Right after whatever it was happened, Jack got very bitter. He lashed out at everyone over absolutely everything. Then, he was back to being merely ornery and argumentative for a while.
A few nights ago, I happened to mention Vincent. Jack said, "Vincent's an asshole! He hasn't even given me his new phone number yet. We keep making plans, and he keeps finding more convenient friends to do stuff with instead" If anyone mentioned Vincent for the next two days, all Jack would say was "Fuck Vincent!" I thought, oh no, not again, don't let him get all hostile and unbearable again. Last night, Vincent came over while they were gaming. Jack's first words were, "Fuck you! You asshole, I haven't fucking seen you in two fucking weeks! What the fuck is your problem?" I thought, oh shit, but Vincent sat down, and told Jack all about what he'd been doing, and it was all good. I'd totally forgotten that about him. He does have a short fuse, but once he can lash out at whatever is pissing him off, he's usually ok. You also always know that he's telling you exactly how he feels. He just plain can't keep it back, especially if it's a chance to yell at someone.
Anne amazes me. She and Jack are really a perfect marriage. She was flunking out of school her freshman year, and Jack yelled at her, and pushed her, until she ended up grad school material. She needed someone to do that for her, and he did it. She's also strong enough to keep him in line. A few nights ago, Jack and GI George were arguing about some military thing. Jack was getting worked up, because fighting invigorates him. George was also getting worked up, and a little pissed off. He left the room to get a soda.
Anne: Stop it.
Anne: You're making him mad.
Jack: But I like battling stupidity.
Anne: He doesn't think it's stupid. The military is his life, and he doesn't want to hear about what you think is wrong with it.
Jack:But there are a lot of things wrong with it.
Anne: I said stop it. Let it go.
George came back, and we talked of other things.
See, Anne is not only strong enough to handle Jack, which I don't think I could do, she's also strong enough to deal with his illness, which I know would totally freak my shit out. It freaks me out a little that I even know someone with a terminal disease. I could absolutely not handle living with that, and staring at it every single minute of my life. But she does. She even married him.
In addition to being one of the strongest people I know, she's also just plain fun to hang out with. She's funny, and talkative. She can feed off anyone else's good mood, and almost instantly be just as hyper and silly as anyone else in the room. Then, if Jack starts coughing or seems to be having trouble breathing, she's just as instantly right back into a mode to deal with that.
I don't really know Dave. He's usually either sleeping or working when I happen to go over there. He seems like good people. He got quite drunk on his 21st birthday.
Everyone told me before I met Drew that he was a reincarnation of Dante. When I first met him, I thought, OK, he looks kinda like Dante, I guess, but then again, so did Nick. Then he started talking, and man, it's actually kinda scary. Drew is Jewish, but it seems to have had much the same effect on him that Catholicism had on Dante. He whines about not gettin' any. He talks about how screwed up he is. He is nowhere near as bitter as he seems from listening to him talk endlessly about either of these subjects. He even makes the same little whimpering noises when things inexplicably fail to go his way.
Nicholas and Wedge. Roomates. They also work together at SubWay. It's like a bad sitcom.
When Nick first showed up, everyone thought he was The Second Coming of Dante. He had the trench coat. He had the black hat. He had the long frizzy hair and the glasses. But then he opened his mouth. Dante doesn't get that sarcastic and rude, at least not until he's really pissed off. Dante also makes far fewer random deliberately odd noises. It's like talking to a cartoon. It will probably never stop amusing me.
Wedge is insane. I don't even know what his real name is, or if he has one. He has a Backstreet Boys poster on his bedroom door "to ward off evil." He is obsessed with midgets, and dreams of someday finding midget porn. "The thing about midgets is, they're very small. They can hide anywhere. There could be dozens of 'em, right in this room!"
Jake and Erin. Roomates, perhaps more. I honestly don't know. Jake kicks ass, because he has the habit of randomly showing up at Jack and Anne's with mass quantities of food he has prepared. Jack once said Jake seems to exist to fulfill his (Jack's) every innermost desire. Jack is hungry. Jake appears with blueberry muffins. Jack is bored. Jake shows up with a movie, and a pot of spaghetti sauce.
Jake was recently offered a kick-ass cooking job in a town about an hour and a half away. He's commuting until October when his lease expires. Then he's moving down there. He has convinced Jack and Anne to move with him. Damn him.
Anne actually wants to do something with her new English degree, and thinks she'll be able to find the publishing job of her dreams in a bigger city. I told Jack that although I personally thought it sucked, as a friend, I had to tell them go for it. Jack tried to convince me that D. and I should also move to West Bend. Our new landlord just has a month to month lease, and by then I should have gotten what's left of my 401k, so, technically, we probably could. But I don't even have everything unpacked yet. I don't want to think about moving again. I've been telling people we're staying in Cowtown for at least 40 years, because I really really hate moving.
On the other hand, I am not likely to get my own life on track anytime soon if I stay here. Should I force myself to find a real job now, this very week if not sooner, or should I chill out, because I'm moving again in a few months anyway? It's a discussion for another day. I'm so close to wrapping this up.
GI George, my sister, Sarah, and Pat the Phi Delt.
None of these people are Taunies. They are all students living in Merriman House. Pat isn't even a Tau. He's a member of the "rival" fraternity that shares a building with the Taus. He started out as a friend of George's, but now pretty much everyone knows him and likes him, because unlike many Phi Delts, he's intelligent and a really nice guy.
BT. Again, not a Taunie. He started life as a townie. He became friends with several of the gamers. He might actually be a social member of the House by now. I'm not sure.
Karen. Karin. Lexie. Paul. Jesus Christ. (uh, that's an expletive. Not a Taunie.) There are so damn many of them. I can't handle this anymore. I've been doing this damn entry all fucking day. I'll wrap this up tomorrow.