Issue #58 – “End of an Error” – December 13th, 2004

-Three and a half years is the natural limit for heterosexual males to live together.  And so, after thousands of arguments, hundreds of rolls of toilet paper, dozens of pre-games, three girlfriends, two apartments, and 42 months of living together separated only by a thin, temporary plaster wall, my roommate Brian is finally moving out.  It is a time of sadness and of joy.  But most of all, it is a time for retrospection.  This one’s for you, man, the most absurd roommate of all time.

-Here’s an argument typical of the Karo/Brian Experiment.  Our apartment building has a garbage chute in the hallway.  Since we rarely, if ever, take out the kitchen trash, I usually throw food waste directly down the chute.  Brian refuses.  He insists on throwing rotten bananas and leftover tuna fish in the kitchen garbage, saying, “Karo, it’s a garbage can, that’s what it’s there for.”  Dude, garbage cans only work if you empty them.  If you don’t, it’s not a garbage can – it’s just a filthy hole next to the fridge.

-What else has made the Karo/Brian Experiment so unique?  We taunt each other in song.  That’s right, instead of making fun of each other like normal male roommates, we put our insults to music.  Here’s the soundtrack: I say I’m really tired from writing all day and Brian sings “Cry Me a River.”  Brian complains that he used to be in much better shape and I sing “Glory Days.”  I yell at Brian for throwing garbage in the garbage can and he sings “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”  Brian tells me he’ll be spending his 42nd consecutive night with his girlfriend and I sing “She Drives Me Crazy.”  I say that I’m going on a second date with a girl and Brian sings “You’re Still the One.”  I figure any friendship that spans from Springsteen to Shania Twain must be a good one.

-As if you couldn’t see this one coming, Brian is of course moving in with his girlfriend.  This is really not much of a change, since Brian and his girlfriend basically live together in our apartment right now.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  I calculated that over the past 100 days, his girlfriend has spent the night roughly 95 times, he’s stayed at her place three times, and twice they slept apart.  There are just so many jokes I could make about those figures, but I have a lot to get to in this issue, so I’m just going to move on.

-OK, I can’t move on.  I just don’t get it.  Brian and his girlfriend go away for ten days on vacation.  They come back after a really long flight and his girlfriend comes over directly from the airport and stays over for the next week.  Don’t you need a little break from each other?  Don’t you want to unpack?  What the hell is wrong with you people??

-And when they are in the apartment together, they are always touching.  Sometimes lightly caressing, other times massaging, maybe even a little tickling, but definitely always touching.  Hello??  Do you see me?  I’m right next to you two on the couch.  Have a little decency for the love of God.  I’m about to throw up in the garbage can and you know it’s just going to sit there.

-I can’t even picture what the two of them are going to be like when they move in together.  I mean, Brian is already twenty-five going on forty-seven years old.  I can only imagine him and his girlfriend reading in bed together every weeknight, a lamp on each of their night tables glowing while they hold hands under the covers.  Then on the weekends, they’ll sit on the couch with mugs of coffee and the Sunday paper.  Actually, I can’t imagine any of that.  Brian doesn’t read.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-You know what, fuck that, let’s just keep discussing Brian as a roommate.  After all, this is the last time I’ll ever get to do it.  And just to be fair, he gets plenty of shots in at me, too.  For instance, he recently overheard me talking on the phone to a sorority girl who was organizing an upcoming performance of mine at a college.  I was making small talk and I said something like, “Oh, you’re in Tri Delt?  They were like the third best sorority at my school.”  As soon as I got off the phone, Brian was like, “Karo, you graduated three and a half years ago.  Are you still ranking sororities?”

-Brian’s current girlfriend is actually his second serious relationship in the time we’ve lived together.  When we first moved to the city, Brian was still dating his girlfriend from college.  She totally ran his life.  Once, when she was between apartments, Brian let her move in with us for a whole month without even asking me.  The weird thing is that she actually lived here and was still in the apartment less than his current girlfriend is now.  How is that even possible?

-After the college relationship finally fell apart in a flaming wreck, I was happy to see Brian single for a little while.  It was a drunken, assless time for him, but at least there was more room on the couch for me.  Then he met his current girlfriend.  I’ll be honest, I did my best to stop the impending relationship after they started hooking up.  I told him not to call her.  I told him not to see her.  I was the typical single, asshole roommate.  But it was too late.  Brian’s parents came to the city for dinner one night and took him and his girl out instead of me.  And that was basically it.  Not only was I losing my friend, but I was missing out on free meals as well.  And that hurt.

-Eventually, Brian and his new girlfriend fell in love.  They love each other.  And that’s just great.  But I don’t think Brian understands that just because you love someone doesn’t mean you have to say “I love you” at the end of every single phone conversation, voicemail, email, text message, and Post-it note.  It’s OK not to say it.  I don’t think she’ll forget – you’ve been in physical contact for sixteen consecutive hours.

-And, finally, Brian and I are childhood friends and, ironically enough, our parents live so close to each other that our houses are actually architecturally identical.  In fact, the only difference is that his layout is the reverse of mine.  In a way, that sums up our friendship.  We are so similar, yet so opposite.  We both have girlfriends – he’s about to get engaged to his but I haven’t seen mine in three days.  We both have passions – I’m hooked on my iPod but he knows the words to every single McDonald’s theme song from the past twenty years.  And we have our weaknesses – he’s pretty much dysfunctional when it comes to dealing with women but I can’t take a bra off with one hand.  But in the end, we got along incredibly well these past few years.  We laughed, we drank, we had a blast.  I’m happy for him and his girlfriend.  But for me, the Karo/Brian Experiment will always be our Glory Days.  And so I bid you farewell, roommate.  It’s been real.  Oh, and Brian, don’t forget the trash on your way out, just for old times’ sake.  Fuck me.