Monday, May 21, 2007

Anita Shower

Let's get something out the the way real quick. Why yes, I am a horrible person! If you're not a regular, and feel as though you may have a problem with this; go ahead and just skip out now.

Everyone else, thanks for sticking around! From time to time, both on this site and in real life, I make reference to a blind roommate I had in college. Because it's pretty much always a hit, over the past decade I've told the story of my blind roommate more times than I can count. And now, armed with my newfound powers of wordsmithery, I think it's about time I shared the story with the rest of the world.

It was the summer of 1996, and I was anticipating my Freshman year of college. Like most resident Freshman I was eagerly awaiting my roommate assignment, my head filled with fantasies of a new Best Friend or partner in crime. Although more realistically I should have expected that fate and luck would continue to shit on me as it had done much of my first 18 years of life, which naturally turned out to be the case.

Anita was from Leet, West Virginia. The phone number given with her contact information led me to her Aunt's residence, who in turn gave me a number to contact Anita where she currently inhabited at an Institution for the Blind. I was horrified. When I told my parents, my father pitched a fit and threatened to call the school. Somehow that horrified even me more. Inevitably, since my nature to rebel against my parents overrode my not wanting to live with a blind girl, I decided to be Mother fucking Theresa and step up to the plate.

My first encounter with Anita was at 5:00AM, the day after all the other Freshman moved in. I was sleeping in nothing but a T-shirt and underwear when Anita, her redneck uncle, bleach blonde cousin (wearing jeans with cut-outs going the whole way up the leg) and the Resident Assistant came crashing in without notice. It was a dreadful harbinger of what the next four months were to bring.

Living with Anita was awful. She was for one thing, a nasty and unpleasant person. After a week I gave up trying to make conversation with her. From my observations, I'm also pretty sure she was kind of faking the whole "being blind" thing. She had even admitted to me once that she wasn't 100% blind! To watch her walk by herself, she would breezily swing her cane back and forth; when people approached she would hastily smack it around. I can't even tell you how many times people told me she hit them with her cane.

Blindness notwithstanding, by far the worst aspect of living with Anita was her deplorable hygiene, (or lack thereof.) Anita smelled. Anita smelled bad. Anita didn't brush her teeth, or wear deodorant. Anita didn't shower once the entire semester, hence the nickname. Sunday through Thursday nights Anita would take baths. In the dorm bathtub. Aside from the whole "stewing in your own filth" argument against taking baths; it should be noted that the dorm bathtub was also a shower combo. And for some reason, it was the only shower that didn't go scalding hot when someone flushed the toilet. So since it was being used as a public shower all day long, not only was Anita stewing in her own filth, but everyone elses, as well. And yes, even when it was "her time of the month." Let that sink in for a hot minute while your gag reflex spasms.

Anita also had hair down to butt. I wouldn't call it a style, per se... More like, 'God gave me this hair and I'm just gonna let nature fucking run with it. So after her bath every night, she would attempt to run a brush through the sopping ghastly mess, and immediately go to sleep. Let me tell you, the smell that cultivated from that damp hair overnight... If you've ever bathed a dog, imagine that smell only ripened to the Nth degree by being trapped in a tiny concrete dorm room. And since she didn't bathe at all on the weekends (suffice to say I went home every weekend that semester) when I'd arrive back to the room Sunday night after she'd been holed in there all weekend, opening that door was like unleashing the odor of something dead. I had to wash every article of my clothing after I moved out.

So after hearing all that, it probably won't surprise you that Anita's nutritional habits were equally as appalling. The three food groups were: pizza, Pepsi and candy. Despite being lazy and rather unintelligent, between her low income status and disability Anita was getting a totally free ride at the University. And although her room and board were fully covered, she spent all of her disposable grant money on junk food. To watch the girl eat Skittles was like Chinese Water Torture. Since her teeth were basically rotting out of her mouth, she ate them with her face contorting in pain as if she were chewing pieces of glass.

One day, out of what I believe was a combination of boredom and curiosity at the reckless abandon of a blind person who was so carelessly sloppy and unorganized, I went through some of Anita's belongings. I know. Horrible person. We've covered it already. In the bottom of her closet I found a toothbrush collecting dust, mint in package. In her desk, an unorganized mess of braille papers and the ID card pictured above. I don't know what it was, but something about that slightly confused, slack-jawed expression of a poor blind person getting their ID photo taken made me absolutely squee with uncontrollable giggles. I'd like to say what happened next came as a result of my adolescence, but let's face it; at 29 I'd probably do it again. Apprehending the ID card, I ran down the hall to a friends room, where we both squee'ed with laughter, then ran out to the lobby photocopier and proceeded to copy and enlarge the ID until it was the size of a sheet of paper. Over a decade later, I still hold onto this tattered little scrap of paper in remembrance of this one fond memory of my time with Anita.

Moral of the story? Not all blind people are stinky, and not all people from West Virginia are simpleminded yokels. (Or, I'm assuming, anyway. I don't believe I've ever met any other blind people and/or West Virginians.) But if you happen across someone who meets all four classifications? Do not even think about living with them.

39 comments:

oakley said...

For the record, I will never think of you as a horrible person for how you spent your time with Anita. The most horrible thing about it-which you neglect to mention and should-is the way the university disability people handled it. They expected you to show Anita around and help her get to class! They basically pawned their job off on you! Meanwhile, Anita was no help to you, making it nearly impossible for you to help her.

This past year I had a blind student in my class, and had to deal with the same bullshit from the disability office. Students and I were expected to help the kid get to and from class. Disability people often left him stranded. If I needed them to scan homework into braille, it was this HUGE deal. Email after email, I did not complain, but was reminded repeatedly from the head of the dept: "We are all working very hard to accommodate this student."

I know that blind students deserve a chance to go to a "regular" school; and from speaking with my blind student, I know that blind schools move at a snail's pace that disadvantages the more intelligent, capable blind student. But going to a nonblind school has added complications, beyond intelligence, that are foreign, I think, to blind students. And it's not fair that the rest of us are inconvenienced because of it.

How's that for a horrible thing to say?

TK said...

1. You are a total bitch.

2. After reading that, I'd take you as a roommate any day.

My roommate freshman year was also a nightmare. A wannabe metalhead/goth kid who didn't drink, didn't like ANY of the same things I did, told me his nickname was "Lawnmower Death" (yes, really), and had a hideous, unclean girlfriend - who he'd attempt to have fumbling, sweaty sex with WHILE I WAS IN THE ROOM. Needless to say, after about two months I went on a drunken rampage, came home to find the two of them together and proceeded to rage at them incoherently until they left.

We barely spoke for the rest of the year, and he spent most nights in her room. I'd call it a victory.

Your roommate wasn't a scumbag because she was blind, or poor. She was just a flat-out fucking scumbag.

litelysalted said...

oakley- Actually, the university didn't expect too much of me in that respect. Or maybe they did, but I was oblivious in a "fuck that!" sort of way. She did have a good amount of volunteers who helped her out with getting around, and with her work and etc. I guess it probably varies from school to school, though.

TK- "Lawnmower Death" Bwah!! I just had to find a picture of Criss Angel for a post over at Yeeeah!, and I was totally envisioning that douche in my head as I was reading your comment. Awesome!

sme said...

Ew. Gross. I feel dirty now that I've read your blog. Your descriptions of her long hair and her period baths have made me want to vomit. I give you infinite amounts of credit for living with her for as long as you did.
Ew. Gross. I need a shower.

Osbourne Black said...

Sooo! Whatever happen to Anita? Did she become the head of a major corporation? Or did she go back to West Virginia and use her new found book learnin' to work at a local convenience store?

Manny said...

You really should have just dumped a bottle of Vagisil powder over all of her belongings, and scored her cane so it would break whenever it hit a wall.

aejr said...

i totally remember you telling me and my dad about it on the car ride home from KU once... and saying that the disability people dropped her off at the dorm, and were like, "take her to class" or something. maybe i hear things wrong... i've been known to do that! :)

bionic bunny! said...

i think she shops at my local grocery now. everytime i go in there, i swear i get caught in someone's funk cloud.
i can't even imagine what france must smell like.

onthevirg said...

Wow. That story almost makes me glad that I missed the college experience when I was younger.

Jeff said...

Whoa that ID brings back memories. Scary ones.
And then there was The Daily Show with Craig Kilborn reruns on your Transformer VCR, and printing out fake parking stickers on your printer. Those were the good times.

litelysalted said...

jeff, you got "caned" by Anita, didn't you?

Man, to this day I don't know how that effing meter maid saw through our little ruse.

Oh, and Anita became a seamstress in a factory for disabled workers, per a google search from a few years back. I am not making this up.

bionic bunny! said...

well, that does explain the quality of wal mart, kmart and target's clothing lines.

the cool thing about blind workers is that they can't see if you cheated them on their pay.


oh. i'm sorry. was that mean?

Daphne said...

I know that I'm not among your usual, loyal readers, but I just wanted to say....I'm sorry. Truly, madly, deeply. I just really felt the need to apologize. Sounds like you recovered well from such a traumatic experience, though, so yay!

I don't understand the lack of personal hygiene. It's like the 8th wonder of the world to me. Mind-boggling. I mean, how do you not take a shower over an entire weekend, short of being drunk out of your ass? Or homeless? Or mentally disabled (well....)? Was it a religious requirement? Perhaps a requirement of her hometown?

MEECH! said...

Come on... where are the haters? That's the most fun-est part of blogging!

Anonymous said...

Yeah- I can totally relate- i spent three weeks in a tiny dorm room with someone who pissed her bed EVERY NIGHT. I'm not talking "oops I let out a trickle" I mean it sloshed off the bed in the morning when she'd get up. I know they make Depends and maybe the bitch should have stopping drinking fluids before 5 pm or something. I should have figured it out when I saw my plastic coated mattress the first night...

MEECH! said...

anonymous - are you serious?!??!?!

litelysalted said...

Ha! Plastic mattress! One time a (boy) friend of mine passed out on another friend's dorm room floor and incoherently pissed in her closet in the middle of the night. But in your own bed? Every night? Grief!

meech!, I'm kind of disappointed, too. Apparently, it's okay to trash blind people, but not the morbidly obese?

Anonymous said...

well, fat people can read the internet.

em said...

This had me laughing uncontrollably. Fucking hilarious.

My boyfriend freshman year had a sad, sad roommate who actualy got kicked out of the dorms for "excessive masturbation". I wonder where that guy is now.

TK said...

Knowing what guys were like at that age, you must be partaking in some truly epic masturbation to get kicked out of a fucking dorm for it. I mean, damn.

Seth said...

Well, I've got to say that I have yet to meet a West Virginian who wasn't a yokel. And as for bad roommates, she doesn't sound like a walk in the park. However, at least she didn't try to get you permanently kicked out of the dorms (as my college girlfriend's roommate tried to do to her, freshman year). More importantly, at least she didn't try to kill you by putting rat poison in your underwear (as happened to another friend of mine).

...roommates are the best, aren't they!?

MEECH! said...

Excessive masturbation? Rat poison in UNDERWEAR?? This is the greatest blog comment string in the history of forever.

A girl I don't remember too well told me that her one roommate had a big green vibrator she bragged about. This roommate started to use it on herself at night, and when she asked the roommate about the noise in the dark, she replied "Shh. It's the green monster." Urgh! Gag!

Sally said...

First, my dorm mate horror story:

My first semester freshman year found me rooming with a girl who, again, didn't believe in bathing. I think maybe showering twice a week was about average. Add to that that she was a total slob (and I'm a clutterbug, but I have limits) and we have the beginnings of a recipe for disaster. She ate SPAM. An assload of it, and left empty SPAM cans laying around the room wherever it was that she finished eating. She kept bizarro hours but yet had no social life outside of the Christian college she went to previously, she would just go wandering around or hide in the library then waltz in at 3am, turn on every light in the room and eat more SPAM. Gah!

Secondly:

I've been reading through your blog and have to add that I am as an unabashed fan of the Winchester boys as you are, but the bonus is that my husband thinks the show is kick-ass, too. Lots of guns and classic rock do the trick, I'm sure. Last year we had a pre-Halloween Supernaturalathon with us and two of our friends. It was awesome--you should totally try it! Days of Supernatural followed by Halloween is superb entertainment.

litelysalted said...

Truly, this is a blog comment string of epic proportions! These stories make me squee with delight.

sally, a girl after my own heart. I'm hoping to do a SN piece for Pajiba... (assuming you came from there) with Seth's blessing of course. ;)

Sally said...

Fantastic! I look forward to it. The best one can get out of Seth is a big "meh" for Supernatural. I'm sure you'll do it justice. :)

Bree said...

Ok...for serious I just laughed so hard I cried for 20 minutes. Being blind is no excuse for being NASTY. And who the crap takes a BATH in college. They make you wear SHOES in the shower. Gross. I totally lived with a roomate at college who didn't like to flush the toilet regardless of what dropped out of her...yellow or brown she never flushed it down. I told the RA that if I had to continue to live with her I was going to have to give her a swirly each time she refused to flush or they could get me a new roomate. She was out of there in two weeks (she was a vegan health nut and I guess maybe hanging that steak in her closet was mean but COME ON...SHE NEVER FLUSHED!)

Coryn said...

Oh dear...I'm starting college in the fall and I am petrified that I will end up with a roommate like these. I guess I could always just buy a tent...

katy said...

I also had the wannabe goth for my freshman year roommate. She would smoke in the room and never open the curtains or windows to air the place out. She drank Mad Dog that she kept in my tiny refrigerator, and at the end of the year even tried to drink it while she was a passenger in my car. Also toward the end of the year her 28 year old wannabe goth boyfriend essentially moved into our tiny 8' x 10' room. Our dorm wasn't co-ed either, and there was a strict curfew for guys being in the building. Because he wasn't supposed to be there he never showered, and at some point they both dyed their hair black and got the dye all over the carpet. Oh yeah, and he smoked too, and still no open windows. I suppose they didn't want the sunlight hitting their perfectly pale skin. Thankfully by that time I was mostly living with my boyfriend in his own apartment, so I had an out.

Julie said...

I don't normally read your blog but I happened upon it this morning and it really made me laugh. I could pretty much picture the whole thing and it was the only time I was ever happy that I commuted to college. I knew a blind girl in college who was really nice and she didn't stink. She did have this funny typewriter that spoke when she typed into it. One day I was asked to walk her to class, I was so scared I was going to forget to warn her about a curb or something.

Brittany said...

My freshman year roommate "sprained" her ankle at least once a semester for the entire four years I knew her in college. Thankfully, I only spent one year living with her so I didn't have to put up with her crazy crutches too long. She was practically deaf but somehow was disturbed when I sent text messages on my phone in bed because the keys were TOO LOUD. She ate smelly mushroom soup and let her friends sit at my desk and mess with my laptop when I wasn't in the room.

Good lord, we should all get together and write a book.

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