That effect was accentuated because Nick and I had too-different schedules. Our plan had been to work our respective jobs during the day, and then see movies, write and draw comics, go to museums, and walk around the city at night and on weekends. Sunbow interns worked between one and four days per week. On the advice of my dad, and wanting to make a good impression, I volunteered to work the maximum, so I was there Monday through Thursday 10 to 6. (It seems that people in the entertainment industry are an hour shifted past traditional 9 to 5. Or perhaps East Coast offices do so to have more overlap with their West Coast counterparts.) But Nick worked at a video store, and his hours were more like noon to 8 six days a week. Best friends since 7th grade, and with plans to both work hard and play hard all summer, we barely saw each other. It was disappointing, and I resented Nick for being so busy, even though he was the one with the real, paying job, while I was the couch surfer with the unpaid internship. But our mismatch allowed me a lot of time to myself, which meant reading outside and the occasional afternoon drawing at the zoo (both the Bronx and Central Park), a habit I had picked up the previous year in school.
Late Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons were the only time we both had off. This was probably a good thing, since I had a habit of getting snippy if we spent too much time together, but for good friends with everything in common it put a serious damper on our plans for summer fun. A few nights in the apartment we watched movies Nick was appalled that I’d never seen, like The Wild Bunch, Heavenly Creatures, and Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control. Since the TV was 13 inches, I wasn’t too thrilled. Moreso, I was at the peak of my unreasonable Transformers fandom that year, and had brought the entire run of Beast Wars on VHS for Nick to catch up. He politely declined, citing the show as ugly, or silly, or boring, or not enough like the original Transformers. Did I mention we were writing and drawing an annual Transformers fan comic? Nick’s resistance to Beast Wars puzzled and bothered me. Worse, the living arrangement did not work out as planned.
Nick’s sneaky idea for me to crash was a good one. Amazingly and unfortunately, Nick’s three roommates also had the same idea. And no one thought to tell anyone else until we had all shown up. So in a two bedroom/four bed apartment with a kitchen, common room, and bathroom, there were eight of us. Or maybe just seven. I guess one of the roommates’ friends was actually his girlfriend, and rather than her moving in, she was just staying over there every night as boyfriends or girlfriends sometimes do. But they were asleep in the common room on the fold-out couch every morning at 8am, my plans to eat sugar cereal and watch Transformers each morning foiled by the unconscious, spooning couple splayed just in front of the TV. This also meant I couldn’t even eat “normal” breakfast. I had to eat “quiet” breakfast, so every morning I woke up, left all the lights off, spoke to no one, made my meal with as few clinks and slams as possible, and chewed in darkness, standing in silence, slightly miserable. Is it any wonder I resented Nick for our reverse schedules? I didn’t have any friends at the internship, and I kind of avoided the other interns, so it was a somewhat lonely summer, even in a packed apartment and a full office in the busiest city in America.
The only thing that made the living situation bearable was that everyone had different schedules. Two of the three roommates were bouncers, another worked the late shift at a restaurant. So generally half of the apartment was nocturnal, leaving for work when the other half got home from it. Again, which made the whole social aspect odd. I didn’t get to know the other roommates at all. And there was also a little tension in the air. Everyone was angry at everyone else for bringing in a squatter, for taking up space, for using the bathroom, for just being there.
Additionally, halfway through the summer that empty bed got filled when Nick’s school placed a transfer student from Europe in our apartment. Nick was nervous. This transfer student might blow the whistle on our free ride. And reasonably so. He wasn’t supposed to have 7 roommates. Us squatters hadn’t signed any paperwork. We had no right to stay, and a simple phone call would have cast us all out, and gotten Nick and the actual roommate in serious trouble. To the transfer student’s credit, and our relief, he never did tell on us, although three times he threatened to. Each time Nick or one of the actual tenants talked to him and calmed him down. I think ultimately he just went with it because he didn’t want to be the heavy, and maybe part of him realized all us hangers-on could use a break. Also, it meant his rent was significantly cheaper. I’m surprised we didn’t bribe him.
Now I had to make sure I didn’t put my foot in my mouth at work.
What idiotic thing did Tim say that should have gotten him fired? Tune in next time to find out!