Sunday I hosted noder ushdfgakjasgh and his utterly lovely, charming girlfriend at my restaurant. This is a milestone for me; I've not ever had a noder visit there before.

Prior to their arrival, I ran around handing out crisp $20 bills to the staff to ensure that they called me "sir" or "Paul" instead of the usual "whaddaya want, dickhead?!"

The moment of their arrival arrived. I'd imagined ushdfgakjasgh to be perhaps a grad student, in his late 20s. Well, was I in for a surprise. He and his girlfriend couldn't have been more than 13 years old. Really, though, these doe-eyed recent high school graduates made me feel every second of my 50 years on this earth. "Ush" as I'll call him from now on, is a man of spare words, most of them "okay." I do believe I overwhelmed them a bit with my loquacious first greeting.

In the spirit of nodermeets, I did a bad thing and offered these two younglings the Devil's drink. They both discovered Asahi (from Japan) and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Young Ush is a very, very smart person. His interests are myriad; playing and listening to avant garde music in obscure genres, art, and minimalist style. And anarchy. If one reads his homenode, one will discover that his other interest, reiterated several times, is "crushing E2." In my head; I combined the "anarchist" thing together with "crushing E2" and became frightened that he may have secreted some sort of little surprise on his person.

They ordered dinner and watched politely as I dominated the conversation, occasionally sipping on a Pepsi, which saturated my bushy white mustache, and then fell onto my white polo shirt. I do believe I did that with dumpling dipping sauce, too.

After a delightful conversation about styles of music Ush revealed that he plays quite a few instruments and screams. Yes, screams; not sings. That nixed the idea I had for him to sit in with me and the evening's entertainment to do a song. The thought crossed my mind of the already sparse crowd that night getting up and running for their lives as Ush accompanied himself on the piano howling an ode to sex with Beelzebub in Death Metal fashion.

In all truth, however, given the musical tastes of Ush and his lovely friend, I must commend them for enduring most of a three-hour show of jazz standards, performed by cabaret singer Joel Garcia and pianist Jonathan Chatfield. (Although during my performance of "Route 66" I could hear moans from their corner of the room that sounded something like "my ears; my ears; oh, my God; my ears!") The most precious of quotes from Ush was "all I hear is him (the vocalist) starting with one song and switching to another." This was particularly evident in Joel's take on "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." I explained that in the '30s and '40s all songs had an introduction; but one rarely hears them anymore - the artists go right for the melody. Well, at my place we've taken great pains to get musical scores which include the introductions; and Joel sang and Jonathan played them all with aplomb.

The evening ended all too soon. I wished both young people well on the occasion of their rapidly-approaching first years at College. They bade farewell in kind.

The infrared camera equipped with a parabolic microphone in my parking lot picked up the following conversation:

Ush: "What a crazy old fuck. I thought he'd never stop talking!"

Ush's g/f: "The food was good, though."

Ush: "Is that the kind of music all old people listen to? No wonder they're all Republicans."

Ush's g/f: "No. I think it's just him and a few of his friends. There weren't many people in there."

In unison: "Whoa, the whole back wall of the place is white!"

Ush's g/f: "Go into the trunk and get the Krylon and let's tag it!"

I was thinking about shooting 'em, but I don't like to shit where I eat.

I had found the perfect flatmate. She was a Swedish girl, she spoke other languages fluently, she salsa danced, she was fun to be around with, we were getting along swimmingly. She was everything anyone could ask for.

I have lost her, and I'm really bummed out about this. She got mugged in one of the alleys that leads to my home, one of the few ways to get home on foot from downtown, and all paths to my place go through an alley. It's a very long alley too, and there's no way to avoid alleys to my place unless you take a cab and go all the way around town in a path that's a hundred times longer than the walking shortcut through the alleys.

I understand why she moved out, and I can't condemn her for doing so, but yet, I'm starting to get bitter about the whole affair. I lived in this house, which is a very nice house, since January, so close to nine months now. I lived here with Kristen and another couple. Every day for six months, Kristen and the other girl in here would walk up the very same alleys where the Swedish girl would walk through, and nothing ever happened to them. But my Swedish flatmate, my most awesome and perfect Swedish flatmate, she got mugged in that street within two weeks of having moved in to my place, so she moved out. She can't feel safe here, so she found another place that has a much smaller alley to go through if she wants to go home by foot.

She got mugged at knifepoint at six pm, in broad daylight, a time during which she thought she would normally be safe. She had her sense of safety stolen away from her, and I understand this. I understand why she moved away, but damnit, I can't understand why anyone else can't move in here instead.

I need a flatmate. I can't pay for this place by myself. It's too expensive for me alone. I always have been using a cute little multilingual ad which goes through great lengths to not specify gender of the flatmate I'm looking for, and honestly I don't care if I live with a guy or a girl. However, I now feel that I'm morally obligated to tell anyone who moves here that my ex-flatmate got mugged in the one alley that leads up to my house, that it's not safe around here, and in short, that they shouldn't move in with me at all.

I think my ex-flatmate was unlucky, as attested by all the safe trips that Kristen and the other girl I used to live with. But then it's once unlucky, forever cursed. My house is cursed, and unfit for sharing with a girl.

It's not that I particularly want to live with a girl, although I probably would prefer it, truth be told. I'm quite happy living with a guy too, but the fact that remains that most of the people who have ever answered my ad have been girls. If I don't allow girls to live with me, then I'm cutting out on a large part of the potential market of people to share a place with, and I'm rather desperate to get a flatmate now, since my finances aren't going too well (they're not too bad either, but y'know).

Hence, I'm bitter. I'm bitter that my house is cursed and that I feel morally obligated to prolong its curse.

I can contextualise a little why I feel this way. I have never felt unsafe in my life, and I can't relate to anyone else, girls especially, who feel unsafe, powerless, subjugated to the evils that someone else may do to them. In a way, I may still be the teenager that believes himself to be bulletproof. I mean, I can understand why my Swedish flatmate moved out, but I can't relate to it. I went with her to find a new place and even said to her, once we had seen a good one, "if I were you, I'd take it." I think I was morally obligated to say something like that, that any suggestiong that she stay in my place despite having lost all sense of security would be heinous, and I shouldn't even consider doing so.

Now I don't know what to do. Hence why I'm bitter, angry at the situation, feeling unable to fix this position in which outrageous fortune has put me into, and even being a bit of an ass suggesting that everyone should live in the same reckless fearlessness I am in myself, for death and mischief may strike at any time, and it's even pointless to attempt to plan against most of it. I don't believe in fear, and I'm acting like no one else should either.

I thought writing this would help. It hasn't. I'm still bitter. Maybe if I sleep on it some more, I will get better. Yeah, I think that's what I'll do.


Okay, I think I exhausted my anger in dreams. I had angry dreams, but I woke up morally exhausted, glum, and depressed. Step 2 of the recovery plan, I guess, now that Step 1, Anger, is out of the way.

I'll print ads today and put them up tomorrow.

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