From a journal dated 7/28/98

Stacey had just returned from San Francisco. He likes to hyphenate phrases, which annoys Janea, my roommate and his focus for obsession. I've missed his little -isms. He calls random people "just some blokes" and says shite instead of shit. A few nights before, Stacey and I discussed Janea's Cali-isms, phrases she returned with thick in her throat from her month long hiatus in Cloverdale. I had been attempting potato cakes in a series of days, shredding and piling, frying and turning. They kept coming out too sticky or undercooked. Janea came into the kitchen and commented on my devotion to "that potato action." Action followed almost every facet of activity. It was movie action, drinking action, sex action.

I wished aloud that I had some cute little phrases to personify my speech, but silently realized that my ability to chatter incessantly carried its own label. Among Janea, Stacey, Misty and Mike, I am the embodiment of a Chatty Cathy Doll. Each of them in their turn have been content to hear be babble about this guy or that ironic incident that fluctuated daily. Between breaths, they showed me that they indeed had been listening. Stacey had the next shift.

"I wrote once that I would be saddened to find that youthful intensity die out from lack of use. I guess I still worry about that."

"It doesn't for everyone. It changes form." Stacey rolled a Drum cigarette with his head bent and his knees folded on the floor, his long bangs forever drooping over one eye.

"But my parents…"
"Did they ever have the intensity you have?"
"Well then you can't look at them as an example."

"How many older people have you met that are still intense?" The sky outside was swelling again for rain. Tapping hard on the casing of the monstrous AC unit in the living room.

"Lots. Maybe I've been more fortunate to have met them."
"No doubt."

Weeks prior….

"So how are you and Janea doing now?" That was the question of every week, over the phone. It never got answered, so each time it asked something new. Stacey knew that when Janea returned to California, she would be reunited with the ex who wouldn't come with her, Chris, who was also her closest friend, and that she would probably be fucking him in Stacey's absence. When she came back, she had a friend, two bikes, and a drum kit in tow, along with a new set of decisions awaiting Stacey's return from Virginia.

She had explained to me over the phone and later on, spread eagle on her bedroom floor (we were all floor people then) that having sex with one (Chris, the ex) didn't detract her feeling about the other (Stacey, the current) and that it had her in a puzzle of emotions, because they didn't want to compete with each other cross country. Janea was a vegetarian Satanist from California, with underarm hair and a penchant for lime green and corn. She believed corn was an instrument of the devil and so made sure to consume corn at every meal. She had corn salt and pepper shakers, corn candles, corn magnets, corn corn corn.

Can I pick roommates or what?

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