Before Valentine’s Day (aka Browniecow Day in our house), I entered a contest at a local cupcake store in Pasadena called Dots. The idea was to write on a postcard (that they provided), the craziest thing you ever did for love. You could also post it to their Facebook page, so that’s what I did since B didn’t go into the office that week because his officemate was under the weather.
I wrote about how when B was in Manila after he graduated from Berkeley, I sent him letters every day (for 3 months). I worked graveyard at the time and would stay up writing these long silly letters. I started putting little notes on the outside of the letters, which I learned kind of annoyed his mother. Actually my letters in general annoyed her, and of course just the idea of me, even more. This was before email worked outside closed systems, so aside from the phone, which was expensive and difficult because of the time zones, it was our only way of communication.
I didn’t go into any real detail as the idea was this would fit on a postcard – something I am clearly aware of as last year I sent over 300 postcards. Also, I’m not sure how some of the details would have gone over.
Usually when I tell people this story, I use the word “kidnapped”, as I do believe that B was indeed, kidnapped. Parents usually are the ones most involved in child abduction. Of course, some could argue that B had reached the age of majority, but he was extremely dependent on his parents because they made sure he was.
Like many college grads that year, B did not manage to find work before he walked on stage and accepted his diploma. The country was in a recession. It also didn’t help that he was at someone of a disadvantage, still not understanding all the cultural expectations of the job interview process – not that I’m sure anyone really does.
At any rate, after taking us to Chez Panisse to celebrate, they pretty much took B back to his apartment and told him to start packing. I went back to my apartment and didn’t learn of “the plan” until the weekend was over. It was pretty awful.
I think his parents figured out that we had been living together, although before his graduation, I went and found a room in an apartment with two other women. They became known as the RMB (Resident Martyr Bitch) and Helmethead. They were often referred to in those letters.
I know those names sound horrible, but they truly were well deserved. The RMB had an inner need to suffer, but she also made sure that if she was suffering, so were you. She had a boyfriend who would often come over. He had had some serious health issues with his back and spine. She bent over backwards for him; he treated her like dirt.
I had made it clear when I looked at the apartment that I worked nights, and thus slept (or tried to) during the day. This did not stop the RMB from vacuuming the ugly green shag carpeting at 10am – timed perfectly for when I was about to enter REM sleep. When I confronted her she would say it was bothering her. She was probably a little OCD too.
Helmethead was sweet, but dumb. She earned her nickname because she would spend no less than two hours in the only bathroom in the apartment fixing her hair and makeup, only to then put on her helmet and ride her moped down the streets of Berkeley. I have nothing against people who spend that kind of time on their looks, but it just made no sense to me. Plus, some of us had to pee.
My favorite story about Helmethead happened one morning, when I awoke to frantic pounding on the front door. I am not sure what possessed me to get out of bed and answer it, especially given that I was alone, but I did. Maybe the urgency made me believe there was a fire or something.
On the other side was our downstairs neighbor. He was pissed! It would seem that Helmethead must have taken a bath (the one redeeming feature of the apartment was a large sunken tub perfect for long bubble baths) the previous night, forgot about the principles of displacement, and flooded his bathroom in the process. I explained that I worked nights, and asked him to please come back after 11pm. I’m not sure if he did.
There actually was a cupcake involved in one of the stories about the RMB. She had a little black cat. He wasn’t a bad kitty, but one night he decided to hop on the counter and grab hold of my remaining Hostess cream filled cupcake (a weakness, what can I say), that I had in a plastic bag.
He pushed it down onto the floor and then tore into the bag. He got the cupcake, but I guess he didn’t like it, so just left crumbs all over the kitchen floor.
The RMB noticed it, but didn’t do anything about it. She believed since it was my cupcake, I should clean it up. She didn’t even apologize. Like I said, she was beyond worthy of her nickname. Her cat became known as Cupcake from then on out.