Tales of a Paranoid Roommate

by Courtney Henning | 11/13/98 6:00am

Well, this is my second attempt at writing this week's column. I managed to string together over 400 words in the past hour before realizing that what I was writing was worth less than the pop wisdom on those uplifting day-by-day calendars. And so at my roommate's urging, I start again despite those pesky academic demands.

The past several days have been exhausting, and the next few are going to be even worse. I should have realized this all last Wednesday.

The details of Wednesday have long ago retreated from my memory. I must have gone to class, I must have had lunch at the Hop, and I know I had a lot of reading to do. Late afternoon, I know I was back in my room reading in the common room when I was inspired to make my reservations for the Dartmouth Minicoach for Thanksgiving. When I wandered into my room, I saw that my roommate Kelly had just blitzed.

She'd been at a meeting of sorts and her blitz ran to the effect, "Are you there? I think I am going to do the blood drive now." If you will remember, last Wednesday there was a blood drive at the Hop. I blitzed back some encouragement. I myself will never attempt to give blood because I am quite confident in my ability to faint in such circumstances. Kelly, however, is a stronger person than me, so I knew she could do it. So Kelly blitzed me back, "Ok, I am doing this now before I chicken out. If I'm not back by 6, come get me."

I smiled. It was only then a quarter past four so of course Kelly would be back in plenty of time. I settled back on the futon with my reading.

At 10 past five I suddenly felt nervous. The thought occurred to me that Kelly was not going to be back before six. I then remembered Kelly telling me about the two other times she had given blood. One attempt had been successful; the other had not. I grew agitated at the thought that things might not be going well for Kelly over at the Hop. I wanted to rush over and check on her right then and there, but the voice of reason prevailed. The temperature wasn't exactly tropical, and I did have reading to do. I would wait until six. I went back to my reading.

At 5:30, I threw my book down and stalked over to my computer. To share my stress, I blitzed out to Tommy, Jason, Abbey and Kendall that Kelly was not back from the blood drive. Everyone blitzed back to the effect that I shouldn't stress so much. This only irritated me because when I am being paranoid, I like to have a lot of company.

By 5:45, the room was getting too close. I felt like I was in the trash compactor on the Death Star in Star Wars; I had to get out, so I escaped to the hallway. I went over to our second floor's balcony in the hopes that I could get a glimpse of Kelly coming along Wheelock Street. No sign of the roommate. My palms got sweaty, my head felt faint, and in short, I might as well have been giving blood myself for the way I felt.

Fortunately, my floormate Kevin joined me in the hallway and let me tell him all about how I was worried for Kelly. He explained to me that Kelly was going to be fine but like the paranoid I am, I disregarded all his advice. No, no, something is wrong with my roommate.

I paced back to my room and sent out another blitz of panic. Then I returned to the balcony for my vigil. No Kelly. At two minutes of six, I pulled on my sneakers, put on my fleece and departed for the Hop.

The stretch to the Hop was absolutely abandoned. Not a soul was walking my way, which crushed my hope of running into Kelly on her way back and further convinced me that something terrible had happened. Why did I encourage her to give blood? Why?

At long last, I made it to the Hop, more agitated than I had been all term. I followed the arrows, rushed up the stairs, and there was Kelly. In absolute and complete health. If a passerby had encountered the two of us, she would have guessed that I and not my roommate had been the one to give blood.

The sight of Kelly restored my calm and we went to Collis for dinner. The entire time she of course laughed at my paranoia, and I laughed at myself. I should have realized then that it was going to be a bad week. I should have realized then that I was not going to be writing the pride of all columns. But at least it made an otherwise dull Wednesday interesting.