Five Places

Amid the hurricane mess, I managed to write a few things down in between power outages. As for the outcome of the storm — my family, my friends, and my friends’ family are all safe.

For some reason, when I was younger I was afraid of moving around. Nowadays, it’s a little different seeing as how for the past four years I have lived in five different places. The only difference between then and now is then I worried about moving to a entirely new place instead of now where I move around in the same old place. My roommate Luigi has explained to me on several occasions that when he thinks about his past it is most easily remembered when thinking about where he was living at the time. Looking back at my time in Gainesville, I agree with him; it is easier to think about where I was instead of when I was.

Lexington Crossing, Phase Two, Apartment F204C – On August 18, 2000, my dad drove me the 110 miles from my mom’s temporary home on Brereton Avenue in Orlando to my new home at Lexington Crossing. We both stood in line for over an hour to get my key, and soon after I was the first of my roommates to get into the apartment. A fully-furnished roommate-matched apartment isn’t the best way to meet people, but the other people who lived there with me — Rishi Harjani and Michael Ihns — were well above average on the decency scale. In fact, I still feel bad about putting them through the craziness of mine and Kari’s incessant fighting. The adjustment to life away from home was quick, but I always preferred to spend my time with someone else instead of being alone. As a result, when I was by myself the place didn’t seem like my home. Instead, it was an extended stay hotel that happened to be the place where I was while waiting for the year to be over. I hated it freshman year.

Colonial Village, Apartment 2326 – My apartment sophomore year began one week before the start of school. The new year brought with it a desire to never permanently move back home. Contrary to the previous place, this apartment was completely empty. I did manage to acquire the majority of my furniture over the 11 months I was there, a girlfriend came into the picture, and my original roommate never made it to Gainesville. Thus, I lived alone. At first I didn’t realize how fantastic being on my own would be, but now I wouldn’t want to change anything about my living situation. I have many fond memories of apartment 2326, and one that makes me always smile is when I came home just after midnight on my birthday to a cake made just for me. Despite all the personal growth I underwent and the good times I had, by far the worst thing to happen that year was the passing of two friends from high school due to an auto accident on the southbound lanes of Florida’s Turnpike. I can still vividly remember getting the news on the Friday night just after scooping a spoonful of mashed potatoes at Ryan Wertepny’s place in Gatorwood. I wasn’t particularly close to either Robbie or Jessica, but it still affected me in a profound way and was my first real experience with how fragile life can be.

Oxford Manor, Apartment Y-120 – Things didn’t start too well at Oxford Manor. On the second to last Saturday of July, 2002, the same day I was supposed to move, U-Haul failed to secure me a moving truck despite giving me a “confirmed reservation.” Therefore I was stuck moving all my things with David Barnes’ pickup truck and if it wasn’t for him I don’t know how I would’ve switched houses. The problem with Y-120 didn’t involve my roommates; in fact I am glad to have lived with them and to have known them in that capacity. Come to think of it I still owe Randy $40 — I need to get in touch with him about that. It was a personal issue because no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get the place to feel like home. My core friends changed just like they did every other year. I do enjoy getting to know new people, but I then have a tendency to replace the old ones. It’s sad that I do that, but I guess it’s perfectly natural to move along and become close and drift apart from people. After January, everything about living there blurs together into a few different thoughts. I remember talking all night with Mandy and Keith, and having Mike Pellor visit from Indiana. As for school I don’t remember much other than taking 33 credits in two semesters and having the highest GPA I’ve had since beginning college. If I think about it enough I can recall lying in bed trying to fall asleep listening to the Cranberries. All the while my mind would wander but the ultimate thought would revolve around me being emotionally lonely. I remember breaking my phone in Kari’s car and losing my appetite to eat at Outback. I didn’t like how my life had changed, and I was frustrated about how I couldn’t do anything to alter the change. I had a mild nervous breakdown and towards the end of the year there was more than one serious lapse in judgment. Though I always kept a rational mind, I’m grateful Mike and Rachel could listen to me whenever I needed to let it out.

Hidden Lake, Apartment 145 – A week or so before leaving Oxford, I finally signed a lease with my good friend from high school Kathleen Caldwell. Out of the six other people I have ever lived with, she was the biggest character. I always found her stories funny and the situations she would get in were unbelievable. The thing about Kathleen is that she has a lot of qualities that I find attractive, but I hadn’t been attracted to her since high school. I applaud her for being able to put up with living with me because I know I can be a pain in the ass. My only regret about how things turned out is that Kathleen and I stopped making time for each other. That sounds lame, but after we started living together we stopped doing things as friends, mostly because we both took our friendship for granted. By thinking that we didn’t need to hang out because we lived together, it only made us never see each other any more than we did. Aside from all of that, there were a number of new happenings. I got in to all three graduate schools I applied to including Columbia and the University of Florida. I built a robot, shot a gun, ventured to Lake Wauberg, got a traffic ticket for riding my bike with headphones on, and started a number of new friendships. I got close to a new set of people, Erika and Louie, and got closer with an old friend from in between high school and college, Jenny Bonde.

Bellamay Grand, Apartment 912 – Here’s where I am now. It’s the biggest place I’ve ever lived in, and I’m really glad I’m living with Louie. In spite of how much I disliked him at one point, I have nothing against him anymore (even though he would say otherwise) except for the fact that he’s superior to me in many ways. It’s nice to have Billy back from Japan, because things aren’t as solid without him. Overall, only after the entire year will I be able to put down the highlights and fond memories. Until then, bring on the grilled cheese.

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