Friday, May 24, 2013

The Grayland Manor

Five months ago, I needed to find a place in the city—and quick. After calling every ad within walking distance of the campus on craigslist, I finally stumbled on a house, deceptively known as "The Grayland Manor," that even offered the first month free of rent. Only catch: I’d be living with three guys I had never met.

My friend and blogger, East Coast Goes West, thought this was the best twist in my life so far.

The reality of living with three bachelors was much less glorious.

The guys I found myself living with were just as disorganized and unpredictable as the house.

Billiards plays pool at nights, challenging vain frat boys to shoot against him and leaving the bar a few hours later with a self-satisfied smile and more money than he started with. His pool habit and delivering pizza has left Billiards effectively nocturnal. Between his schedule and me hiding in my room, I knew him only by the creak of his door late at night for the first month I lived here.

Metalhead and Fireman spend their free time scrapping copper and donate their proceeds to our centerpiece: a jar with a label that reads: “Keg fund: Keep your f*ing hands off.” Once a week they celebrate a special day known only as “scrap day.” They announce this day with a series of quick chirps back and forth the night before, usually when they are feeling drunk and ambitious:

The day comes into fruition when the first of them wakes up, howling “SCRAP DAY” through the house until they find one another.

Metalhead and Fireman rename everyone that lives in the house. They know me as “SAAAAAAAAAAM” and recorded me in their phones as such, in spite of my quiet protests that I prefer “Samantha.” Further, their farewell is “F*ck off, blow it out your ass” or some variation thereof, which didn’t do much to make me feel welcome.

But in spite of how determinedly abrasive they are, they slowly coaxed me out of my hiding place in my room.

And, slowly but surely, I found I was being absorbed into the household just as the mystery mold in the shower absorbed the shower curtain.

Many scrap days have passed, each bringing me closer to the Grayland Manor and those who frequent it. I started to write down the ridiculous exchanges that transpired in front of me—from the time Fireman apprehended smelling salts from an emergency vehicle and tested them on Metalhead, to the first time I won drinks at pool under Billiards’ tutelage. Unfortunately, two chapters in to what I was sure would become my break-out novel, I realized I was writing the plot to New Girl.

So I wrote a blog post about it instead.