Friday, October 16, 2009


My second year of grad school, I moved to a crazy house with two crazier roommates: a guitar strumming, occasionally stubbly, frequently horny Belgian postdoc named David, and an alco-nympho-klepto-psycho cat lady by night, nanny by day named Megan. Needless to say, I fit right in. David was charming and we're friends to this day. Megan was cool. At first.

But this is not the story about how Megan, descendant of a famous American writer as she liked to remind those around her, stole my clothes, my Portuguese ceramics, a gold bracelet or an Anthropologie gift card I'd received as presents. Nor is this the tale of her five feral cats, who ran around the house in loops and took turns peeing on my favorite coat and scratching David. This is not even the tale of a bitter former housemate who wishes she could find Megan and get her fucking things back.


This is the simple story of a girl, a computer, and their illicit connection.

You see, David (pronounced, a la francaise, Dah-veeeed), paid for cable internet, and I let him know when I moved in that I wouldn't be pitching in to split the bill or buy a wifi router, since I intended to cut back on my internet usage. It was a risk on my part, since I knew my tendencies by that point. But I figured that not having my own connection would be a surefire way to curtail the habit.

At first it was easy. I did everything I had to on campus, and when I got home, I was free, relaxed, untethered. I read for my classes, saw people in the flesh, and made full use of my telephone.

The problem started when I noticed David reading his email, and I realized how close the internet was. So I started with a meek request, once in a while, just to check in with the outside world.

"David, do you mind if I use your computer, really quick?"

"Sure, go ahead!"

In a few weeks, I had taken over the terminal. I either used his laptop or unplugged his cable and attached it to my laptop. When he wasn't home, but also when he was.

Eventually I think maybe it started bothing him a little.

"Hey, Roxana, do you think I could log on, too?! I'm waiting for an important message from my supervisor!"

"Hold on, I'm still reading missed connections and then looking for shelves at Target. I should be done around 9."

Other times, I think he was just concerned for my well being.

"How about a little break?" he'd ask, gently. "Your friends have been waiting for 20 minutes. Do you need help getting up from the chair? Let me give you a hand. There's some corn in the fridge, since I think you skipped lunch."

"Who's there? Ask them to give me 10 minutes. Actually, I'll just email them."

And so on.

Now here's the funny part: I could have bought a router and split the monthly cost with him.

But to do that would be admitting defeat. So instead, I made it up to David, with rides. I had a car, and he had places to be. He was my pathway into cyberspace, and I was his into the city.

And when his supervisor reeeeally needed an email response, of course I got off for 30 seconds so he could explain the situation. I'm not that selfish.

[image one via Photographers Direct, image two via via LA Lovuer, image three via Country Living]

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