By: Matt Cassidy
Roommates can be a prison sentence. When your bedroom becomes a cell, you find yourself acting irrational. “You’re not crazy, it’s your situation that is crazy,” you tell yourself.
Recently, I realized I can’t eat at home anymore. It’s not the time I spend shopping and cooking; it’s my socially inept roommate and his predictable commentary which enters through my ear and digs into my brain to nest like an earwig.
The other day I spent 45 minutes preparing a delicious burrito with all the fixings. I finally sat down, rolled the flour tortilla up, and placed my earbuds in to enjoy the next episode of The Office on my tablet.
After some quick licking and sniffing, foodie foreplay if you will, I dove in for the first bite. At that moment, an ominous tingling crept from my toes to my manbun. I felt a light exhale on the side of my neck as if Joe Biden had chosen me for his next ear-whispering kamikaze attack. At once, my earbud was ripped out causing a jolting surprise and peculiar anger akin to being shaken awake.
Now, this action itself causes a pulsating rage within me which is reserved for only dire situations like watching Fox News in a waiting room. When my earbuds are yanked from my head by any stray latch, I become insensibly angry. I’ll proceed to shake my fists towards the ground pretending to drop the gloves and jump into an awkward fighting position where I try to bob like Muhammad Ali but look more like an infant in a bouncy harness.
Of course, this time the earbud was pulled by my roommate fresh off a workout. Peering over my shoulder, he says, “Whatta ya got? Oh, that looks soooo good!” Slowly exhaling, I try to collect myself before explaining that the burrito-looking thing is indeed a burrito. Per usual he declines my offer to share, noting his strict bodybuilding regimen. This is my cue to put my earbud back in.
He does this with everything I eat and it gets to an explosive point when I’m eating something high in fat and deliciousness. He’ll say he wishes he could have pizza. Because I’ve already heard his dissertation on healthy eating and self-control, I hold back the snarky remarks. It’s hard to enjoy some french fries when this mental patient on the other side of the table is ogling my food and talking down about the people who consume it.
This scrutiny comes from the guy who consume five times the daily recommended amount of protein coupled with a few anabolic shots in the ass just to strut around in a banana-hammock at a glorified beauty pageant. I mean there’s not even a Q&A where he can embarrass himself like Miss Teen South Carolina.
Because of his nosy and condescending behavior, I have literally deconstructed the way I go about eating and rebuilt it atop creaky wooden stilts in hurricane-prone waters. I find myself eating a bowl of soup in the dark under a blanket in my bedroom closet just to avoid him. And I make sure to use a plastic spoon to avoid the cling-clang on utensils. Unlike hostages who develop Stockholm syndrome, I haven’t garnered positive feelings for my captor … yet.
By: Matt Cassidy
It was one of those early spring mornings where deciding what you wear for the day decides if you will freeze in the morning or sweat profusely in the afternoon. I realized it wasn’t going to be my day when I turned on my iPod at the gym only to realize it was my girlfriend’s. I had to jog on the treadmill to Beyoncé, Ke$ha and White Snake. She has a weird thing for guys in leather with long hair.
Leaving the gym, it was still early and the sun was barely up as I walked briskly down the sidewalk. I eventually did one of things where you catch up to the girl in front of you and she peers back in distress that someone is following her so you have to slow down a bit as to suggest you aren’t a serial rapist. It was funny to watch her start moving like an egghead on exam day where their head is in front of the rest of their body with legs that suggest they’re walking but a pace that says I’ve got to find a toilet.
I sidestepped into a coffee shop to diffuse the situation. The barista was quite the specimen. The mess of used broom bristles on his head matched the color of his trendy leather vest. My girl would have loved him. His pants were tighter than the knots in my ailing calves. He was one of those people that put an inflection on the end of every sentence as if they’re asking a question.
[Read to tune of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song] I tapped the little bell and when he came near, his V-neck said fresh, like he didn’t have a mirror; If anything I could say this guy doesn’t care but I thought nah forget it, yo homes a cup with no hair.
The coffee was $2.25 and I only had $2 in my wallet. When I reached for change in my backpack pocket, I realized I had my gym bag instead. It was my first and last day of that nonsense. So, I just handed the barista my credit card.
He said I had to spend $5 to use plastic. Goddamnit, I added a bagel to the order.
Barista: “Which kind?”
Me: “I guess, a plain.”
Barista: “Whole wheat or white?”
Me: White’s fine.
Barista: “Gluten-free or cancer-ridden?”
Me: “Jesus Christ, just give me the one that ends my life quicker so I don’t have to run into you again.”
Barista: “Okay, that’s not enough for the $5 minimum.”
Me: “Oh my god, give me a larger coffee!
Barista: “Alright, that’s $4.98…”
In my mind: “Holy Freaking Expletive!”
Barista: “… but I can let it slide.”
I didn’t notice but the guy poured my coffee into the bigger cup, added more and forgot to transfer the sleeve.
I walked over to the cream and sugar station only to wait behind the Iron Chef of mixology who boxed me out like Lebron so he could perfect his drink. When I finally popped off my lid, some coffee seared my hand like untamed bacon grease. Angrily, I ripped the sugar packet and the paper fell in as well.
After I fished out the trash, I tilted the milk canister and pressed down but it appeared to be as barren as a nursing mother during burp time. The weird thing was, I could hear the liquid splashing inside so I continued to tip it further and pushed down harder like a coin release that stole my quarter. Conveniently, an avalanche of milk released at once, causing an overflow of my cup and an ensuing mess. With renewed vindication, the Iron Chef snickered behind his laptop at my misfortune.
As I walked out the door, I realized the smooth barista never transferred my coffee sleeve to my new large cup. Obviously, I didn’t go back because of my first experience playing 20 questions.
Wow, this was way too hot, and I switched hands. Damn this hand did the same thing. Alternating hands for a while led me to my only option. I pinched the very top ring and held the lid down. I looked like such a fool with my hand around the tippy top of this large, cumbersome coffee cup.
After a couple blocks, the pinch crushed the flimsy paper cup and caused the lid of both the cup and my emotions to blow. With coffee on my shirt and jacket, I placed the cup on the ground and walked away.
I decided to make some changes in my life. No longer would I go to gym in the morning. And no longer would allow coffee’s wicked grip affect my life. Don’t let coffee burn you too.
A message from Caffeinauts Anonymous and the Ad Council.
Golden Rule Backfire
By: Matt Cassidy
I’m not much of a proponent for politeness in society because frankly, I’ve dealt with people before. I find that using good manners directly contradicts my ability to avoid unwanted small talk.
For instance, holding the door for someone is a civilized approach to entering a building. How could this go wrong? And yet, plenty of times, I’ve held the door for the cute girl behind me only to become the hotel doorman for an ungrateful herd of cattle who rush past without even acknowledging my presence let alone my extension of courtesy. First of all, it is demoralizing to play the role of the butler but more importantly I’ve lost the cute girl in the crowd. During my wait, I’ll change my Tinder radius to one mile for a chance to reconcile a missed connection . . . because that’s not creepy at all.
When I finally enter, the bothersome bloke from class is holding excruciating eye contact as he races over to me with an eager expression. Although his humdrum narrative about his workout routine is a drain on my soul, I nod politely knowing my brutal honesty would crush him. But as Mr. Rogers would say, being nice comes before being right.
Stuttering as he fails to remember the exciting conclusion to his tale, his mundane crony exits the bathroom and saunters over to join in the fun. Have you ever noticed when someone introduces you to their friend that you are expected to immediately invite them into your world? All of a sudden, I have to watch, yet another, Netflix series and report back this guy so we regurgitate quotes at each other in a rapid fire succession.
During the brief introduction, we shake hands and I feel wetness. And although he apologizes saying, ‘I just washed my hands,’ my imagination tells me he was basking in the toilet bowl like a canine. Now, I’m also feeling physically uncomfortable as my hand is moist and I don’t want to wipe his toilet water and urine cocktail on my jacket or jeans.
So in the name of politeness, I missed the opportunity to talk to the cute girl, acquired another schmuck that’ll have to say hi to in passing, and worst of all I’ve got this schlub’s pee on my hand.
The Golden Rule says to treat others as you would like to be treated. I think I’m going to drop the polite act and work on my cold, distant stare.