Throw your wetsuit—with your body still shrink-wrapped inside—in the dryer and then set it on “delicate.” That’s what it feels like to move into a little bohemian house in Paia with a roommate I’ll call Moonbeam. Yeah, we all make mistakes, but you really can’t blame anybody but yourself when at 22 you decide to move into a beach house with a hyperactive hippie more than twice your age.
“Oh yeah, I’m up at five every morning,” she said in between mouthfuls of organic spinach salad while I was absent-mindedly signing the lease about three months ago. “I like to hit the surf at sunrise, come home and nap, and then recharge my mana with some afternoon yoga. In the evenings I have a trip hop/jazz fusion dance class. I like to stay busy. So, I mean, you will hardly ever see me. You’ll practically have the place to yourself.”
“Good.” I said. “I like it quiet. Don’t worry about me either, I’m a freelance writer. Working on a lot of little projects. I’ll pretty much keep to myself.”
Twenty-four hours later I’m walking in from my first trip to the grocery store.
“What’d you get?” Moonbeam is chanting. “What’d you get? What’d you get?”
She starts rifling though my grocery bags like a toddler in a toy store. Suddenly, her flapping eyelids freeze. Lying exposed on the counter are some turkey cold cuts. She looks like she’s staring at her own dead fetus.
The next day, on a muggy 90-degree afternoon in July, the bathroom door swings open while I’m inside shaving. Moonbeam’s wispy, 110-pound frame stands there, doing its best to look all yoga toned, natural and enlightened. Slivers of light reflect in a dizzying myriad off her red-orange, surf-tangled hair.
“Are you strong?” She asks.
“Nope,” I say.
“Well, good,” she says. “You don’t need to be. I just need someone to help me get up on the roof. I think the wind blew the satellite dish over. I was right in the middle of Sex in the City—it was a good one, too. Can you help me? Pleeeese?”
My eyes tilt lazily from her doughy, incense-smoke wrinkled face to her too-short-for-a-19-year-old miniskirt to her glimmering belly ring.
“You going up in that?” I ask.
“Don’t be such an old fart,” she says, tugging like a child at my shirt. “Just hold the ladder for me.”
I know what’s going to happen. A short skirt sashaying up a ladder can only mean one thing: a panoramic view of what’s rarely seen with the lights on, let alone in the light of day.
Believe me, I never wanted to look. The woman is old enough to be my mother.
But I’m a moderately young male. If there’s a skirt above eye level, my brainstem just takes over. My neck cranes back and before I can say, “Oh dear God, what have I done?” it’s too late.
I spent the next two days with a 30-pack of Coors Light trying to erase my memory. It didn’t work, and she gave me hell for not recycling.
As I’m folding laundry the very next morning, Moonbeam chirps in from across the hall.
“We need to talk,” she says. “It’s about your eating habits.”
If you’ve read Fast Food Nation, you know how the conversation went. We decided that I should probably cook outside for the remainder of my stay. Steaks taste better over charcoal anyway.
If only habitual barbecuing were the least of my worries. In the ensuing days she suggested I should have refused to vote for a president, as a form of protest, or at the least wasted my vote on Ralph Nader and the Green Party.
She suggested that I not drink, because alcohol is a form of government control, being the last widely available, legal drug besides caffeine. Moonbeam told me I should avoid coffee, too, unless I spend the extra $4 on organic coffee grounds. Funny thing is she has no problem with smoking copious amounts of pot, or selling it to high school kids, but that’s okay because it’s organic.
I’m a liberal guy, but I couldn’t help thinking this was just wrong. One the one hand, there are peace loving, abstract, inner child types who you might smoke a dime bag with at a music festival. But then there are people like Moonbeam: entrepreneurial, self-centered, jump down your throat yuppies in disguise who would prefer fitting in with a clique than having a little compassion for their fellow human beings.
Of course, maybe I’m just biased for spending so much time with Moonbeam. MTW