I totally did not luck out my freshman year in college. I requested a smoking room, in hopes my newfound bunk-bed mate would be open not just to tobacco smoke within our four posterized walls, but to the exhalation of grass as well. I thought I was beating the system with a double-sided bat when someone passed on the good word that by requesting the “Quiet Dorm,” not only would I get a bigger room than the average residence hall provided, but that the QD always housed one or more of the athletic teams. With my fingers tightly crossed for the men’s soccer team to move in above me and a roommate with the nickname “Nickelbag” to move in with me, I unpacked my 84 bags of clothes—only to be greeted by a series of 20 high-pitched squeals as the ladies’ gymnastics squad reunited down the hall. Sure, my room was bigger and nicer and even had a carpet, but that never made up for the 40 blonde pigtails doing downward dogs and sun salutations that I had to fight my way through just to get to the shower.
My roommate hadn’t shown up yet, so I got on my knees and prayed that she was neither blonde, a yogi or, worst of all, a non-toker. But sometimes God plays cruel tricks on us. And for some reason, His all-seeing vision was targeted on me.
During a short yet all-too-long meeting in the rec room called by our resident assistant (a.k.a. the person who will bust your ass for doing anything other than homework), the RA pointed out the washing machines, the soda machines and informed us of her whereabouts in the building—right across the hall from me. And so I awaited my new roommate even more eagerly than before. Now, on top of wishing for a non-golden-haired, non-contortionist headshop owner, I hoped she was an engineering major who could fashion a professional, even-drug-sniffing-dogs-couldn’t-detect-it system of fans, towels and deodorizers—similar to the likes of MacGuyver. But MacGuyver is blond. So really not like MacGuyver at all.
Instead, I got Lucille from Louisiana: blonde, boy-crazy and a pot-hater extraordinaire.“Weed makes me so, like, paranoid, ya know? I’d rather just get really drunk,” she quipped. Lucille was, however, into smoking menthol cigarettes until everything reeked of stale York Peppermint Patties—including my hair. Once or twice, I tried to intermingle her clouds of Newport’s finest with the sweet smell of Mary Jane blown through a toilet-paper tube jampacked with Bounce fabric-softener sheets, but the knocking on our door started almost as soon as I pulled out a lighter.