Embarrassing moment

I’m a truly lousy roommate. It’s a combination of being slovenly and lazy. Not attributes I’m proud of, but ones I seem to have in indecent proportions.

Another fault is my desire for solitude. Not horrible, but annoying in a roommate. I often prefer the company of a book, movie or comic to an individual. Actually, it is worse. I’d rather my company act as an audience. Silent until they laugh at my next moment of wit.

Not all the time. But sometimes I can be a real twit.

Amazingly, the few roommates I’ve had all put up with my peccadilloes. I’m still friends with them all and there were few fights while we cohabited.

This is a brief anecdote about one of those times. Mayhap more brief than the intro.

I grow addicted to new music. A found band, album or song engrosses me. I’ll listen to an album on repeat endlessly. Or even a single song on a loop. Now with the Interwebs I often quickly gather all their albums. But this is twenty years ago. Bono digital music and not enough money for a decent musical library.

I found the Headstones. Picture of Health. The songs Three Angels, Cemetery and Heart of Darkness were great. A decided contrast to the usual lighter rock I listened too. But the album highlight was Hugh Dillon covering Bob Dylan (and the rest of the Travelling Wilburys) with Tweeter and the Monkey Man.

It starts “Tweeter and the Monkey Man were hard up for cash. They stayed up all night selling cocaine and hash.” It ends in gunfire and tears in a bar. Good song. Hard, fast and dark.

I listened to it quite a bit. Without headphones. Playing on the boom box in my room. Not too loud, but loud enough.

Wait. Let’s back up. The roommate. Well at this time of life it was Treek. Fourth year university. My first non-dorm apartment and my first non-familial roommate. Treek was easy to get along with. He was slovenly, but less so than I. He was lazy, but had bursts of energy when he got stuff done. He generally thought I was funny and was pretty quiet. He fit nicely into my faults.

But Treek never liked my music. He wasn’t a big music fan. And what he liked came with a Western twang. He could put up with guitar rock. But the Headstones are mostly noise and anger.

And there was one final flaw I had. Still do. I like to sing. I have a decent voice. Good rhythm. But a range of only slightly less than an octave. And a tendency to try and emulate the singing style of a song’s signature performer.

All in all a bad situation to which I was completely oblivious.

We were probably a month into my Headstones phase. Maybe month two. Who knows how often Jan had killed the undercover cop by that point. Or Tweeter and the Monkey Man had a standoff on the bridge. Or how often my voice warbled and grated through it whole.

“The only thing I hate more than that song is hearing you sing it. ” Treek was fairly polite all things considered. And I was pretty crushed. As much by his not understanding the song’s genius as the personal criticism.

Anyway at that moment I knew… At the moment I learned…

Ah nuts. There is no message to this story.

I still love that song though. Sang along to it today.

Good times.


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