Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Charmin Cold War

It's a quiet Sunday evening in my apartment, a rarity here.  Individually, my roommates are quiet academics, but together, after hours of isolation in the dusty annuls of the library or some dingy chem lab, they are pretty combustive.  I suppose constant noise is the biggest downside to having a Jerry Jones-size TV in the living room.  While we can see Jake Heaps throw interceptions with perfect clarity on game day, the time share ESPN gets on our TV is miniscule compared to that of Call of Duty.  I just might end up with PTSD after living here, hearing gunfire and death day in and day out.  You can probably hear it way out in front of our building, on those benches by the science project of a duck pond we have here.   

Yes, an apartment full of college guys in their mid-twenties has all kinds of byproducts.  Noise is one; the Cold War is another.  Not the war which made Russians the bad guys in every Hollywood film for 20 years.  No, this war is all about not being the guy to buy some apartment commodity.  A clear example, repeated in every apartment I've ever lived in, involves toilet paper.  Nobody wants to buy the next pack of Charmin because everyone swears that someone is using way more than they are themself.  They'll never get their money's worth--besides, it's someone else's turn anyway!  Always.
a more perfect world

Learning to dodge bankrolling the T.P. supply is priority one when living in an apartment of mid-twenties barbarians.  It's a game of chicken, each person watching the roll quickly dwindle down to nothing.  Then, one day, there's just a poor man's piñata there on the rack: a cardboard cylinder with shredded paper tassels.  The game is on.  Unable to go without some two-ply for very long, people resort to all manner of tactics.  Some hoard a secret supply while other roommates covertly dig for it when they think nobody's looking.  Some, afraid of their cache being discovered by such scavengers, bring a day's supply home at a time, shamelessly collected from some restroom stall at school.  The less innovative roommates, underestimating their foes, find their stash of coincidentally-two-ply Cafe Rio napkins rapidly disappearing and hope their socks' disappearance on laundry day had nothing to do with the war.  Once, we even discovered a roommate was actually getting by using the roll of blue crepe paper left over from a Cinco de Mayo party. In the end, someone invariably breaks down and the opulent supply of Charmin is again enjoyed for a few weeks before the cycle repeats.

While not usually shared among all roommates, food also seems to continually be dwindling in supply.  College guys are in a perpetual state of needing to go grocery shopping.  I'm pretty sure we have this demographic to thank for the formulation of the dollar menu.  With school due dates repeatedly coinciding with that fateful day when the home food supply runs out, Wendy's, McDonald's, Little Caesar's and Taco Bell make their fortunes, one green Washington at a time.  It's tough to find food with short prep times and distant expiration dates.  I recently decided I'm done bothering with potatoes.  I don't know how the Irish do it.  Mine always go forgotten beneath the sink and I find them some time later once they've sprouted into a healthy family of chia pets.  They usually stay there, loyally guarding the cupboard for a while before we bother to throw them away, at which point they are adolescent shrubs.  We usually drag them out to the dumpster on our way to Wendy's.  In the end, it's hard to remind yourself that all the shopping, cooking and cleanup are all worth it for just yourself.  I've outlined it in a flowchart down below.

I hope all the madness is good for us after all.  Living through countless toilet paper cold wars, making who knows how many fast food runs and trimming entire forests of potato chia pets will serve to make us appreciate the craziness of family life later all the more.  

(click image, then click "show original" to zoom in)

3 comments:

Adriana said...

napkins?? socks?? REALLY???? Hahaha. Great post Wes! Made me laugh and almost cry as well hehehe. beijos

Miss Nesbit said...

Wow, I think I found out more than I wanted to know about how things go down in a guy's apartment. Crepe paper? Seriously? Ew.

Also, loved the flow chart. Wes, you always crack me up.

Karen Ella said...

Wesley of Weslies,
This makes me even more happy about our recent friendship. You. Are. Hilarious. Kudos.