My first apartment wasn’t an apartment — it was a house. And not just any house but a house on Martha’s Vineyard the summer between my sophomore and junior years in college when I was a Derelict with a capital D. And, well, I had the house to match.
I lived in it with three other girls, which became two other girls once the third got a look at the way things were going to be for the next three months and had the good sense to get the hell out. And how were things going to be?
Well, when we weren’t having our nightly parties, we were cleaning up after our parties — which tended to involve getting so overwhelmed by the mess that we’d just rustle cigarette butts out of overfilled ashtrays and light them up. We had jobs, of course, and we even occasionally showed up for them. (I was fired from my first Vineyard job, at a yogurt shop, because the boss didn’t think I could swirl the yogurt correctly. The next one, at the snack bar at the Edgartown Yacht Club, was far more chill.)
But the house, which was a pretty ramshackle abode to begin with, never seemed to lose that eau de party or the thin layer of grime that our festive get-togethers left. And the elements of the house that had seemed utterly charming when we took the ferry out there one cold day in winter to sign the lease on our exciting summer house — the outdoor shower, for example — grew old very quickly. Yes, an outdoor shower is a glorious thing — if you’re on vacation in the Caribbean and need to wash off some sand. When it’s your only shower — and thus the one thing that stands between you and cleanliness — and it’s a ten foot walk from the house through trees and dirt that always seem to coat you in grime on your way back, it’s just a pain in the ass.
It was the kind of house that never saw a home-cooked meal prepared in it for 90 whole days, that had many former strangers sleeping it off on its couches and where, one night after a particularly wild party, a friend of ours passed out in a closet and then, temporarily believing the closet was the bathroom, relieved himself all over my roommate’s shoes.
Though I don’t live remotely like that anymore, I’d love to be able to travel back in time for just a day to see if it was really as fun as I thought it was at the time. Then I’d like to be delivered back to my lovely, clean, un-smokey apartment with its lack of drunken friends passed out in closets and its wonderful, perfect indoor shower.
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