Josh Calls His New Roommate
1. I'm going to be starting my freshman year at college. I'm going to be living in a dorm room with a roommate whom I've never met before. He called me over the summer, but I was working at a sleepaway camp and wasn't home. My mom talked to him instead. She said I would call him back when I got home so that we could talk before we met.
2. When I got home from camp my mom told me to call him. I didn't call him right away. I didn't know what to say. All I knew about him was his name, that he was from Wisconsin, and that my mom thought he sounded "nice." I had to think about how to start a conversation. I didn't want to make a bad impression. I didn't want to seem like a loser.
3. At four o'clock, I decided to call him. I wasn't doing anything at the time. I was just sitting at my computer. I picked up the post-it note with his number and stuck it down closer to me. I smoothed it out on the desk as I read the number to myself quickly. I picked up the phone next to my desk, but quickly put it back so I could turn the music I was listening to off. I sat back down, picked up the phone, and dialed the number. I cleared my throat so that I would be ready to talk, but the phone was busy. I hung up.
4. I waited ten or fifteen minutes before I tried again. I didn't want to call back while it was still busy. I don't like being rejected. I also didn't want my phone call to be too close to a previous call. I don't like it when I get a lot of phone calls right next to each other so I didn't think he would like it either. I played a computer game to pass the time. When I did call back, I pressed redial on the phone and checked the number as it dialed to make sure I was calling the right number. This time the phone wasn't busy. He picked up. I said, "Hey, this is Josh Ring, your roommate." We didn't have much to talk about. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to ask him. He asked me things like what music I listen to and where I went to high school. After each answer, there was dead silence. After a while, he would say "so..." and I would laugh. I wanted him to know that I understood that it was kind of awkward circumstances. I wanted to seem friendly.
5. Throughout the phone call, I tried not play with the computer. I didn't want him to hear me typing in the background. I wanted to try to give him my attention. Still I couldn't help typing an Instant Message every now and then. I would play with my hair in the back of my head. I could almost twirl it around my forefinger. It was still long from the summer. I needed a haircut. I played with the post-it note some more, too. When I laughed, I ran my hand through my hair out of habit. I don't know why I do that.
6. We ended our phone call when we ran out of things to say. We decided
everything else could wait until we met in person the following week. We both
said bye, then I said "see you in a week" right before he hung up. He didn't
hear what I said, so I had to repeat myself. He said "ok" and hung up the
phone. I hung up the phone, too. I stretched my arms while sitting in my
seat, took a deep breath, and went back to my IM conversation.
Radical Evil: Bernard Henry Levy on
the death of Daniel Pearl
Trembling Before You
What is Burning Man?
Josh Calls His New Roommate
Zeek in Print
Buy online here
The Zeek Archive