Betsy Ladyzhets’ towels have not been fully dry for several days.
The floor of my apartment is damp. It has been damp since the beginning of April, when Prezbo turned on his weather machine for Days on Campus and everyone started wearing sandals. Everyone started wearing sandals, and laying out on the lawns for sunlit afternoons. But I do not need to lay on the lawns for sunlit afternoons, because the sunlit afternoons come and lay in my living room.
The sunlit afternoons come and lay in my living room. When it is warm and humid outside, the warmth and humidity slip through the thin walls and the open windows, they sit on my couch, they down my beers and munch on my potato chips. When it is cold and windy outside, the cold and the wind push through the thin walls and the poorly insulated windows, they roar through my closets, they tear open my refrigerator and eat all my vegetables. When it is neither quite cold nor quite warm that lingers too, the neither quite cold nor quite warm stands awkward in the middle of the living room like a freshman at a party, they drip sweat and periodically glance at their phone as though Facebook can tell them how to talk to that pretty girl. They drip, they glance, they refuse to leave even when I blow my speakers out blasting “Closing Time.”
I open the windows, I close the windows. I push aside the row of bottles on the windowsill, I clamber atop my roommate’s bed. I yank the window frame up, I push it back down. It does not matter. The warmth will come in, the wind will come in, the damp will come in. The voices of the people crossing Riverside, those will come in, too—the children screaming in the mornings, the couples walking their dogs in the afternoons, the partiers laughing in the nights.
“Do you mind if I take a dump in your toilet?” someone said, a few nights ago. They were passing the stoop of the building, but they may as well have been sprawled on my couch. It makes no difference. Of course you can take a dump in my toilet. My toilet, my windy kitchen, my perpetually damp carpet are all merely an extension of the street, the trees, the river. I am living inside a permeable membrane, and the whole world is welcome.
Rising seniors who picked into Woodbridge, here’s some free advice: buy a good fan, a good space heater, and an excellent pair of earplugs.
inside the membrane via Betsy