L & I — Day 2: My Own Devices

Chaos in Print

There’s only one problem when you’re a morning person and none of your friends are. Do you know how many mornings I’ve wasted waiting for people to wake up? There I was, up bright and early at 9 am, and waiting on L. What can I say? When that sunshine smacks me in the face, I just know there’s no point in trying to go back to sleep. It’s time to wake up. It’s time to be productive. But, all my friends tend to be nocturnal, meaning the day doesn’t start until lunch.

I was at loss as to what I could do. Sure, I could go wake up L, but I’m just too nice to do that. Everyone else had classes, so it’s not like I could strike up a conversation with someone. I was just there. Alone. There had to be something I could do to fight this boredom. I finally figured it out. I’d do what my Mom does when I’m sleeping in and she wants me to get up. I’d just start doing chores around the house, and if the noise wakes her up, tough. But what could I do? Well, there was three months worth of dirty dishes sitting in the sink that everyone was complaining about last night. The Puck is many things, but he is never a poor guest. I broke out my collection of CD’s that I brought, and decided that the score to The X-Files would make great dishwashing music. Cranking up Mark Snow’s Threnody In X on the stereo, I began to fill the sink with water.

I began scrubbing dishes. To say “there was a lot” is an understatement. The only problem was finding room to put the clean ones. Being a guest who did not know where everything went, I would take a stack of dirty dishes, toss them in the sink to soak, dry the latest batch sitting on the counter, and then put the clean stack where the dirty one was. It was a good system. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Women at work, man in the kitchen. They way God intended it. Too bad there’s no one around to hear how enlightened I am.” Three quarters of an hour later, I thought I heard something behind me. I turned around, but there was nothing there. Going back to my chore, I heard someone behind me say “Good morning.” I jumped six feet in the air, and turned around to spot L, with that “just got of bed” look.

You know that look. We see it the mirror every morning. The hair’s all messed up. There’s a semi-conscious stare coming from the eyes. Being too lazy to actually choose an outfit, we just grab whatever’s handy. L was wearing this simple grey T-shirt, and, oh my God I don’t think she’s wearing a bra. DON’T STARE!! DON’T STARE!! She’s dating your best friend! That means she’s untouchable in every sense! Gah! Don’t even use the word “touch!” Where’s the honor? Where’s the dignity? Get a hold of yourself, soldier! Snapping my eyes back up to her’s, I made some sort of comment about calling the coroner. She was amazed that I was doing this dishes, and she pitched in to lend a hand. A half an hour and a CD change later, we were done.

Now that it was after lunch, the question turned to what to do with the rest of our day. L had to run on up to the campus to get a video from a professor, and I had made some grumblings about wanting to head on up to the radio station for old times sake. So it appeared as though our afternoon would be spent on campus. As it was starting to get chilly outside, L grabbed her Jedi cloak to wear. She also had this urge to bring along her cat, so she strapped the cat onto his leash, and we piled into my car.

When we arrived, we headed for the classroom where the professor was currently teaching. His class was just getting out, so we had to dodge the students bolting from the door. L walked up to him, cat in hand, and they started making small talk. This is the only thing I hate about hanging out with people and “their friends:” you’re constantly out of the loop. All you can do is stand there with a grin on your face, nodding as though you know what’s going on, and try and look interested. And that’s what I was doing, grinning and nodding. Soon, to my relief, this conversation was done, and L wanted to go see (gasp!) another professor! We set out to his office.

There, watching L walking around in a Jedi cloak and dragging a cat by a leash, I came to the conclusion that all my sexual fantasies/worries were unfounded. There’s just no way we could ever make it. Don’t get me wrong. She’s a nice person, and we all do things to make ourselves stand out in a crowd. But, being the attention-starved middle child that I am, I don’t think I could tolerate someone who’s a bigger draw than me for very long.

At the other professor’s office, I was in for another round of grinning and nodding. I shouldn’t judge. L has a life, and I shouldn’t expect her to put it on hold simply because I’m in town. Fortunately, this visit went a little quicker. Since we still had a few hours to go before meeting up with the station manager, we headed on back to the car with plans of going someplace else. But, much to my dismay, I found a parking ticket on my car! A parking ticket! I don’t know what I did that was so wrong. I was a visitor. I had parked in the visitor’s parking lot. L agreed. This was something we had to fight.

We marched on up to the Student Services office and I pleaded my case.

Me>> Hello! I’m a visitor here, I parked in the visitor’s parking lot, and still I get a ticket!
Student Services person>> How much you wanna bet it was because you used to be a student and someone thought you still were? Here, I’ll cancel it.
[Takes ticket from me]
Student Services person>> You know, I should know your name, but it’s just not coming to me.
Me>> Mark Cappis.

And with that, justice was done and my name was cleared! I wish Richard Kimble had it this easy. Oh, and since the Student Services office was so close to the offices of another person L wanted to look in on, I was in for another round of grinning and nodding. But the Fates were smiling upon me as the station manager soon walked by, out of his class early and able to let us into the station.

Ahh, the radio station. It was like returning home after several years overseas. I had to charge straight over to the chair and sit behind the controls. That chair still felt the same. As the manager started going over things with L, I prepped to do a show. Soon, I began listening in on the current manager and some of the things he’s done. It seems he’s cleaned out the CD room and recently had a huge “garage sale” of sorts where the old crappy CDs were sold off. He then continued telling us how shortly the station will be wired with a network hook-up so we can broadcast over the Internet, and that he’s looking into the feasibility of broadcasting the hockey games. I was completely stunned. This was everything I proposed to do when I applied to run the radio station several years ago. What a difference a few years and a change in administration makes. Was I ahead of my time, or just not successful in communicating my vision to the hiring committee? I’m just secure in the knowledge that great minds do think alike.

Soon, the manager had to return to classes, and it was just L and I. The old days had returned. I popped in the theme from Power Rangers (naturally), and it was just like it was several years back. Or was it? Throughout the broadcast, there was just something missing. It was the same great tunes, the same great DJ, but there was something lacking. And then it occurred to me: no matter how many times I announced that phone number, no one was calling in. For the first time ever, I’m fairly certain that no one was listening. The same great audience was gone, having long packed up and moved off. With no one listening, I actually began getting bored with doing the show. What I had hoped would be the highlight of my vacation was actually boring me to tears. I just couldn’t go for as long as I’d hoped, and I wrapped up the show after only two and a half hours. Also, it was getting to be around six o’clock, and I was getting hungry. L and I packed up and headed home.

We feasted upon Co-Op brand macaroni and cheese. Then, L was hit with a brainstorm. She had this friend, whom we’ll call Jimbo (boy, these aliases are getting creative) and another friend, named Lenny (whom she only vaguely knew). Jimbo, you see, had a Dreamcast. After placing a few calls, she discovered that he was currently over at Lenny’s, and that Lenny had a kick-ass home theater. So, after getting some directions, it was off to Lenny’s!

Jimbo, as it turned out, I knew too. I had just never learned his name. He was one of the guys from the anime club way back in it’s inaugural year. Lenny was a real nice guy. He used to be a security guard at AUC. He currently makes his living selling Playstation 2’s on eBay. When we were visiting, he had a sale closing in a few hours, and the price had just broken $3000. He had a HUGE TV, complete with the 5.1 channel surround sound, and the most massive collection of DVD’s I’ve seen to date. I’m sure I was visibly drooling as I ran through the titles: The Toy Story boxed set. T2: Ultimate Edition. Independence Day: Special Edition. I gasped as I whispered aloud “the Criterion edition of Armageddon!” At my whispering, Lenny plucked the disc from the shelf and said, “Well, you’ve just got to see the blooper reel!”

Lenny popped in the disc. I had died and gone to heaven. I worship a new god, and his name is Lenny.

When we were done with Armageddon, we popped in U-571. Lenny had just gotten it, and wanted to see if it was a keeper or one to stick up on eBay. I thought it was a pretty good movie. It kept me entertained, anyway. At film’s end, Lenny had to go check on his sale, and Jimbo approached the collection of DVD’s.

Jimbo>> So, which one has a lot of great extras to show off?
Me>> Actually, if I could make a special request. I spotted Independence Day there, and I would love to see that original biplane ending.
Lenny [in next room]>> Good choice!

The biplane ending was OK, but you can see why they chose to cut it from the film. After that, I was starting to get pretty demanding. After more begging, I got to see the trailer for Jurassic Park 3. It was lame. Lenny drew the line when I asked to start picking apart Men In Black. “Here, let me show the Dungeons & Dragons trailer instead,” he said. So, we went into his little computer room, and I saw the Dungeons & Dragons trailer. Now, I haven’t been following that film’s development at all, and I thought it was coming out later than December 8, but that was a pretty good trailer. Then Lenny showed us the one Monsters, Inc. and the infamous fan-made Episode II trailer. And then, he kicked us out. Well, it was one in the morning and I’m sure he wanted to get back to bed.

From here, it was off to Jimbo’s and L met her destiny: we played Dreamcast. She likes the fighting games, so we played those for a while. I like the racing games, so I tried out Crazy Taxi. You could tell Jimbo was subtly giving us the push when he started playing the fighting games and kicking our asses. Well, that’s not true. I’m sure he got a kick out of showing off all the neat extras he’s unlocked just by playing those games so damn many times.

As I said, I remembered seeing him at those first anime club meetings, and it showed. His room was adorned with all sorts of Ranma posters and characters from shows I’d never heard of. He had a huge collection of anime tapes on his shelf. When L asked a few questions about Oh My Goddess, Jimbo rewarded her by lending her his complete collection. Of course, along with this loan came a lecture about how rare the tapes were, and proper care and maintenance of them. But soon, as two drew nigh, we felt it was time to hit the road.

There, in Jimbo’s driveway, I took a deep breath of the crisp night air. I looked up. It was a clear night. The sky was filled with stars, stretching out as far as I could comprehend. I glanced over at L, her eyes glimmering as brilliantly as the stars. Her face almost gained a heavenly sheen in the moonlight. I couldn’t resist it anymore. I said to her the words that were in my heart at that moment. “Dude, I could really use a burger right now.”

But, with all the restaurants closed at that hour, we just went home and made sweet, sweet love. I KID!! We just went to our respective beds. It had been a busy day for me. Early to rise, yet late to bed. I was starting to see the appeal of being a night person. The night just holds so many discoveries to be made, whether outgrowing the trappings of the past, or making new friends for the future. I drifted off to sleep, eager to face the next day.


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