“Um. Dude. You might want to leave work…”
“Well, we have to be out of the apartment by five tonight, or they’ll be calling the police to escort us out…”
At some point in everyone’s lives they’ve had a stupid-af-era. If you’ve never had one of those, you’re the exception, not the rule. Count yourself lucky, too, because you probably have minimal debt, own an appliance larger than a blender, and you know what an annuity is, and you likely have one.
So, none of the above is me. I’ve had my stupid-af-era, and to be quite honest, I’m not sure I ever left said time in my life.
Back when I moved out of my parents’ for the first time, I lived with two of my best friends.
We were all almost 21, and so idiotic it was a wonder anyone was brave enough to give us our own apartment.
We apartment hunted for a long time, wanting a cheap apartment in a not cheap neighborhood. Finally, we had to settle on a two bed, one bath. Best Friend #1 and I had to share a room, but it was worth not being woken up by my dad banging on my door, looking for the crusted-over bowls hiding under my bed.
Living on our own was better than I had ever dreamed it would be. On the first night, I overflowed the toilet. The second night, our secondhand dryer broke. On the third night, we spilled Sour Apple Pucker on the carpet. Really, we should have stopped while we were ahead. Yet, every moment was magic, because independence was a beautiful thing.
It was simply glorious being footloose and anal-retentive-parent-free.
We stayed up till all hours, drinking Bartles & Jaymes Wine Coolers and watching Santa Clause 2.
No one (Mom) ever yelled at me for hogging up the phone line so I could change my AIM away message twenty times in one day.
If all we wanted in the fridge was a jar of questionable pickles and eight varieties of Boones Farm, so be it.
We were independent ladies, forging our way in the world.
Along with the wild 8-and-up card game nights, we also had nights when we fought.
My two best friends, while being my good friends, didn’t exactly love each other.
One was too over-bearing and motherly. The other left her thongs, crotch up, in the bathroom.
Some nights, we’d throw keyboards, curling irons, or said thongs at each other.
Other nights, we’d drown each other out with loud mariachi music.
During the six months that we lived in the apartment, we never once got a complaint from a neighbor. I’m not really sure how that was even possible. Maybe our downstairs neighbors were as loud and obnoxious as us? Or, they were stone-deaf.
This gorgeous chaos soon came to a head after Best Friend #2 brought home a cat, which was against our lease agreement (it also didn’t help that the little fucker’s favorite thing to do was hide under the couch or behind the bedskirt and then attach itself to our flesh when we least expected it).
Best Friend #1 and I were a lot of annoying, juvenile things, and one of those things was we were big rule followers (I guess that didn’t apply to underage drinking, though). As soon as we could, we returned the cat to the humane society.
Obviously, hijaking someone’s cat and taking it back to the cat store doesn’t sit well with some people (most people).
This single act started an epic war between three extremely petty, passive-aggressive bimbos.
Because living at the apartment was becoming awkward as fuck, Best Friend #1 went back home and I sought refuge at the new boyfriend’s house.
When the portion of the power bill owed by Best Friend #2 wasn’t paid, we snuck into the apartment and removed every single lightbulb. Our not-quite-fully-developed brains figured this was the obvious solution to an issue that could have been handled by simple communication.
Best Friend (or Enemy, at this point) #2, went to management and told them all about our drama.
Turns out, shady apartment managers don’t like dealing with dumb college girl drama.
They didn’t even want to hear it and told us we all had to be moved out before 5 PM that same day.
After quite a few years under my belt, and some serious renting experience, I realize now that what they did was likely illegal.
Well, after the phone call from Best Friend #1, suggesting I maybe come home to completely vacate in less than 5 hours, I called my mom.
(Shamefully, I’m pretty certain that every gray hair and wrinkle on my mother’s body is thanks to my brother and I.)
Her response was: “Well, that’s just fabulous. You better call every Goddamn person you know to help you. You also better call your father, because I’m not. Good luck with that and goodbye.”
At some point during the Great Pack Up, Best Friend #1’s mom was on her hands and knees, in the kitchen, frantically throwing kitchen items into a box while simultaneously yelling about how disgusting we were.
My brother was vacuuming for the first time in his life, going over and over every square inch of carpet like his life depended on it.
My aunt was asking what she thought we should do about the moldy towels in our 6-months-broken dryer.
My mom was yelling orders at all of our family and friends, and even some random people she caught walking down the street.
My cousins were hauling loose items like lamps, throw pillows and towels to our cars, while cursing us under their breath.
Best Friend # 1 and I were throwing belongings into boxes, not caring whose crap it was. I think there’s still some random storage shed somewhere with our priceless Anne Geddes art and plastic blow up lounge chairs.
And, Best Friend #2? What was she doing? At precisely T-Minus two hours, she was still crying in her room.
After attempts by my mom and Best Friend #1’s mom, my dad had to finally pound on her door and threaten her with his dad voice. Eventually, she appeared with 85 garbage bags, filled to the brim with her stuff, ready to be hauled out.
Somehow, we all (Mom, Dad, Brother, Best Friend #1’s mom, dad, and brother, Best Friend #2, a handful of friends, my cousins, and random passerby) managed to leave the place looking spotless (not even a random hanger or a half-used roll of TP was left) with only two minutes to spare.
I learned a lot of lessons from my first time living on my own. Namely, don’t live with friends and don’t leave bitchy notes for your roommates that read, “I love waking up to your bowel movements everyday. Can you please run the fan and courtesy flush? Also, the phone bill is due. K thanks.”
I’m still learning.
I just learned the other day that disposals aren’t made to mash up large quantities of food. They are just for those odd bits. Who woulda thunk?
Also, don’t prop up your feet that have been in your sweaty shoes all day on the coffee table within five feet of someone. Especially when they’re eating.
So, even though I’m doing slightly better than I was when I first lived on my own, somedays, I think I’m still firmly planted in the stupid-af-era. And, some days, I change the batteries in the smoke detector all on my own.
These days, Best Friend #1 is winning at life. She owns her own home and seems to always be jetting off on some trip. The bitch.
Best Friend #2 is married with two beautiful children. I don’t think she owns a cat.
For some reason, this is the only picture I could find of our first apartment. Notice the message board, where super friendly (bitchy) messages were written. I have no idea who the half-naked guy is, but a poster of a wet/greased up/sweaty guy in the kitchen is always a good idea. Also, WTF is happening with my “bangs”?