Writing about the shoe episode the other day reminded me of a couple of other things I survived in apartment life at USU. All of these episodes were shared with my roommate, Michelle Hoekstra.
Michelle was from Brigham City. I met her only as we became roommates. We hit it off and had a lot of the same tastes in clothes, music, etc. We were also both night owls, unlike our other roommates (one of whom would get up at 4:30 a.m. just to do her two and a half hour routine of hair and make-up every day). Luckily, for us, Michelle and I did NOT share the same taste in men.
After only a few weeks of living with Michelle, she contracted mono so she had to move home for about a month. Our other roommates were probably a little annoyed that I got my own room that whole time. It was kind of nice for getting ready in the morning because I had to go to work at 6:30 a.m. when we were on overtime. When Michelle was at the apartment I had to try really hard to be quiet and get dressed in the dark so I wouldn't wake her up.
It was fun when she came back, though, because I had never had a sister so it was fun to have another girl to hang out with that was a lot like me.
We lived at Continental Apartments the first year and then we moved to Cambridge Court the next year and that's where I met Hal (and the rest is history...).
At Cambridge Court there was a group of freshman boys that lived next door to us. Once in a while I would hear a strange sound in the wall that separated my bedroom from the boys next door. It was kind of a sawing noise.
One day I noticed a couple of small holes in the wall above my bed that hadn't been there before. I remembered the noise, so I decided I'd better talk to the boys the next day and make sure they weren't installing any video surveillance equipment or something scary like that. I made a mental note to get dressed far away from where they might possibly be able to see through the hole. Then I pretty much forgot about it.
That night I was just falling asleep when I heard another little noise, kind of like the other noises only a little fainter. I had to get up early the next day so I tried to tune it out. I was just drifting off when I felt something wet. I thought I was dreaming because I was kind of in a daze. Then I felt some more wetness and the next thing I knew, I was getting drenched. The pot-lickers in the next apartment had stuck a squirt gun through the hole (which was probably much bigger on their side of the wall) and were soaking me with it. I started squealing quietly and eventually had to get loud enough to wake Michelle up. Then we started pounding on the wall and telling them to knock it off. That is the strangest sensation to be half asleep and not being able to figure out what is going on. I guess we did something to plug the hole and take care of the problem the next day, I just can't quite remember that part.
Also, in that same bedroom, another thing happened that could have turned out much worse. I had played some prank on a guy I was dating and Michelle had probably helped me. (Um, I can't quite remember what I did, but it must have been pretty bad - or maybe he didn't have a very good sense of humor.) One night, in the middle of the night this time so I was really asleep, I heard a bunch of people talking loud and running around in our apartment. It scared the daylights out of me. I thought we were all going to be murdered in our beds. I heard someone say "They're in this room." I was really hoping it wasn't my room they were talking about, but a minute later a bunch of college guys burst into Michelle's and my bedroom. Then they grabbed me and started yanking me out of my bed.
Unfortunately, I was wearing less than appropriate pajamas, more like a long shirt, so I yelled, "I'm not dressed!" They actually paused for a minute until one of them said, "Take the sheet too." They then also grabbed Michelle and duct taped us into our sheets like mummies and started carrying us out of our apartment like a couple of rolled up carpets. I was finally awake enough to see who was there and recognize the one guy so I figured we were probably going to be okay so I remained calm. Then the guys all piled into a car and threw us across the laps of the guys in the back seat, who I didn't know.
Next they drove to a location that I didn't recognize, probably because it was dark and I was still groggy from being awakened from a deep sleep. They ended up trying a couple of apartment doors, found one that was opened and threw us into the front room. We were still duct taped like mummies so we pretty much hopped around like two big human cigars. Then the guys outside started ringing the doorbell furiously. A big guy we didn't know came down the stairs, also groggily because HE had now been pulled out of a deep sleep. He looked at us like he didn't know what to make of us and we certainly didn't know what to make of him since we had no idea who he was. Finally we said, "Help, we've been kidnapped. Can you help us?" He tried to rip off the duct tape and then told us to wait a minute and ran back upstairs. He then came down the stairs with the biggest knife I'd ever seen in real life. I felt my eyes go as big as saucers. I was sure we were going to be dead before sunrise.
Luckily the knife really was just to cut the duct tape so we were still safe. Eventually the other guys came back and took us home. We found out later that the guy with the knife was engaged to one of our kidnappers' sisters, but he was as scared as we were when he saw us in his living room. He was NOT impressed with his soon-to-be brother-in-law's shenanigans.
There are two more things worth mentioning; first of all, this pretty much killed any relationship possibilities with the guy I was dating and second, I don't usually blow my top but I read another roommate the riot act for not locking the door after she got home that night.
Here is one of my favorite moments with Hoekstra. (That's what I always called her, either that or Michelle Irene Hoekstra from Russiaaaaaa - even though she was actually Dutch.)
One night we called up some guys we knew. (They were brothers and their last name was Oswald, that's all the identifying information I will put here.) I can't remember why we called them, if there was a real reason or not. Anyway, we only got their answering machine and this was in the days before caller i.d., so we ended up singing a weird rendition of Talk Dirty to Me (sorry mom) by Poison. At the end of the very long message, one of us said the other one's name so they would easily be able to figure out who the message was from. We only liked these boys as friends, and we got thinking about it and realized that they might get the wrong impression from the message we left. (Gee, I wonder why.) Then we called and left another message, basically telling them to disregard the previous message. The problem was that at the end of that message we got a little out of hand too and said some stupid things. We had now dug ourselves in a little deeper.
We then started thinking a little more, which is always dangerous, and we remembered that they never locked their apartment. Hmm, maybe we could just go in and erase the messages. No big deal, or at least we hoped not.
We drove over to their apartment and knocked on the door. No answer. So far, so good. We let ourselves in and went over to the phone. (It should be noted that their apartment was unique in the fact that it was literally wallpapered, floor to ceiling, with pizza boxes. I always wondered if they were used pizza boxes or new.)
Now the problem was that there was no answering machine attached to the phone in their living room. We had to search their apartment for the machine in the dark because we didn't want to turn on the lights and attract undue attention. We finally found it in one of the bedrooms. The only problem now was the fact that there were more messages on there than the two that we had left.
We debated for about half a second and decided that our messages had to go, no matter what. We listened to all the messages there in the dark. There were two that sounded somewhat important. One was from a girl for one of the guys. We heartlessly deleted it. Hopefully that didn't cause too much stress for them. I really do feel guilty about that one now. The other one was from someone who worked with one of them. He gave his name but didn't say who the message was for. He said that (whoever the message was for - he just said "you") didn't need to go into work the next day for some reason that we didn't quite catch. Now that one we needed to pass on. We went out to my car and got a piece of paper and a pen. Then we wrote a note that said something like, "We think one of you doesn't need to go into work tomorrow. Call and check on this."
I would have loved to be a fly on that wall when they came home and read the note and tried to figure out where in the world it came from.
Ah yes, the years with Hoekstra. We did have some good times.