Five days till the move, and I’m already packed. So I’ve settled in with some take-out pad thai from the little hole in the wall down the street, having just finished, regretfully, this book. Since his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, I’ve followed Chabon, rolling through the chaotic, heartbreaking journey of The Wonder Boys, and now his Pulitzer prize-winner. Throughout the past few weeks I’ve passed several people with this book in their hands, on the bus, on the street, in the backseat of a car. Each time it’s brought a little smile to my face, knowing there are others half-submerged in his world. I won’t describe it; I’m sure others have done that better than I could, but I’ll buy you a copy if you ask. Sorry, you can’t have mine.
I haven’t spoken much of my other two roommates, the couple, mainly because the three of us have reached a fairly companionable co-existence in the house. Their puppy had months ago driven me nuts with its separation anxiety, but then one of them went on disability for Huntington’s Disease and so is always at home; not the best solution to the problem, but one that’s kept the peace.
Tonight I ran into one of them while sorting through some boxes in the garage, and he asked where I was moving to, and I told him. “We’re really sorry you’re leaving,” he said, “really sorry.”
“Really?” I asked. For some reason I found it hard to believe they’d miss me.
“Yeah, really,” he said. We kind of smiled at each other. “How much do you pay for rent, anyway?” he asked. I told him, and he shook his head, adding our combined rent and subtracting it from the total. I did the math too, twice, because the sum wasn’t what I had always believed it to be. “He’s a putz”, my roommate said, and we left it at that.