Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Snoopy McSpeculative

You really don't want to hear about my trip to SCTIAHTAMU--a trip that involved 15 hours rather than the anticipated 7 or 8; lost luggage; a freaked-out cat with an amazingly high tolerance for tranquilizers who went some 36 hours without using a litterbox; extremely disagreeable weather upon arrival; and the discovery, once said luggage finally showed up, that I'd failed to pack the power cord for my laptop. (Happily, time passed and sleep occurred and a really nice person mailed the cord to me.)

Instead, let's talk about my apartment. I've never met the woman I'm subletting from, and though I know a bit about her, her place has me speculating about her life, her personality, and so much more.

Wanna play along?
Her bed consistes of a boxspring and mattress set on the floor (no bedframe).

The artwork on her walls includes a print of Klimt's "The Kiss" and some small, framed Chinese and Japanese landscapes.

Her dishes are mismatched, but she has a complete spice rack, four china teapots, a coffee grinder, a French press and a stovetop espresso maker.

She does not appear to own a corkscrew.

She has a decorative basket, enlaced with ribbons, full of condoms (of several different brands, in singles or pairs).

In a visible location in her living room are Cranium and Boggle.

She has at least ten votive and other candles on surfaces throughout the apartment.

There is one plant (small, but healthy).

Her bookshelf contains--in addition to works related to her field/profession--a mix of relatively literary popular fiction (Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Sebold), Harry Potter and other fantasy-/sci-fi-type books (Anne Rice, Philip Pullman, Orson Scott Card), thrillers (Robert Ludlum and Michael Crichton), along with Anne of Green Gables, The Far Side Gallery, and a whole bunch of Steinbeck.

The place was left very tidy, with plenty of space for me in cabinets and closets, and a long, helpful note on the kitchen table.

She owns only a handful of movies, but among them are Pirates of the Caribbean, Hollywoodland, Star Wars, Braveheart, and Step Up.
Now~~you tell me the rest!


A White Bear said...

My mattress and boxspring are also on the floor! Among many other benefits, no dustbunnies!

Anonymous said...

Fascinating! But I am too traumatised by the lack of corkscrew to speculate.

Flavia said...

Fifi: you're traumatized? Let us just say that I discovered this around 9 p.m. the first night I got in, after I'd bought a few groceries, a bottle of wine, and was badly in need of a drink. (How badly? So badly that I attempted many other forms of extraction before finally succeeding in pushing the cork into the bottle.)

Oddly, she does own a (as in, one) wineglass. Maybe she buys screwtops?

And AWB: I have known several people whose mattresses/boxsprings sit on the floor. And they all have something in common with this woman.

Rhonda said...

When I first went off to grad school, my mattress and box spring were on the floor, mostly because I took those when I moved out of my parents' house, but I didn't take the bed frame for some reason.

I also didn't drink a whole lot of wine and used my Swiss army knife corkscrew, which I of course took with me whenever I traveled. So a subletter would have been appalled.

I did not, however, have beribboned condom baskets. I don't know what to make of that.

So, I will speculate that she is just starting out on something--new grad student or new faculty. Maybe newly single; in fact, I would bet that she just ended a multi-year relationship, not a marriage, but something that she thought would lead to marriage. That's why she bought teapots instead of china.

She wants to have a group of friends who hang out at her place (the games, the spice rack and coffee accoutrements), but she may not have found them yet. She's more heart than head (the books, the movies, "The Kiss").

Dr. Virago said...

Maybe she only buys cheap but drinkable screw-top wine?

Btw, e-mail me and tell me which SCTIAHTAMU you're in. I'm snoopy, too!

Dr. Virago said...

Oh, and I think she lifted the basket of condoms from health services as a prank. It sounds like the kinds of baskets they have on the counters of college health services, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Many high priced wines today come with screw tops. There is a shortage of cork from Spain and other places. And what is wrong with Cranium and Boggle??

Flavia said...

Rhonda: that's getting into the spirit of things! Some of your speculations are correct, others are conclusions I've come to, too (I like the analysis of heart over head), and others I know to be partly but not necessarily entirely wrong--will say more later, if/after others weigh in.

Dr. V: in re: health services: hmm. That might be correct (I think it's odd that there are different brands, is for one), though that wasn't my own interpretation.

And Anon: I wasn't implying there was anything wrong with Cranium or Boggle (or any of the other items I listed); I was merely noting things that struck me as potentially revealing in one way or another. Nor am I ignorant of or dismissing screw-top wines.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I don't think we own a corkscrew any more, either. I suspect anyone subletting from us would run into far more problems than that, though!

I will be curious to see all speculation revealed. I'd speculate that she might volunteer for Planned Parenthood or the kind of place that would have condoms in baskets. And she just doesn't drink booze (I know that is an unthinkable prospect), preferring to focus on tea and coffee, which *might* imply an alcoholic (if the one I live with is anything to go by).

medieval woman said...

Maybe the be-ribboned condom basket was a semi-gag gift from some friends after she got out of a horrible, multi-year relationship - kind of like, "once more into the fray!". Based on the books, I'd guess that this was my apartment, but I looked around and I didn' find you anyplace, so I must have been separated from my booky-twin at birth. As for the lack of corkscrew and one wine glass, I think the answer is simple. Our girl is a domestic beer drinker and she just uses the bottom of her sweatshirt to open up her Miller Lights (ahem. Not that I've *ever* done that!).

Actually, it sounds like a nice place to hang out - when shall we be over?? And I want to know where you are as well (off-blog)!

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Jeez, did you move into my grad school apartment when I wasn't looking? Except for the corkscrew (necessary!) and the Klimt (which I despise). She's a little unsettled, I'd say (in the sense of not being permanently planted in a place or a kind of life), but welcoming and thoughtful of others. She's optimistic, and she daydreams a lot.

Jack said...

When I first moved into my own (basement, one room) apartment after ending a 10 year relationship I slept on an air mattress (need I say no bed frame) for three months. I am horrified at the idea of you playing this game with me and that place. I did, however, have a corkscrew--three in fact as both my mom and my sister gave me one as a moving in gift. So my first impulses are to say she is relatively new to the city, perhaps newly single, and that her family does not consider her as reliant on booze as my family apparently considers me.

Games--she has potluck game night gatherings. Perhaps family in town or friends from work?

She is an impulse buyer when it comes to movies--pick up something on the way home from work in an emergency kind of gal. Either that or she had to leave all the good stuff at her ex's unless they had multiple copies (Star Wars).

She has siblings--made room in cabinets for you and has the ability to keep a plant healthy. No offense to the only children out there.

She doesn't necessarily plan on settling in here--portable coffee makers, lack of bed frame, and the fact that she's probably still decorating her walls with purchases from college.

All this tells you more about me than her, doesn't it?

Dr. Virago said...

OK, now I'm leaning towards New Kid's alcoholic thesis. The one wine glass is perhaps a reminder, or perhaps for a friend/family member (I know alcoholics who can be with others while the others drink, and some who can't) -- although one is weird. But the board games and the possibility of game night could be a part of this interpretation, too. In LA, at least, game nights are really popular with the AA and Narc Anon set because it's safe, contained, and prevents them from being in trigger situations and places. And as New Kid points out, the tea/coffee thing might be the replacement addiction/beverage enjoyment.

Anonymous said...

I take my primary corkscrew with me when I travel (a pewter-colored waiter's corkscrew).

However, I suspect anybody subletting from me would be more disturbed by my lack of decoration and bookshelves. Also the kitchen table with no chairs and a broken leg.

And the fact that most of our furniture came from outside by the dumpster.

... plus, I'm sure I have another corkscrew lying around somewhere.

Flavia said...

Goodness! Such fascination with the corkscrew and wine glass! Will write back later with more info, but for now I'll just say that, although the single glass is definitely odd, and might support the AA theory (though she also has a glass that looks like a small brandy snifter and that might serve as a second wineglass), she DOES have at least two bottle openers.

So, I dunno: maybe they're just hard to find? I went over to the huge university store today, figuring that they had to have corkscrews (and somewhat amused at the idea of getting one with the school mascot or logo on it). They have shot glasses, beer steins, cheese board/knife sets, pizza cutters, and at least five different bottle openers (including talking ones). They even have decorative wine re-corkers. But they do NOT have anything w/which to OPEN a wine bottle.

(You'll be happy to know that I found one at the Exxon mart. Which will bring to five the number of wine opening implements in my own kitchen, unless I leave this one here for her.)

Fretful Porpentine said...

I owned a solitary wine glass for a while, until my parents gave me a full set for Christmas. My roommate left it behind when she moved out, and since I was flat broke and rarely had guests, I certainly wasn't going to go out and buy more.

From the combo of the mattress on the floor + mismatched dishes + fancy coffee stuff and spice rack, I would guess that this is someone who is poor, cheap, and / or cheerfully unconcerned about household matters, but who often gets nice gifts from her relatives. (This pretty much describes me. Also, I like the sound of her book collection. I think I would get along with this person.)

Flavia said...

Okay, here's what I can tell you, and what additional conclusions I'd drawn:

The woman I'm subletting from is (as most of you guessed) a grad student, in music (studio/performance). She's quite young, I'm guessing about 25, and I think went straight from college to grad school; the apartment is pretty minimally furnished, and with stuff that, though nice enough (Ikea/thrift store/hand-me-downs), could be left behind with her next move.

She is in a relationship, and it's stable/serious enough that she gave me her boyfriend's phone number in case I had any problems during my first couple of weeks here--but during those second weeks she's meeting up with him in his hometown and homestate, which she'll be visiting for the first time, so it's not necessarily a relationship of long duration. She also only very recently moved into this apartment (about 5 months ago), which I consider odd (in a university setting, doesn't everyone move in and out between May and August?)--so it's possible that she moved because a relationship ended. Or she had a bad roommate situation. Either could explain the random assortment and odd numbers of dishes.

I think Jack and Fretful are right about the gifts from relatives--she's got a LOT of kitchenware, but the spice rack (unlike the coffee/tea implements) seems not to have been used. I don't entirely know what to think about the condoms; a gag gift is entirely possible, but I doubt she stole them herself. MY assumption was that she was trying to make more romantic--or at any rate less medical or transactional--the necessary (i.e., birth control). Remember those candles!

She's originally from the west coast, which I think explains the Steinbeck. Quite a few of her other books look to be childhood favorites or left over from college classes (A Separate Peace, Plato, Joseph Conrad, e.g.), but the fact that she's kept them and moved them with her suggests that they mean something to her.

And finally, she's obviously conscientious and seems, generally, like a nice person. She's won a number of performance awards, and being a performer seems related to discipline and organization. She's also trusting enough to let someone she met on Craigslist and spoke to exactly once on the phone (during which time she asked me no questions about myself) stay in her apartment without a deposit, or references, or anything.

Hm. All this is making me think that I may just have to leave her that corkscrew after all!

Bardiac said...

Mismatched dishes and single wine glass?

Sounds like me, until I had a regular salary. Pick up a wine glass and some dishes at Goodwill, or get a couple leftovers from a neighbor's camping set, and that was my kitchenware.

I'm guessing she either has limited disposable income, or chooses to dispose it on something other than dishes.

And she's subletting because she needs the money to cover something, not for the fun of it. I'm guessing she's financially close to the edge, though maybe some family members have given her gifts.

Anonymous said...

Just checking in to make sure that you did actually manage to obtain a corkscrew. Phew! I have a drawer full of them from assorted trips where I have forgotten to take one and had to buy one.

Elizabeth said...

she's a republican, as betrayed by the orson scott card, michael crichton and mel gibson. oh, and the clich├ęd klimt. i'm fixated on the klimt. it's really weird coming from someone involved in the arts and/or performance.

Anonymous said...

You would be *really* baffled by my home -- I have twelve wine glasses and no corkscrew. I don't drink wine, but bought the glasses for entertaining (which I obviously haven't been doing, or I'd have realized that I don't own a corkscrew).

As a life-long non-drinker (I don't object to alcohol; I just don't care for it) I'm a bit taken aback by the notion that anyone who doesn't drink is probably an alcoholic.

I wouldn't read too much into the DVDs -- maybe she has a few old favorites and gets everything else through Netflix?

Dr. Rural

Pamphilia said...

She could still be a drinker- maybe wine just isn't her drink of choice. You don't need a corkscrew for ginOr or vodka or fine scotch. Or beer, as has been mentioned.

My guess is that at such a young age she has yet to discover the delight that is wine. Don't just leave the corkscrew for her when you depart- leave her a nice (affordable) bottle of pinot too.

This was fun! I want to play this game too- instead I'm stuck with weird Protestant martyr engravings.