“Hi Ed,” I said to the handsome young man in my dining room. Then I turned to the black man with dreadlocks and said, “You must be Derrick. Welcome, nice to meet you. And John, good to see you again.” Jack’s friends from Austin were visiting for a few days during Spring Break.
Jack was shocked. “How did you know which one was Ed?!”
I rolled my eyes. Really? He had described Ed as a redhead. I had met John before. Derrick clearly wasn’t a ginger, so the names seemed obvious. I answered, “Cause I’ve got skillz!”
The guys laughed and Derrick said, “Yup, that’s Jack’s mom, all right!”
That was on Wednesday. On Thursday, Jack said, “Ed has a job interview.”
I was surprised. “Is he thinking about moving up here? I know that we discussed it last year, but I thought he changed his mind.”
“Ya, he wants to get out of his parents’ house and try something new. He’ll be going to school and working,” Jack said, clearly excited at the thought of having his friend live with us.
I was a little in shock. Last year, I was excited about the thought of having someone to help with the rent, and the thought of having Jack around for a little while longer. (He won’t move into an apartment with his friend, if his friend moves in with us). However, I had given up on the idea. Sally’s room had become a guest bedroom/toy room: Barbies, Brat dolls, legos, dollhouses, stuffed animals, etc. lived in there. I mean, really, I could give away the Barbies and the Brat dolls, but not the rest. I promise, I only play with them when my nieces and nephews come over. (As far as you know.)
The next day, Jack was bouncing on his toes when he announced, “Ed got the job! He’s moving in on Monday!”
Shock hit me again. Let’s see, this is Thursday, so he’s moving in…IN FOUR DAYS! I only had 4 days to get used to the idea of having another person in my house. A person that I didn’t know. Ok, so Ed and Jack have known each other for years, so he’s not a stranger. Well, not to Julian; he’s a stranger to me.
That night, I offered to make hamburgers for the guys. Jack said, “Actually, I gave Ed your mother’s famous pizza recipe and he couldn’t get it to work. He would really love for you to show him how to make it.”
“I couldn’t make it because you didn’t tell me how much of each ingredient to add!” Ed said. “You said, ‘Add flour until the dough is right.’ What the hell?!”
I laughed. Of course I was flattered that Jack wanted me to make Nancy’s Famous Pizza, so I agreed. Ed stood by side, learning and helping. He’s a very nice guy and we got along great. He listened and repeated what I said, and kneaded the dough like I showed him. Even though he’d rather use a mixer like they do in pizza stores. I told him that you have to knead in a little love, otherwise the dough doesn’t taste as good. He shot me a dubious look, but he didn’t argue. Smart man.
We learned that beyond the love of good pizza, we have nothing in common. He doesn’t know who Ed Sheeran is. SERIOUSLY – a 21-year-old redhead who should be using ES’s love songs to pick up chicks, doesn’t know who the singer is. He stared at me when I quoted Weird Al Yankovic. Ed is going to college to become a history teacher (humanities); I’m an engineer (math/science). He likes green peppers and onions on his pizza, while I prefer tomato and mushrooms.
“John, you look hungry,” I said.
He raised an eyebrow at me. A quiet person, he didn’t say much.
“Have a banana. Have a whole bunch. It doesn’t matter, what you had for lunch. Just eat it,” I said, quoting Weird Al.
The guys laughed and teased John, but they had NO CLUE which song I was referencing. Sigh. The classics are lost on the young.
I further tried to win the guys over by sharing some fun stories of back in the day, when I played Dungeons and Dragons. Oh, yes, I was a classic nerd growing up. “And then, a little Halfling shook my character. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ and the Dungeon Master said, ‘Oh, nothing.’ Later I discovered that the damn Halfling had robbed me! I was a thief, so I should have known what was happening!” I said. “I mean REALLY. If some little guy shakes you, aren’t you going to see if he takes your coin pouch? It’s not exactly subtle. Damn DM.” The guys sympathized and laughed at the absurdity of some Halfling shaking a half-Elf. “Oh, one more little detail: I was married to the DM at the time.” The guys laughed.
I finished cooking the pizza and left the room. At least I was a hero for making excellent pizza, even if my pop culture references were lost on the crowd, with whom I had nothing in common. I hadn’t played D&D over a decade, and they were going to play in less than an hour.
I’m getting a roommate. Wouldn’t it be fun if his name were Mike? After all, I tend to collect Mikes and I have a thing for redheads; that would be a double whammy. Nah, a redheaded Ed makes more sense to me.
Ed left on Friday. On Saturday, Jack told me, “Aw, man, this is going to be great! I can’t wait for Eddie to move in! He’s going to be going to my college, and we’ll work out together. We’re going to join a boxing club and go to the college gym.” He smiled widely. The thought made him happy. “Guess what, Mom? He’s 21, too, so he can buy you wine!”
I smiled widely, ‘cause that made me happy. Maybe having another roommate will be a good thing, after all.