When we moved into our first apartment in college, we thought it would be best to divide up the responsibility of setting up utilities. I was in charge of the setting up the electricity, Phil was in charge of setting up the cable/internet package and so on. This was a good idea since we had no to very little credit history (we all could build credit) and many of these companies forced us to put up deposits (since we had no credit history). We ended up getting a cable/internet/landline package because somehow it was cheaper than simple cable/internet package, Phil informed us. He also told us that the phone number for our apartment was ###-7825, or ###-SUCK. He specifically picked it out so it’d be easy to remember even though we all knew that we would rarely use it, since we all had cell phones. We would occasionally use it if we ordered a pizza, and we registered the number at our local grocery store to gain discounts, but it was never used to regularly make calls.
I ended up leaving the apartment after a year and started my journey of bouncing around Orange County. First, I moved closer to campus, then to the beach, then back towards campus, before finally touching down in the city of Orange. I didn’t have a particular affinity for any of these places, but I stuck around anyways. Going back to San Diego seemed like a retreat, not just because I would most likely live with my parents again, but because I wanted to eventually make it as a screenwriter in LA, and San Diego was in the opposite direction. I never moved to LA because I could never find that right combination of finding a job there and people to live with. I could write from Irvine, or Orange, and then make trips up to LA whenever the studios started calling, but they never did. After a while, it occurred to me, that proximity to LA probably shouldn’t be my only reason for staying in Orange, so I embarked on a little “tour”. I made a list of places that I might see myself settling down in and went to visit them. Fortunately, I had friends that lived at all these specific stops. Unfortunately, none of the places inspired me to pick up all of my belongings.
I’m not necessarily restless to get out of here, but the fact that all my roommates have picked up their things and left- well… it makes me feel uneasy, like I was somehow left behind. I know everyone’s timing is different, and perhaps I’m supposed to be here for a while longer and there’s some special purpose for that. I’m wondering if the dreams that I’m pursuing are the ones I’m supposed to be pursuing and if I’m honestly in the right place at the right time. Is this just a pit stop before I head towards bigger and better things, or is this it? I, by no means, live a miserable life and if this is all it’s cracked up to be, I would like to try to appreciate it more for what it is than what I would like to be. I mean, I should probably do that anyways, but right now I have goals and dreams that I haven’t attained, and it definitely puts a damper on my current reality.
While my roommates have dispersed across the country, I’m still here. In fact, I work within a few miles of where we went to school. When I go to the market, I enter our old landline phone number ###-SUCK and it still works. I don’t even know if any of the roommates still remember it or the story of how Phil chose that for us. I wouldn’t say college was the best time of my life or any of our lives, but we all keep in touch more or less, so the friendships that were formed in that apartment were definitely not superficial. We haven’t had a set reunion or anything – that’s not our style, and our lives have spread us pretty far apart. We’ve been out of college for seven years now, but it seems much shorter than that. I’m not sure if I feel that way because I haven’t felt like I’ve accomplished much or that I haven’t made a crazy cross-country move, but I think staying in an area for 7 years is an accomplishment in itself. I’ve managed, with plenty of mistakes and growing pains, to live on my own, and I think when I first got out of college, that was my main goal anyway, and it’s a goal that I’m glad I achieved.