Atmosphere – The Family Sign (2011)
Through ten full years of bouncing around to different apartments, houses, and condos in Orange County, I’m proud to proclaim that I don’t have a crazy roommate story. Not to say that every roommate situation I had was perfect, but I definitely haven’t experienced the horror stories that I’ve heard from friends, with roommates moving out in the middle of the night to be with a newfound significant other just weeks into their lease, or worse. I’ve even been lucky in the cases of living with strangers. While no one I know has a personal Craigslist horror story, people always make the possibility of living with someone off a Craigslist ad a dicey proposition. I’m glad that I was undeterred and took the leap; my current roommate situation is working out quite nicely.
I had just moved into a 3-bedroom condo and since I was single and without kids, it made sense to rent out at least one of the rooms to help pay the bills. I didn’t have any friends who needed a place, so I turned to the internet, which had actually helped me find a place to stay a few years prior.
Instead of posting an ad, I decided to just look through ads for fear of having my e-mail inbox fill up with messages from random crazies. It took a couple of weeks to get some responses from people who I thought would be a good fit. I talked to two people via e-mail, and only one in person; that one person was Dietrich.
The first thing I noticed about Dietrich is the first thing most people notice about him; he’s a giant of man—he’s 6-foot-5 to be exact. We got along, making small talk about where we were from, where we work, and all the things most would consider essential in an introductory interview.
I do remember him telling me that he didn’t drink, and then explained that he didn’t care, or that it didn’t bother him, if I did drink. This was important to me, not just because I like to indulge in an alcoholic beverage from time to time, but also because I was starting to brew my own beer out of the comfort of the home he would be living in.
I’m not sure if the topic of music came up during the interview process or if it was immediately after he moved in, but it was inevitable to happen since I ended up getting a turntable in the living room quickly after he moved in, and he ended up supplying the turntable with speakers. One of the first things we bonded over was a common love for Radiohead. Just a few days after he moved in I was listening to some Radiohead in the living room and when he came home from work he stormed in and asked me “Are you listening to Kid A without me?”
Later, we discovered that we shared a fondness for a hip-hop group from Minneapolis called Atmosphere. I can’t stress that enough: we bonded over a hip-hop group from Minneapolis. While Atmosphere has a pretty sizable following, it’s still much harder to find an Atmosphere fan, than say, a Radiohead fan. Still, we didn’t instantaneously become friends. We got along, we would grab a bite together every now, but we were still more roommates than pals.
This started to change after Atmosphere released their album The Family Sign. Dietrich caught Atmosphere on the first leg of the tour, and when the group announced a second leg that would take them back through Los Angeles, Dietrich asked me if I wanted to go. I decided to take him up on the offer, and on a warm day in August, we parked the car a handful of blocks from The Greek Theatre and decided to patron Umami Burger for our first time before going to the show.
We were both underwhelmed with our initial Umami experience, but for some reason we both decided to eat two burgers. This detail is important because we had to walk about a mile uphill to get to the amphitheatre, and there were times on the walk where I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. Dietrich, noticing that I was slowing down, made sure that I understood that while our friendship was definitely on the upswing, that he wasn’t going to “carry [me] up the hill.”
We finally made it to the show, and despite the treacherous walk up the hill, it was definitely worth it. From that point on, we started going to more shows together, and we just started hanging out a lot more in general, whether it be grabbing Mediterranean food at his favorite hole in the wall restaurant that he found a few years ago, or going to a hockey game. He even ended up helping me find a new car after mine was totaled in the summer of 2012.
But it was back in August of 2011 when we officially crossed the threshold from being roommates who got along, to friends; and even though he refused to carry me across it, it’s okay, I wouldn’t have wanted to carry myself either, two burgers in me and all.