My Roommate the Oompah Loompah
2005-08-27/5:02 p.m.

Hanging out with Alissa last weekend reminded me of a lot of things about my first year in NYC.

I had moved here for college and didn’t really know anyone (my dad had an aunt and uncle in Jersey) and I had spoken to my roommate once, on the phone. I was coming from Kansas and she was coming from Hawaii so we hadn’t seen anything and really had no idea what to expect. Basically we were in an apartment that had 4 bedrooms. She and I shared one room. Each other room also had 2 people in it. So, 8 people total. We also had a kitchen, common area (that was actually really big), and 1.5 baths. The place was pretty no-frills though. Just some all purpose carpeting and a table and a drafting table. Our rooms each had two twin sized loft beds that were really high up.

The roommates:
C- Lesbian, vegetarian from Connecticut that my dad disliked immediately. (last time I saw her she was both eating meat and having sex with boys)

D- Art student from Pittsburg who was very awesome, on a scholarship, and was a model for 17 magazine. She dropped out at semester and moved to Cleveland.

A- Alissa as mentioned above

M- Cuban girl who talked about Cuba (pronounced coo-buh) but had never actually been there and actually hated people who had been and she barely spoke Spanish at all. She also dated someone just because he bought her things even though she didn’t find him attractive at all (he wore yellow Versace pants). She was also older if I remember correctly.

M2- Japanese exchange student who was very quiet and not home much.

Michelle- she was my roommie and current good friend.

Oompa- she is the purpose of writing this.

So, Oompah (nicknamed Ooompah Loompah) was annoying from the start. She was this square faced girl who looked just like an Oompah Loompah. She had white girl dreads that were bleached blonde when we moved in. They were very gross looking and she didn’t seem to have a clue as to how to take care of them. If she knew you were grossed out by them, she would rub them on you and then run off. Charming.

I remember she said that her dreads were really important to her and made her who she was, gave her a source of power and a bunch of other nonsense. Let it be noted now that she was in college for Poetry and considered herself a beat poet. She would also bust into poetry often and then expect accolades for it. She also said that she would only cut them off if it was a ceremony where all her friends each kept one and kept their power etc…. After winter break she came back with no dreads. I asked how her “ceremony” went and she was like “oh, I just kind of cut them off, no one wanted one I guess.” SHOCKER.

Once, Oompah came into mine and Michelle’s room and was looking at the family pics that we had up. She took one look at Michelle’s half Korean mom and said “I just don’t think Asian people are attractive.” Then she took a look at my chubby mom and (I think) D called her pretty. Then Oompah said “you can’t be fat AND pretty.” Too bad this was back when Michelle was quieter because if she pulled that crap now Michelle might kill her. The best was that Oompah had a really skinny mom who was horse faced ugly who would make Oompah weigh in and they would talk about how lucky they were to be thin.

Oompah just loved to look at herself in the full length mirror and talk about how fat she was and then plead compliments out of everyone. “Oh god, I am so fat…. Don’t you think so, Crystal, aren’t I gross?” meaning for me to say “oh, no, you look great!” This was her daily ritual. After a few months D was fed up. Oompah was doing her usual routine of “Ack! My thighs are disgusting!” and D just said “Yeah, I know!” and went on about cooking her dinner while Oompah just stared and then silently walked back into her room.

She also had her burnout friends come in from Jersey to visit her and these kids would talk about how rich they were and how stupid their parents were and how fun shoplifting was etc… totally quality people. Then one day a bunch of us had stuff missing. I was missing money. Michelle was also missing money (though hers was more like something personal that she and a friend had drawn all over and I think that friend had passed away) and Alissa was missing a watch that cost several hundred dollars (and was her dad’s that she was borrowing). There may have been more but these are what I remember. I was so broke back then and lived on $20 a week so to have money missing was a big blow to me, but really Michelle’s and Alissa’s sounded worse to me. D was so mad that she called a “house meeting” and mentioned wanting to get a police report done. Of course, Oompah freaks out saying that there is no need for one and that nothing realllly happened, it’s no big deal and all of the stuff that a totally guilty person would say…..(or at least someone who knows her friend did it would say).

There a million other things. Like screaming at her mom for hours on the phone and then coming into the common room and laughing at the top of her lungs about how awesome she was. Or when she would come home at 4am and pound on our wall when she had forgotten her keys (I think Michelle did go off once about that). Or when she made me listen to a poem about how awesome her virginity was to her. Or when we went out for some birthdays and she got a flaming shot but she started drinking it before blowing it out , thus burning the hell out of her mouth. Oh wait, that was more hilarious than annoying.

There were a bunch of things that other roomies did that year that bugged me, but this girl took the cake. One girl slept on a raw mattress, showered about never and would walk in and go to the bathroom while another person was brushing their teeth, and she was not as bad as Oompah.

So now Alissa lives in West Hollywood and actually ran into Oompah twice because she is out there to be a star. HILARIOUS. She actually told us once that her mom named her the way she did because a psychic told her she would be famous and that she had to have a good name (her name was not good, by the way). Here’s hoping that Alissa is spared any future meetings with the little Oompah Loompah and that we can all put her out of our minds once and for all.


A note I found in a drawer.
The Extra Lens and Adultery.
Books are beautiful.
Ira Glass made me feel better about things.
Something that happened yesterday.