Every senior at my college is expected to complete a senior thesis. Most of the time, these projects are dreaded and feared for the three years leading up to it; for me, it was kind of like waiting on Christmas for way too long. I knew that my thesis experience would be magical, and it was. I had chosen the perfect advisor and later the perfect topic. I dedicated nearly an entire semester to writing six chapters of a novel, and there was no better circumstance that I could have. It was magical, with moments of absolute perversion and deception. All of my thesis meetings were on Friday, so I had the ritual of “Thesis Thursday.”
I’ve had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder my entire life, and not the kind where “you have to have your pencil and paper straight on your desk.” I’m talking, look into corners and count to eleven, and if you didn’t do it in the correct order, you have to figure out some way to redo it before the person you’re talking to thinks you’re having an epileptic seizure. Part of that means that my routine is important, and it comes with a certain level of superstition. When I was little, if I didn’t check the door four times, my mom was going to die in a car wreck. Even now, if I don’t feel my away around the entire steering wheel, I imagine that I’ll never get married. It’s a horrible life, but ever so often, it can be helpful. On Thesis Thursday, I would have one Reeses, two bottle cherry Cokes, seven cigarettes throughout the night, and if I repeated that schedule every Thursday and wrote my ass off, then I would end up with an exemplary thesis. I’m sure that sounds petty, but if there was one award that I cared about in college, it was gaining exemplary thesis status.
The routine was all that more important on duty nights. As an RA in Carnegie, duty forbids you from leaving the building, let alone campus. If any part of my night was forsaken, the routine was thrown. I did everything in my power to ensure that my part of the deal was held up, and for nearly every night of my year long thesis process, it worked… so, imagine my surprise when my routine was foiled at the hand of… you (insert devious face akin to something you would see on a telenovela).
Scene: standard night of thesis writing, dimly lit room
Time: approximately 2:00am
Characters: me, roommate, roommate’s girlfriend… thing.
I’ve never been the jealous type; I don’t covet what other people have because most of the time, if I want something, I find a way to obtain it on my own terms. So, it never bothered me that my roommate was so persistent in having his girlfriend stay over. I didn’t even mind occasionally hearing them have sexual intercourse. I was focused on my thesis. My characters. The plot. Sure, I found the groans and moans to be, at best, distracting, but you have your “screamers,” as the kids put it, and your “WASPs.” I was not one to judge on how vocal you should or should not be during some routine premarital sex. As I was rounding the two in the morning mark, I had realized that I had exhausted four cigarettes, the Reeses, but not a single cherry Coke. This was my boost or my Pokemon level up, if you will. I needed my cherry Coke like a boy needs a good southern girl, or air, or something else. Finish the simile to your liking, because even now, I can’t seem to focus at the thought of opening up that 1970s model refrigerator to see NO CHERRY COKES. I began looking around the room, as if someone would be standing there empty handed. Nothing.
So, I walked into my roommates room, and there him and her lay. On his futon. At the foot of the futon, a garbage can containing two empty 20 ounce cherry Coke bottles. I stood over their bodies, my thoughts immoral. I was enraged, and though I’m going to clear up any sadistic suspicion of murder or assault, I can’t say my thoughts were far from that extreme. I leaned over, whispering, Not on Thesis Thursday, bitches. I retreated back to my room, unable to leave for any more cherry Cokes. It was determined by the OCD gods: no exemplary thesis for me. Law had sequestered me there, because any more action than that eerie whisper would inevitably call for legal action… learned that the hard way sophomore year with an impromptu order of protection, but I digress.
I knew that I had to focus because my advisor expected pages, and in such a frazzled state, I hadn’t come close to meeting my quota. Two hours later, most of that dedicated to Facebook, I returned back to the kitchen so that I could get into our bathroom. I opened the door, and there they stood: naked as a newborn. I had obviously caught them post-coital, or possibly on the way to bring shame and disgust to our shower. The gang was all there: penis, boobs, vagina. It was all that I could handle when I burst out, surely waking the rooms above and below me, Are you kidding me?! On Thesis Thursday?! They stood there, blankly, waiting on me to lunge forward or use my crafty RA powers to document them, but all I could do was go to my natural state. I held one finger out, waved it up and down their naked, unkempt bodies, and said, You need to fix this. Now. and I slammed the door.
The whole night was a disaster, I smoked at least nine cigarettes that night, didn’t have a single cherry Coke, and I’m pretty sure I ate the remnants of a hamburger someone had left in the dormitory’s lobby. I was a mess, so it was no surprise that I walked into my advisor’s office the next day with an agenda: accept absolutely no fault for my lack of product. I opened her door and said, We have some things to talk about. I have four pages for you this week. My roommate had sex with his girlfriend all over the place last night, and he gave her my thesis Cokes. I’m sorry. As I continued to tell the story, all she could do was cover her mouth and listen. At the end of my rant, she took a sip of her coffee and sweetly said, We all have off weeks; it’s really okay. I’m sorry, too. I don’t think there was much more to be said. How can you punish someone who has obviously been deprived of not only two invaluable working necessities, but also his visual innocence?
I would go on to get an exemplary thesis; most people would say that this would disprove my theory that my OCD tendencies must be upheld for good things to happen, but to that, I have a retort. I think that those OCD gods, wherever and whomever they may be, looked down upon me that night and saw that I was in much deeper than I ever anticipated I would be. They pardoned me, kind of like a judge or lame duck Presidents, in the face of something much more grotesque and complicated than not upholding my compulsions. I will always be grateful for that, and I’m sure that if anyone learned anything that night, it was to always respect the sanctity of another man’s carbonated beverages.