Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Worst Hostel Roommates Ever

Sometimes all you want is your own room
I wandered rosy-cheeked up to my room at the Florence Youth Hostel, where I met my roommate from South Carolina. She had the drawl to prove it. She was studying in England and on a six-week break, taking time to go through Italy (“agin, Ah’ve already bin here wonce,”) and told me she found my accent “real harsh” in comparison to British English. “Even them snobby upper class Brits sound better than an American accent raght now,” Needless to say, we did not keep in touch.
She was not even close to the worst roommate I’ve ever had in a hostel. In New York I had one roommate –waiting for her apartment to be finished – who would get off work, crawl into bed and call everyone she knew, talking about nothing long into the night while the rest of us tried to sleep and even after we’d tried to give her a hint by turning off the light. In Belgium two years prior, I had met two girls from Nebraska who took two hours getting ready for a 30-minute dinner, then got tired and refused to check out the town. I once showed up in Barcelona and got the only remaining bed, in the men’s dormitory. I curled up into a ball, pretending I was asleep as they all came in and undressed, and tried not to think about the whitish-greenish-purplish stain under my rented sheets. The worst roommate, however, was at a hostel in Munich, a few blocks from the train station in what were also the very last beds available in the whole place.
He was about 50 years old, and had brought his own miniature TV that was always on and perched on his big hairy belly. He had a gristly graying beard where he collected leftover food, greasy long gray hair and a hole-riddled gray sweat suit. Mr. Gray had a large potbelly that made it impossible for him to keep his pants hiked up, displaying for all to see that he wore no underwear and the rest of his body was covered in gristly gray hair, too. My friend Tara and I never figured out what language he spoke, unless it was Mumble Tongue, and he constantly burped, snorted and snored, making it all the more horrifying when it woke you out of a dead sleep induced by too much German beer and saw his naked, gristly-gray-hair covered body cast in the light of some late-night show.