Menial Expectations: A Comedy about Roommates

It’s a Saturday morning in early October. Sunny, bright, mildly cool Autumn days like this are especially rare in Copenhagen. The day before, Lynda’s laptop just completely stopped working. It would not turn on or off. Of course, she had a tight programming deadline. And then when it finally turned on, Microsoft Search stopped working, so troubleshooting was not possible. The internet has not been working for three whole weeks. Three! Indeed. This resulted in Lynda appropriately freaking the fuck out and wearing her high-heel boots in the kitchen and jumping up and down angrily dancing to Peaches (the band, not the fruit…that would be weird).

It should be noted here that wearing shoes indoors is very strictly against The Apartment Standards of Behavior and Conduct, obviously not set by Lynda. Yet, this gives the whole act a really special tinge of rebellion that excites Lynda tremendously. Ah, how she loves hearing the sounds of her boot heels tip-tapping on the hard wood floors! Sometimes, to just be alone in one’s own home to do whatever the fuck one’s whims entail can be fucking liberating magic. The whole act has a special “bad girl” delight and feels utterly justified.

Lynda is going to meet her old roommate Ina, who just moved back to Copenhagen. She’s thrilled. Ina is one of her favorite people. A delightful German with the most adoring of quirks and eccentricities — someone who can make Lynda let out a very special rolling giggle. Of course, because she is the kind of woman she is, Lynda is running late. (Lynda is always running late.)

Starting to gather her belongings to leave, Lynda runs into her roommate Sarah, who says, “Hey Lynda, can you please take out the bio trash? It is starting to smell really intensely of meat.” Suddenly the scent of really strong, stinky cheese from last night’s meal, cooked by Sarah, and the remembrance of how it brought her the sensation of vomiting, crosses Lynda’s mind now in this moment as Sarah complains of the meat in the bio trash. But alas, she shrugs casually and very cheerfully says, “Oh, yeah, sure! Not a problem. I’ll grab it on my way out.”

Lynda wears Victorian boots. I believe I already mentioned this. They are the super-rad, Edwardian kind, Authentic, of course. With gold lining around the toes, and gold notches for the laces. So, Lynda gathers her things. She cannot find her sunglasses. Fuck! Always something missing. But she puts on her coat and scarf anyway. And she puts on her boots, carefully, slowly. Victorian boots take a very long time to put on, and the foot position in the shoe has to be very rightly calibrated in order to lace up properly.

Then for a moment, she thinks, “Oh, fuck.” realizing her mistake. NO SHOES ALLOWED.

So, she tries to walk only on the balls of her feet, like a ninja ballerina. Very…quietly. Slowly, now. Patiently….

The bio trash is not over by the bathroom, where it is usually left. Lynda, with a strange energetic sense of MYSTERY (Lynda: Lady of Mystery) starts wandering around, roving high and low, peering behind the door, and asking the cat, “Where is the trash, my darling?” Sharona meows and grazes her legs.

Eventually, Lynda catches eyes of Sarah, who has been watching her this whole time. Sarah is shaking her head slowly, heavily, looking very angry. Lynda asks, “Hey, so, uhm, where is the bio trash you want me to take out?” Sarah replies, “It’s in the bin.” Aha!!! Mystery SOLVED. International lady of —

“But Lynda, I need you to please TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES.” Sarah asserts, uneasily.

Lynda looks down at her shoes, still on tip toe. Then looks up towards the trash bin. It is now about four steps away from where she currently stands, three if she does that really cool new yoga lunge trick she just learned.

“Yes, but can I just –” Lynda starts, gesturing towards the almost-within-reach trash bin.

Sarah shakes her head and looks down, in total…almost parental disappointment. It is as though Lynda just failed her math test even though Sarah stayed up late and spent all weekend teaching her all the equations, and fun little mnemonic techniques. “No”, she declares, firmly.

Lynda starts fuming, but she does not show it. No, no. Best to just be patient with this one. So she walks all the way down the hallway corridor (note: fifteen steps) back to the place where “shoes are taken off” (according to The Apartment Standards of Behavior and Conduct). Then she takes off her shoes. Ten minutes late. Dammit!

She tip-toes in socks (realizes that the tip-toeing is no longer necessary and instead flat-foots the rest of the way) twenty steps over to the trash bin. She double-bags it to prevent leakage. She ties it very, very carefully. She takes it in another plastic bag (again, just to be totally sure of no leakage), realizes that this probably really pisses off Sarah since she is such an environmentalist, and then rushes (20 steps) back to her boots. She puts her boots back on (another five minutes), and then…she opens the apartment door. She closes it! She’s…gone. It slams behind her, and she just knows this is something that Sarah will complain about tomorrow. Sarah says the noise gives her headaches, but alas — Lynda has not figured out a way to close the front door all the way shut without slamming it because it gets stuck. And headaches are less risky than potential invasion and theft, most likely.

When she gets outside, finally, she lets out the biggest sigh she can muster, folds her face into her hands, looks up to the sky, and exclaims loudly and to no one, “Are you FUCKING kidding me?!”

A stranger looks at her, nods, peers over his sunglasses, and winks. Then he cranes his neck as he walks by as if to say, “Sister, I know. We’ve all been there.”


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