Monday, August 17, 2009

Interview With Former Housemates

I interviewed my old housemates, Adam Nathanson and Alyssa Murray, on 5/23/09 at Jyoti Indian Cuisine in the Adams Morgan part of Washington DC. It was loud, and a lot of other people talked over us.

Sam: When we all lived together, in '93 and '94, I have distinct memories of me being the press secretary for Neil. Neil would do something controversial - like toss his used cat litter out the window, or write on the walls - and then the next morning I'd have to issue a clarification on his behalf. Is that an accurate memory?

Alyssa: Yes. I remember a broken coffee table. And I remember you were the spokesman for the broken coffee table...

Neil: I don't remember this coffee table!

Adam: Who broke it?

Neil: What kind of asshole would break a coffee table?

Alyssa: (pause) That's what I'm wondering.

Adam: I also remember a guy stuffing things in the wall for the property manager...

Sam: Hey, I was provoked. And I've since come clean about that. But, so, me being press secretary is an accurate memory?

Alyssa: Yeah...

Sam: And that is a pretty sick relationship, right?

Alyssa: Yeah....

Sam: Also, I have no memories of any of us five sitting down for even one meal together at that big table in the kitchen.

Neil: I don't remember that either.

Sam: Why did that not happen? Did we all hate each other? I thought we all got along.

Alyssa: There wasn't enough room.

Sam: But it was huge table.

Alyssa: It was against the wall.

Neil: (mocking) Noo! Everybody had to fend for themselves! I'm going to eat this at this time! And I'm going to eat that at that time!

Adam: You're correct though, there was no sense of community.

Sam: Why was that? It wasn't a punk house, because people in punk houses do things together.

Adam: Well, weren't there sensitivity issues? Like, you didn't want to be mocked for what you were eating?

Sam: Oho. (laughs)

Adam: That was kind of an issue.

Sam: I would have eaten well if somebody had made some nice food for me!

Adam: And then Neil had the temper tantrum where the spaghetti ended up on the ceiling...

Neil: [chortles]

Sam: And I had to issue a clarification for that as well!

Alyssa: Neil would run out of the room after he did stuff like that... [laughter]

Neil: This interview doesn't paint a very good picture of me.

Alyssa & Adam, early 1994, kitchen. Note view.

Sam: Did we have any parties? We had a lot of guests, but no parties, right?

Alyssa: We had a lot of guests. But I don't think we had a party.

Adam: Nope.

Sam: That seems abnormal, now, doesn't it? Is it because we had so many animals? And the animals were mostly crazy?

Alyssa: We had so many people staying there, often enough, that why would you need to have a party?

Adam: Yeah, bands...

Sam: Yeah, but the people who stayed there were never festive. They were mostly awful, right?

Adam: I don't know.

Alyssa: Hm.

Sam: Wait, I never got an answer about the Caligula thing, Alyssa.

Alyssa: I don't remember that...

Sam: My memory is that me and Neil rented Caligula at Strawberry Video, and we were really, really excited to watch it. Then it turned out to be the most boring movie ever and we fell asleep while watching it. And at some point I think I woke up on the floor and you were watching it. But you don't remember any of this?

Alyssa: I don't.

Sam: I remember thinking we'd done a bad thing by inflicting this filthy movie on our one female roommate.

Neil: I remember watching that in high school and thinking it was a really deviant thing to do....

Sam: The only group activity I remember from that house is all of us watching MTV together for hours and feigning outrage.

Neil: Watching TV and complaining. And I think Alyssa used to watch 90210 all the time and we used to interrupt her.

Sam: I remember the Beastie Boys video would come on a lot and everyone would kind of grudgingly like it. But then I had to go out to the mall and buy the cassette in secret because I didn't want any of you to know I'd bought something on a major record label.

Adam: Your secret was that you liked that REM video for 'Losing My Relgion'.

[everyone laughs derisively]

Sam: NO.

Neil: And you bought the Fu-Schnickens CD!

Sam: No I did NOT.

Adam: Featuring Shaquille O'Neil! [Restaurant fills with derisive laughter / frowning-face emoticon, etc.]