An Ode to Scanlan Street

February 3, 2012 in General

It’s official.  I’m moving house!

I decided recently that it was time for a change of scenery.  More to the point the landlord decided to renovate and evicted us all.  With the big move imminent I’ve decided it’s time to write about my flatmates.  I’ve avoided the subject thus far, but now that I know I’m never going to see them again it’s open season.  Join me as I take a look at some of the people I’ve lived with here on Scanlan.

Let’s start with Dave.  Dave was our resident creeper.  At fifty years of age he’s significantly older than most of our parents and seems to exist on coffee, nicotine, and not much more.  The only food he ate was the Big Macs he foraged for in the dead of night.  I could set my clock by those 2am prowls.  Dave was unemployed, and lounged around making inappropriate remarks to all and sundry, providing they were female.

One moment of Scanlan glory was when Dave dared to give Marah lip the third (or maybe tenth) time she and Chris broke up.  She screamed at him loudly and slapped him in the face.  He sulked for days.  Another time he went on a road trip around the South Island and was gone for months.  We joked that he’d probably tried to get fresh with the wrong hitch-hiker and had been killed for his efforts.  None of us cared enough about him to check whether he was okay.

Chris and Marah arrived around the beginning of summer.  Chris was a football hooligan from Britain, and Marah was his fiery-tempered girlfriend.  To say that Chris and Marah’s relationship was rocky would be an understatement.  Less than a fortnight after she’d arrived he threw her out, dumping all her stuff in the hallway.  This was to become a recurring pattern – every few weeks he’d either throw her out, or she’d pack her bags and storm off to a hostel.  The hostilities would continue for about a week after which she’d reappear and carry on as though nothing had happened.

Their make-up sex after these break-ups became a bit of a ritual.  Not that their sex life was all that great, of course.  Chris suffered from premature ejaculation, which frustrated Marah as it meant that their sex lasted for all of two minutes.  Chris used to attempt to save face by explaining that she was so beautiful and he loved her so much that he couldn’t help but ejaculate straight away when he was having sex with her.  Whatever.  We knew this because Marah got drunk one night and filled us in on the nitty gritty.

There was a crazy Brazilian guy living in the flat over from us for a while.  We thought he was odd when he moved in but accepted him readily enough, as we’re all a little crazy one way or another.  He overstepped the mark though when he got racist on us and tried to insist if it wasn’t for white people New Zealand would be screwed.  Not a good idea in a building whose occupants reflect the United Nations.

We sent him to Coventry after that.  The whole building treated him as though he wasn’t there and studiously ignored him for months.  This coincided more or less with his rapid descent into the realm of actual craziness.  In the absence of real conversation he became friends with a post beside the back door and would talk to it for hours on end.  I used to stand at our kitchen window and watch in fascination (pretending to do the dishes) as he would laugh, shout and cry with it.  Towards the end he also became good friends with a football a la “Castaway”.

Finally he snapped.  A violent rampage ensued in which walls were smashed in, glass was broken and cars were vandalised.  The knives all had to be hidden in the oven.  (Why the oven I’m not sure.)  The police came, and when they arrived he thought they were vampires and ran up the road screaming and waving his shirt around his head.  He was restrained and taken into psychiatric care.  We later discovered that he was schizophrenic.

Rachel appeared one day in the aftermath of a dramatic exit by one of the flatmates.  It was at this point that I decided that I’d had enough of the crazies I lived with, so I barely acknowledged her existence for the first two months on the basis that she must be as crazy as everyone else.  How unfair that assumption turned out to be.  I deigned to have a conversation with her one night while drinking, and we’ve been firm friends ever since.  It turns out that we have very similar lines of thought and our shared appreciation for the absurd has helped us ride out pretty much anything Scanlan has thrown at us.  I’ll miss Rachel.  I’ll especially miss the gossips we used to have about our flatmates.

Eileen has been another stalwart of Scanlan Street.  She moved in next door less than a week after my arrival, and we quickly established a rapport that was based primarily on our dislike of other people. We would have dinner together and aspire to the day when we both had successful careers and could shake off the shackles of Scanlan.

Phillippe was a cute Belgian boy who lived with us for a few months.  He had a thing for Eileen for a while.  She wasn’t interested, but did hook up with him once in a moment of weakness.  This led to quite an embarrassing state of affairs as he became convinced she was obtainable, and for several weeks she would sneak around the back of the building to avoid being seen by him.  During that time she refused to come near our front door and our conversations moved to outside my bedroom window where I would feed her cake while she bemoaned the situation.  Good times.

I have mixed feelings about leaving Scanlan.  Mostly they’re happy feelings.  Tucked in amongst them though there is a slight hint of regret.  Living here has taught me a lot about myself, and in particular I’ve learned a lot about…

Wait.

Screw trying to say nice things about this place.

Get me the fuck outta here.

NB:  (Most) names changed.