The bar I’m referring to in the title of this post is not what you’d expect. I’m not talking about the ol’ waterin’ hole from my university days. I’m talking about the bar that we set for inevitably for ourselves during our post college days. I’m talking about the very low bar to the standard of living post graduation. It’s not our fault. When we graduate, we’re left with student loans, an expensive piece of rolled up sheepskin and swift kick in the ass to get a job immediately. We are broke.
When I made the decision to make the trek from Portland to Los Angeles, I remember my jaw dropped when I learned that my parents were not going to help me out at all financially with the move. No gas money. No food money. Selling my beer soaked books wasn’t going to cut it. I actually had to help my father “flip” an old crack house that was one of the top horrifying experiences of my adult life. That $50 will never erase the image of discovering the sun-bleached skeletons of a family opossums as I flipped over a long-forgotten children’s wading pool hidden among the overgrown weeds littered with discarded condoms and bottles of Mad Dog.
I shrieked like a cheerleader.
This evening, I just returned from having dinner at my former, post-college roommate’s house. He’s married now with a baby on the way. As he poured me a craft beer (ha! craft beer? That used to be the drink of feudal lords!) we started reminiscing about what we thought was “completely normal” back in those days would be so ridiculous now. In fact, we found this so amusing, we scribbled down a list of all the things we lovingly called “bare minimum”. I now (shamelessly, with my head held high) share this list with you:
- I used an empty orange box to store my socks & undies and empty milk crates for my skate tees and jeans.
- When I first moved in, I didn’t have a bed. I had to take the broken futon in the living room, that was being used as a couch, and look up a free couch on Craigslist to replace it. The one we settled on was being housed down in a back alley when we drove up for the pick up. We lovingly called it “Separator” because it was actually built to break in two pieces. Terrible to wake up on after a night of heaving drinking.
- “Hobo Pasta” was standard fare. It was bleached pasta with nothing more than pepper, salt and butter.
- One of my roommates used an unzipped sleeping bag as his comforter for months.
- I finally was talked into purchasing curtains from Ikea. I didn’t realize that you had to cut them to the appropriate length and then iron that mysterious strip of white glue to make it presentable. I let the curtains drag on the dusty floor.
- One of my roommates refused to wash his bed sheets. When I told him it wasn’t normal to go four months without tossing them in the washing machine. I finally guilted him into washing them only to discover they laid in a pathetic crumbled mass on the floor of his bed. He slept on a bare mattress for months.
- I couldn’t afford to buy a new computer. I was running Windows 98 and I graduated in 2005. It was so damn slow that I used to turn it on after work/internship, take a shower, start dinner and then it would finally get to my log-in screen. Even then only sometimes. If it was one of long showers where I contemplated about life. Kept that computer until it wouldn’t stop freezing on me when I tried to transfer song files over to a flash drive. That was in 2009.
- Knife hits.
- We had an Ikea coffee table (who didn’t at that time) where two of the legs on opposite corners had fallen off. Probably during an intense game of King’s Cup. We would tweak out if our guests would try and anything on it. “Don’t put anything on that table!” we’d squeal. “It’ll fall over!” In hindsight, why’d we even have a table if no one could put anything on it?
- Wait. You can FRAME posters?
- soap slivers + soap slivers + soap slivers = one giant soap!
What are some of things that set the standard for your Post College living?