Getting into Medical School, aka Holy of Holies (the F-1 version)

My adventures as an international student trying to get into a US medical school as a prestigious MSI student!

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Location: East Coast, United States

I am a 22 yr old Foreign lady trying to get into an American med school. The journey has been "rough" to say the least. So join the band wagon and let's see if they think I'm good enough to become a doctor. I hope my story encourages someone, maybe you. Not necessarily to become a doctor, but just to follow your dream. Leave your comments as you read...I thrive on feedback. And if this is your first time here, catch up on what you missed, cus every post IS important...well almost all. So forget that board meeting(at your own risk) or skip that class (again at your own risk) and lose yourself in my archives. REMEMBER: "If it aint ROUGH, it aint RIGHT" - Richard Hamilton, Detroit Pistons Guard

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ok so something came up...

So I misplaced my keys at home today before heading out for my shift at the emergency room (started volunteering there last week). Was in a hurry so I didn't have time to search. I ended up having to leave my apartment door unlocked and hoped no weirdo will be there waiting for me when I got back. Checked my snail mail-box on the way out and saw there was a letter in there, for me or my roommate. Probably junk mail, no keys anyways so I couldn't check. Off to the ER.

Compared to last week it was exciting today. A 15 year old was being a good boy and mowing the lawn of the house. Suddenly the mower hit a little metal pole (about as thick as two nails, maybe a foot long) underground. Think of throwing a piece of metal at a fan's blades while in motion. The metal got uprooted from the ground, propelled in the air and stabbed old boy in the leg. (Grey's Anatomy fans think of this week's episode, the guy with a tree trunk stuck in him, but on a smaller scale). This guy was wincing in pain. After a few shots of morphine he quieted down a bit, at the time I left, he was waiting for vacancy in the Operating Room (OR) to get the the pole removed...all I could say was wow! I was impressed with myself, I did not even wince at the sight, I'm stronger than I thought. But the next case just left my mouth wide open though.

So the ER got a radio message from the EMTs (the guys that come when you dial 9-1-1), they said to prepare for a trauma case (aka drop everything else you're doing and prepare for the worst). They were bringing in an attempted suicide case. All the doctors, physician assistants, nurses, you name it were running up and down wearing all kind of masks and gowns and heading to the trauma room. Me being at the bottom of the ER food chain, I wasn't in the trauma room with them, there was no more room in there anyways, about twenty different kind of doctors were in. They bring in the guy, get ready for this y'all, HE WAS 12! What is a 12 year old trying to commit suicide for? Hold on to your seats now...

He tried to hang himself because his Grandma had not bought him the video game he wanted for his birthday! The poor old lady found him in the bathroom and called 9-1-1. All I can say is Geeez. At this juncture, I would like to take a note from TUPAC and communicate with my unborn child/children:






On the real though, how could that kid have done such to his grandma, the poor lady looked so distraught. She had to go through all kind of paper work with Social Workers and Psychiatrists. I was beginning to get scared that they might try to take him out of her custody. It looked like they understood though. Kids are just crazy nowadays, especially with all the crap they show on TV these days. All I really could found out before my shift ended was that his brain was OK but he was still not very conscious. I really pray none of us ever experience such and he gets better soon.

Anyways so I came back home and finally found my keys. Ran back down to check my mail. It was a letter from one of the Med Schools. Was very thin, looked like a rejection to me. Opened it and looked for the famous line "We had many qualified applicants this year..." but I was pleasantly surprised.


Like Dave Chapelle will say...IT'S A CELEBRATION BISSHES!

Aight, I'm out. Off to read that letter again, must make sure I'm not dreaming.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Appetizer

I know there are quite a few people waiting to finally find out what I got the second time I took the MCAT…it’s coming soon, I promise. It should even be the next post or so, so far nothing comes up in between. So before that I would like to educate you on a few things that might help with the next post…a breakdown to the layman of what exactly Research is.

If you’ve ever watched Hell’s Kitchen, Iron Chef or any other cooking show, you might actually have a heads up, cus research is pretty much cooking. Like these shows, the main goal is to cook up something using your own version of some basic technique and then hopefully discovering a taste no one has ever found before(the cure to cancer, etc). On accomplishing this you proceed to write about your discovery in the most complicated way possible(a publication) and hope the judges(reviewers) are just so confused that they give up trying to understand how you got such a unique taste and just give you the prize(getting published in a major journal e.g. Cell or a Nobel Prize).

But not everyone can just up and decide to cook a masterpiece. To be given your own cooking space in a kitchen (lab), there are numerous hoops (degrees) you have to jump through. Before you are even allowed to touch a spoon in the kitchen, the head chef must be sure that you know the basics, e.g. boiling water, at least in theory. This prerequisite is usually satisfied by showing you have taken such classes as “What is the point of cooking anyways?”(Biology or more specifically Emerging Diseases of the 21st Century), “Will the kitchen really burn down if I dip the paper recipe unto the burning stove?”(Chemistry) and “What happens if I toss the pancake up too high?”(Physics). To get an edge above the rest, you could even take “Dish Washing 101” a lab class that will exempt you from having to go through the breaking in ritual of washing all the Petri dishes your first few weeks in lab.

All these classes are usually satisfied by jumping through the first hoop (a Bachelor’s degree) and if you want to get a bit ahead, just a bit, the second hoop(Master’s). But unlike most other professions where the second hoop makes a big difference, here, if you don’t jump a third one(PhD) you might as well just stop at the first. The first two hoops only guarantee that you will be able to assist a chef(a PhD student or higher) with his side dishes, never the main course unless you prove yourself worthy. And never your own personal dish, unless you are some kind of guru. Proving your worth is really easier said than done. Think of the first time you ever really followed a recipe to cook a new dish, did it actually taste the way it was supposed to?...exactly. But then you probably just kept that failure to yourself and tried it again later. Unfortunately in a research kitchen, if you are only a cooking assistant, every mistake you make gets broadcasted to the chef you’re cooking for and the rest of the kitchen. Sometimes if you’re really unfortunate, the Head Chef too. It’s like trying a new recipe for a party and not knowing you screwed it up until everyone has tasted it. Then you go home wondering if you are still going to be allowed into the kitchen the next day, and if yes, what new way of screwing up a dish you were going to discover, because believe me for every step in the recipe numerous things could go wrong. Even the simplest instruction, like “Place the pan in the oven at 30 degrees Celsius”, the question is which oven? The oven you cleaned with bleach or the one you just used soap to clean? The direct heat oven? The indirect heat oven? The oven/stove combo or the plain oven? And believe me each one will produce a different result when it comes to tasting time (running a gel). So you might have mixed all the ingredients right, put just the right amount of salt, sugar, and even the baking powder but bam! You put it in the wrong oven, you might as well have been baking a stone for all they care cus your results will be pretty much useless.

So you can only imagine the presence of mind needed to avoid making a complete fool of oneself in the kitchen. Things like getting excited over say…getting an interview, or thinking about how much money you owe Uncle Sam, are bound to convert your cooking expedition into a comedy of errors, unless such emotions are locked up in some obscure corner of your mind the moment you hold that spoon in your hand. The only other alternative is to jump through enough hoops to enable you cook independently. That way if you screw something up, you just have to make sure you can do it again quickly before the head chef finds out, you don’t owe anyone else any explanations. The chances of the whole lab discovering you screwed up something? Slim to none, except of course your screw up entails blowing up the kitchen completely.

So everyday I go to work…even with the thousand things I have to keep track of outside work, I empty my mind and become just a cooking assistant. I add two teaspoons of salt when I’m asked to, not a grain more, not a grain less. I ask every obvious question possible because I’d rather look stupid to one person than to the entire lab and I read every recipe hundred times before starting anything. Unfortunately, this still doesn’t always guarantee the best tasting dish cus in the long run, the only thing that makes a difference is experience. It’s like making Fried-Rice with your grandma’s recipe and expecting it to taste just the way hers does. Needless to say, you might come close but never close enough…

PS: Refresh your memory by checking out my History 101 sidebar before the next post...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The few perks of an underfurnished apartment

(An ode to my favorite MasterCard Commercial)

Apartment Furnishings: My camping chair from freshman year, an old lazy boy recliner, a 27-inch TV that only has one channel but doubles well as an "entertainment center", the 12-inch functioning TV sitting on top of the 27-inch TV to bring it up to eye-level, my roommate's center rug from college, a "Bakers" shoe box that doubles as both a writing surface and dinning table, and last but not least, my "justification for higher education" wall poster: $100 (give or take depreciation or appreciation index)

Basic Cable + Internet from noted cable provider: $40 /month + hidden charges and the inconveniences of never getting to watch Nip/Tuck or Monday Night Football

EXTENDED Basic Cable+Internet from thesame cable provider: $100/month + more hidden charges, Nip/Tuck and Monday Night Football.

Getting Extended Basic Cable for the price of Basic Cable because the Cable Guy felt sorry for both you and the pathetic state of your apartment...PRICELESS!

For everything else...I stare at my poster and convince myself it's all going to be worth it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Can I get an AMEN? A Hallelujah? A thank-you JESUS?...

Just checked my email, I have an interview(in the midwest) in a month or so. The school did not even ask for a secondary application or a letter of recommendation!


Ok back to work, gotta stay calm so I don't screw something up again!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Aight so I finally got my baby back up and running after playing catch me if you can with the DHL delivery guy for three days. I literally had to stalk him on the streets of…well, ABBEYville to finally get my power cord from him, seeing as trying to be at home when he rolled by was proving impossible (see comments from last post for details of what happened). Thank GOD though cus I was beginning to suffer from some kind of blogger withdrawal syndrome. Anyways before I get back to the main story line…a little housekeeping:

It was pointed out to me that my website had occasional popups. I finally confirmed it while trying to access my site from my work computer, I probably never noticed it on mine because of my popup blocker. So after some investigation I realized it might be from the website that supports my polls. Right now I’m enjoying having them on here and getting a feel for what you are thinking. By the way, all y’all that think I still got below a 30 on my second MCATs, all I can say is “dang where is the love?” And those that thought I got above a 30, I like the way you think…you’ll find out the real scores soon enough. Anyways, so I have decided that even though the popups might make my website look a little tacky I’ll leave the polls on for now. You guys can activate your popup blockers too. But if it starts getting intolerable, holla at your girl and I’ll make necessary changes.

I’ll be back with more interesting stuff soon, for now, it’s off to adjust our TV antenna to get CW at its clearest for America’s Next Top Model Cycle 7, yeah baby! Hopefully this one is not as predictable as Nayeemah’s Cycle (4?), feel me? As you can tell we're still working on getting cable TV up in this 1930's joint. I'm just glad we're getting the important channels for this week if not, I would have been getting to know my neighbor's in a minute, at least for tonight!

Thursday, September 14, 2006


So my life this week has been about pumping out random essays on every topic under the sun for my applications. And yes, I confess to using the "poor-girl-from-third-world-country” theme more than once so far. What could a sister do? It’s really getting hard to find something interesting to write about. Anyways, so far I have spent a little more than 1500 dollars, submitted ten secondaries and trying to submit four more in the next few days. So by the end of this week that total will be more in the neighborhood of $2000. Let’s not even get into all the other profitable uses this money could have been put into. For one I know it could end my love-hate affair with the City Bus Transit in the blink of an eye. I am praying and hoping though, that someone will fall in love with my application soon and invite me for an interview stat!

My GRE tutoring sessions are also finally over, but as fate will have it, there was a little drama at the center my student took his exams so we’re trying to sort that out. It was a great experience though; he was not some young teenager that I had to chase around so he did all his homework and made my life very easy. Hopefully my next set of students are that way too. Hopefully. This next batch is a pair of high school students who need help in Biology. Yup, as you can see my little tutoring empire is spreading its roots farther. The new students wanted to start this week but I had to take a week off to get a bunch of these apps out the way. Another advantage of calling your own shots. If you’re one of those that is still contemplating whether or not you want to try it, all I can say is take a risk and don’t over think it. I made about 500 bucks, give or take (tax free) in a little more than a month and there’s already a new pair of students waiting. Unfortunately for me all the money is going to Uncle Sam, the initial grand plan was to save some or all of it. But what sense does it make to have a savings account when you’re in debt. All I can say is thank GOD for little mercies. Now unto a juicier and somewhat “grosser” story.

So I was not going to say anything about this, until I shared it with a few people and realized how hilarious it was. Like I said in my earlier post, I was in New York this weekend, actually New Jersey for a friend’s party…ok so it was a friend of a friend’s mom’s 50th birthday party. A bit confusing, but the take home lesson here is I was not invited, at least not directly. But the thought of passing up some Nigerian party food got me very agitated, lol and I figured I’d be doing myself more of a favor if I went than if I sat at home and questioned myself every time I had to warm up some boring rice and stew again. So your girl hopped on the train and headed down to Jersey. I considered myself a very hungry “well wisher” anyways so why not. The party was great but the food was even better. The best part of it was that no one there knew me. I must have been on that buffet line at least four times that night. I wasn’t trying to get any guys attention there either so I ignored all the random stares. Girls eat too darn it! They might call it greed but I call it “making hay while the sun shineth”. Cus the sun didn’t shine like this on my side of the east coast. There was also a little side mission I had to accomplish.

I had promised to bring my roommate some food, more like she told me not to set foot in the house without her share of some assorted meat and such from the party. So in between trying to satisfy myself, I had to think about feeding the “fam” back home. The best thing on the menu was the spinach soup (efo soup in my language). They hooked up the life out of this soup. Every type of meat conceivable was in there. Shrimp, smoked turkey, cow foot, beef, chicken and other protein sources I could not readily classify. Needless to say each of those four trips to the line yielded at least half a plate full of it. And two take away plates…again for the fam.

The trouble started the next morning when my stomach started making interesting sounds. In all my joy I had forgotten that every plate of efo soup consumed translated into a very unpleasant one-on-one with Shyts-r-us. So after a very intense session that morning, it was finally time to head back home.

On arrival in NY, while trying to walk down from 34th street to 42nd to catch my train home, an impromptu one-on-one was again called for. I had to look for the closest meeting place. Unfortunately most places had this “bathrooms only for customers” policy. I didn’t want anyone asking me any questions so I tried to hold up till I saw a Mickey Dees or Burger King. None in sight and about 4 more blocks till the station. I was not even going to think of using the bathroom at Grand Central cus almost a million people go through that station daily. I can only imagine what the bathrooms looked like. Closest thing was a Starbucks. Those people made so much money that they probably wouldn’t care if I borrowed their facilities without getting an Espresso…the last thing I needed anyways was anything dairy to compound the issue more. So I went into their only bathroom and ended up staying longer than I expected. The darn customers did not even let me do the deed in peace. People kept knocking. I kept yelling “One minute”, “be out in a few” and other polite versions of “leave me the hell alone”. If only my stomach understood that we kinda had to hurry things up before someone started peeing on themselves out there. It was still taking its time. After about 15 minutes I opened the door expecting to give the person waiting a quick apology…

There were like ten people in line giving me some mad attitude. Too many people to apologize to. What was I going to say to them anyways, they’d figure out what was going on as soon as they stepped in there and took a breath. I just gave them the “Yo! Stuff happens” look and felt their eyes boring into my back as I walked out. I kept praying no one would notice I did not buy anything, and that my skirt was not caught somewhere in my draws exposing my holier of holies to the world. I made it out safely. The only task left was to survive the x-hour train ride back home.

Luckily the rest of the trip was uneventful and to celebrate, guess what I had for lunch at work on Monday? Rice and more efo soup. I did the math it takes about 8 hours after consumption for the running stomach to set in(forgive me, I'm a scientist, we tend to observe trends). Enough time to be back in the comfort of my own home. And believe me it was worth it.

By the way check out the polls on my side bars, it's a good way for me to interact with you, even if you don't feel like leaving comments...

Monday, September 11, 2006


Mellonophobia. I was in the New York area this weekend and like all my other visits; I had to resist temptation after temptation to yield to my addictions: Forever21 and the hundred and one no name shoe stores on 34th street. But these were not the only battles I had in the big apple. At this point in my life, when I am in the process of investing thousands of dollars into a future career, one tends to wonder, what if I put in all this and I end up hating medicine? What if I am really supposed to be a lawyer or something completely different? What if, what if. If only I could get a little thumbs up or thumbs down from the supernatural. A little nudge on to the right path. For this of course the answer was easy. I could easily walk into one of the Original Miss Cleo type corners, pay some weird looking lady a small amount and let her tell me what was really in store for me. Don’t tell me you guys have never considered this? But assuming she tells you what really lies ahead, what fun will it be if you found out you were going to die in ten years, or you were never going to be successful no matter what you did? What will you live for when you already know it’s going to end up in nothing good? So since most of us really don’t know what lies ahead, once in a while we go through brief phases of Mellonophobia.

But the future always seems to work its self out. And even if the ending is not a happy one, you learn to live with your decision. Take the story of a good friend of mine. We’ll call him “the engineer”.

We graduated together a few months ago, he with a masters and me with a bachelors. After numerous interviews, he got an offer from a relatively small company that he really wasn’t too happy about. He felt he was underpaid and overqualified for the job. To make matters worse, it was in one of the most expensive cities in the state. What could a brother do? He accepted the offer and started work. Thing was the company was in the process of merging with another larger one so things were kind of wishy-washy. About 6 weeks into the job, his company found some obscure excuse and terminated his employment. Note they did not LAY HIM OFF, because that would have entailed them paying him a certain amount for him to fend for himself while he looked for another job. They FIRED him, straight up, no benefits, no nothing, just a smudge on his record. You can be sure my guy was mellonophobic in every sense of it at this point. Tried to sue but was told the company had a right to fire whoever, whenever. Just like that, he became an engineer, with a masters, making your lunch sandwiches. He started applying again, and more interviews came pouring in. Even after he told his interviewers the story, most of them sympathized with him rather than kick him out for his bad record. The VP of one of the companies actually told him about how he went through exactly the same thing on his first job. Now “the engineer” has more than one offer to choose from and at better locations than his previous. Last time I spoke to him, he told me the best thing that ever happened to him was getting fired. You don’t hear that often now, do you?

So this one had a happy ending. This next one left me with mixed feelings. It’s about a lady that I have become close to over the years. We’ll call her “Aunty Dearest”

Back in her 20's (probably in the mid to late 1970's) her fiancée (Uncle Ola) left Nigeria to come to the United States for school. There was no email then and international phone calls were pretty expensive, in case you were wondering :) She worked in a small company as a typist back then and they both looked forward to receiving each other’s letters. But of course the vultures would not let Aunty Dearest be. Numerous guys from all works of life tried to win her over despite the fact she boldly announced to them she was engaged. They laughed at her every time she told them Uncle Ola was overseas. They told her he dumped her the minute he stepped foot in the US. With good reason too. There were numerous examples of people that had abandoned their partners when they left the country. But she held on. One particularly persistent one was this very successful business man. He promised her the world, a house of her own, a benz, the whole nine yards. But she knew her heart was not there. Uncle Ola was a student and could not give her all these things but that was who she wanted. The Hollywood version of this story would end up with her marrying Uncle Ola, them living happily ever after and even becoming richer than the business man. But this is the real world, and aint no fairy tales here.

“Aunty Dearest” and “Uncle Ola” did get married, had beautiful children but have never been what you will consider wealthy. And I mean they’ve had some REALLY rough patches. I wonder if sometimes she thinks about what would have happened if she had married her business man. Of course she could have grown to love him and at the same time never worry about money. But if she had married him, there would also be times she would wonder if she might have been better of with “Uncle Ola”. A Perfect Catch 22.

So whether or not you are feeling a bit mellonophobic today, scared to fly because of the risk of never making it back to land, scared to invest in those stocks because you have no clue if there’s going to be another Great Depression tomorrow, scared because you have some terminal disease and you are not sure if tomorrow will be D-day, or just scared of life’s surprises, try to learn from your past failures, learn to accept the consequences of the decisions you make, hold on to what/who you believe in and let go of the things you have no control over. Most of all think of your life as an interesting story and look forward to the next chapter tomorrow will bring. Don’t let Miss Cleo kill the surprise.

Easier said than done…I’m working on it too. Meanwhile, back to them applications.

OK so don’t go using Mellonophobia in your essays cus I just made it up, but it’s not completely meaningless. “Mellon” is the Greek word for “future” and of course “phobia” means “fear”…Mellonophobia, Fear of the Future.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Joke's on me!

Boss to audience during acknowledgements after a presentation:
"....I'd like to thank "his Boss" for her support, "ABBEY" for her excellent technical assistance, the rest of the lab....etc"

ABBEY to Boss after presentation:
"Nice presentation, don't really know about the 'EXCELLENT technical assistance' part... "

Boss to ABBEY:
"I know right? I was just trying to encourage you"

daaannnnnggggg! LOL.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Apartment Blues (II)

So I guess to test the elevator’s capacity, I have to find it first…

Early Saturday morning, in the middle of the leftovers of Ernesto, I decided to walk down and actually go see the apartment for myself. I let myself in by obediently “bringing the PROXIreader within close PROXImity of the magnetic reader”, could hear Ms.Manager’s voice ringing in my ears. The lobby looked beautiful. ANTIQUE chairs and pictures all around. My soon-to-be apartment was on the fifth floor and following the paper map tour I was given, I knew the elevator was next to the stairs. I saw the stairs but no elevator. I went back again and looked for the elevator. Nothing. In the modern world when you think elevator, you think of a flat, usually stainless steel door possibly with a split along the middle, hard to miss. But for some reason I wasn’t spotting it. Since when did an elevator become a needle in a hay stack? Maybe I was on the wrong side of the building, but there was no other side. All I saw was this big door, looked like the door to some kind of store room or something. Couldn’t be it. I worked around again, *Ok, think outside the box* by elimination, the only thing it could be was that door. So I went and tried to open it. No luck. Until I saw a little button next to it. Oh my goodness! This is the elevator, and its entrance is a wooden door, this can’t be good. I pushed the button and waited to hear beeps. Again nothing.

I eventually heard the sound of a bunch of metal rubbing against each other. And finally a tiny lit up room came into view. At this point the door clicked and I tried to open it. This time it obeyed. There before my eyes was another mesh gate that I had to open. I thought I was in a movie for a second, one of those movies based in the 1930’s. The elevator was one of those antique ones that I had only seen in movies, most of these kind of elevators were only used as freight elevators now(can’t seem to find a pic). Its inside was painted with fishes on a blue background. Not some professional masterpiece. It looked like they gathered a bunch of twelve-year olds to paint it as a last minute science/art project. It was until my fifth or so ride in it that I finally figured out they were trying to create the illusion of going under water while in the elevator. Perhaps to accommodate its more claustrophobic riders, cus the darn thing felt like a cage. Good try though, but I still felt like a gladiator traveling in his cage to God-knows-what up above.

I finally made it up, no angry lions or blood thirsty Romans waiting to watch a fatal battle. Great, but at this point I was dreading what the apartment itself would look like. I held my breath as I swung the door open...hardwood floors. Why are these East Coasters always so fascinated by wooden floors? Personally I think they’re too much work to maintain. I’ll rather do carpet that I can vacuum when necessary. On a more approving note, the bedrooms and living room looked pretty decent. Nice and spacious with one of those old school metal column heaters on the wall. Next stop the kitchen.

This was the biggest shocker of all. It was smaller than anything else in the rest of the apartment, in fact, than any kitchen I had ever seen. Apparently, back when the building was constructed, people did not feel that counter tops were a necessity. How was I supposed to throw down when there was no counter top or surface to create any masterpiece? So all that was in there was an old sink, a refrigerator, stove and some dingy cupboards. These cupboards were made of some rusty metal that looked like you might catch something from just opening them. The only relatively modern thing in there were the refrigerator and stove, so we’re going to try working with those until the bank accounts give us the green light to go shopping for tables and such.

The bathroom too had the same general theme, old tub, old sink etc. The toilet has an amazingly low water pressure that doesn’t look like it can handle a rough bout of constipation. At least thank GOD all utilities are included so if you have to try three or four times to bury the deed, water bills won’t be going off the charts.

And that ladies and gentlement is my home for the next year or so, maybe longer if I get into med school here


When it eventually came time to move, you can trust we did not break our backs trying to carry stuff up a million stairs, apparently the tons of other people moving in were not trying to do this either so I did not feel too bad. The elevator thankfully was on top of the little game it had. Too bad Ms.Manager’s ten minute lecture was going to be of no use. It was while moving that I met one of my neighbors.

He advised us not to look at the building as being old, but rather as it having “character”. S-S-Suuuuure! Like I said earlier not many things live up to their hype, and even trying to play mind games with oneself is not helping this one. Our other neighbors(the roaches) have also been coming out one-by-one for their fatal meet-and-greet sessions with us. I guess with time I might eventually start to notice this “character” our friend talks about. Till then, its off to to take a 1930's style shower, then down the time machine…errr…elevator, out of here and back to the future(work)!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Apartment Blues (I)

There’s a certain flexibility that the unknown brings. It leaves you and your imagination the luxury of creating whatever you want out of certain stimuli. A little insight is all you need and the rest of the picture is filled in by the brain. Even the good Lord understood this fact and that was why he kept describing heaven to his disciples. A picture is worth a thousand words. He could have easily taken them there to see for themselves, and save Himself long-winded parables, but the hype is what makes you long for it more. Unfortunately though, unlike the wait for heaven, this “hype” is sometimes misleading.

A more canal example - a guy will prefer to see a lady in a low cut top and some tight jeans rather than the same lady running around buck-wild “umfufu” style. The latter denies their brain the opportunity to imagine, to create the best possible picture of what lies beneath. Because let’s face it, their imagination usually captures the idealistic sag-and-stretch-mark-free image which reality, more often than not, denies them. This weekend for me was a reminder that only heaven, well and LeBron James, might ever live up to and surpass their hype, all other things will fall varying levels below. One of those other things…My New Apartment.

The apartment I subleased during the summer was a big disappointment to say the least. The poor thing has been standing there for over a hundred years and no one seemed to have cared enough to do a renovation. Except of the plumbing system. Everything else looked like it was in its original condition. The bath tub had a huge window beside it, which if care was not taken, gave passers by unadulterated views of the female anatomy (soapified edition). Perhaps more suiting for a time when the pervert to normal human ratio was significantly lower. This same window was framed with wood. Any body with common sense will know that wood, water and heat produces nothing good. There was really no telling what member of the fungal world you will find growing on there every morning. We (my roommate and I) also happened to share the apartment with a family of mice, who despite all our efforts, felt they had as much right to the apartment as we did.

So you can imagine my joy when it finally came time to move out. I had passed by my new apartment daily all through out the summer because it was only a few blocks from mine. My friend (smart one) whom I was supposed to move in with had picked it out for us way before I even arrived in town. Unfortunately I never got a chance to check it out for myself. It looked like a modern apartment complex from the outside though. Nice security system, beautiful lights here and there. Modern, that was all I cared about.

I got the key from the Apartment Manager’s office somewhere on the other side of town. Unfortunately, this came with a forty minute lecture from a very sarcastic Ms. Manager. I usually appreciate sarcasm, except when it entails converting the 15 min break I sneaked off work to an hour long one. There goes my undercover operation. The key points of her lecture were

- The PROXIreader – Care and Uses: Turned out to be some card for building access that apparently could not be stored anywhere else but one’s wallet as the ever so fragile thingy could break if subjected to the strain of a key chain. She failed to mention if the user was responsible for replacing it if such damage occurred. But from the “it’s-for-your-own-good” look in her eye, I was sure there was a clause stating exactly that somewhere in the ten page lease.

- The Stress of Moving – Capturing it before it Captures you: Drink a lot of water, lift with your legs and not your back, blah blah blah. Since when did apartment management care so much about their tenants? They probably just wanted to make sure you were healthy enough to get back to work immediately after moving so there will be no excuses for a late rent payment. Sorry but I’m a bit cynical.

- Moving Heavy Furniture- Tips for working with an elevator of LIMITED capacity: Here she went on for about ten minutes about how it only made LOGICAL sense to carry furniture and other heavy things via the stairs and not the elevator. At this point I just nodded, all I wanted her to do was get done so I could get on my merry way. I could mentally see myself and some poor guy trying to haul a mattress and the boxed pieces of my life over five flights of stairs…not so logical Ms.Manager, not so logical. We’ll just have to see what exactly LIMITED really meant…