While working and listening to my iPod, Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” came up in shuffle mode. A wave of nostalgia washed over me as I thought of where I first heard the song. When I moved to University of California Riverside in January 1990, my first roommate in the dorm was a pre-med student. I don’t even remember his name. He had a stereo and a collection of CDs, one of which was Tracy Chapman’s eponymous debut album.
Unfortunately, introducing me to this new artist was one of the few positive things about my relationship with this roommate. He was in a fraternity and had a drinking problem, coming home very late and very loud time and time again. It got to the point where his fraternity brothers actually apologized to me one night when they had to carry him into the room at three in the morning. They said they were trying to get him to shape up.
On top of it, this roommate had a habit of bringing his girlfriends over and they’d fool around in bed while I was (trying to) sleep on the other side of the room.
After trying to work things out with him, I eventually complained to the residence hall advisor and at the end of that quarter, he was kicked out of the dorm. There are lots of other things I recall from those days. While some were quite good and others were a bit of a pain, they all form kind of a neutral cloud of memories.
At least I found out about Tracy Chapman.