I got a job at the Ramada Inn as a desk clerk; the system equipment and processes are exactly the same as at the Schenectady Ramada. I’m hoping to be promoted to a position in the sales office sometime soon.  While I may be a great desk clerk, I don’t want to do it forever. The guy working behind the desk when I applied looked to be about sixty, not the long-term future I envision for myself.

We met the married undergraduate couple who live in the apartment above ours and are the source of incessant loud noise and thumping on our ceiling; they blast the music, party with friends, fight, and have porn-loud sex. Despite being noisy neighbors, they were both pretty cool when we met. I wish I hadn’t opened my mouth and had just let Lou do all the talking instead.  We were chatting about recently getting married, and I told them what I thought was a funny story about Lou getting a black eye at his bachelor party, and that we were lucky it faded before our wedding day. I had no idea that it would upset Lou, but as soon as we were alone, his eyes darkened and somehow became smaller as his brow furrowed, shrinking his extra-large forehead, and making it crystal clear he was pissed. I just don’t get it. Lou had laughed it off with his fraternity brothers, my family, and me. How is it suddenly a shameful humiliating secret that he thinks I exposed to purposefully embarrass him? Apparently, I suddenly don’t have a clue what is appropriate in general conversations. That’s bullsh*t, but I certainly won’t retell that story again.

Anyway, the people at work are nice, and their soft southern accent is calming in itself.  The hotel is just a couple miles from Duke, an easy commute on bicycle.  There is one really long, steep hill on the ride home. My legs give out about halfway up and I have to walk the bike a bit. Each day, I try to make it a bit farther pedaling up the hill.

Lou has an ad in the paper for handyman work, so he should be getting some income from that.  We are also both working for the on-campus housing department.  I close the pool at another university apartment complex each night and do basic maintenance, just as I did as a lifeguard at Ramada.  We also share duties with another couple to cover lockout service, which means that every other night, we are on call to help out anyone in the apartment complexes who has a simple problem, such as forgotten keys, backed up toilet, or locked out of bedroom. It’s a bitch to go out in the middle of the night to unplug a toilet after working until 11pm at the hotel, but the best thing is that for both these jobs, we have access to a station wagon.  I can go shopping with a car sometimes, instead of balancing a grocery bag on the bike on the way home from work.

All and all, things are fine. This campus is absolutely beautiful; the gardens are amazing, and the architecture is incredible.


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