I just never left after that.

Later Annie would go on to tell me that she was really nervous about living with me. I could understand why she would have been a little weirded out by having a dude she’d just met on craigslist move into her home.To this day, however, I don’t think we’ve had an argument.

This is Andy, He was always pouring drinks on Thirsty Thursdays.

At first we didn’t quite know what to talk about with each other. She was studying science stuff, I was studying art stuff. It wasn’t until we went down to the bar for Thirsty Thursday that we really started to get to know each other. Every Thursday the Eastside Tavern would have $2.50 pints, any microbrew. Sometime there would be a cover, but it was never more than $5 and the bands they had inside were usually pretty awesome. The lighting was dim, but warm. The wood bar to the right stretched along to where room opened up and there were pool tables and a ping pong table. When a band played though the pool tables were covered up and the ping pong table was folded up and put away. One those nights Annie and I would drink until we were silly and then dive into the crowd and I’d shed my shoes and blacken my feet on the sticky floor and sweat through my clothes as we danced and drank and drank and danced.

Whoever was less tipsy would end up driving home which was probably a horrible idea every time we did it and we’d say so the next day, then wait until the next week and do it again. Sometimes we’d catch the drunk bus back to campus and walk the trail to the organic farm and walk the road until we got home. We’d bitch and tease each other when we got back home Annie always wanted to have a nightcap so we’d sit up and listen to music or try and watch Herald and Mod but I’d always fall asleep. I still haven’t actually watched the whole thing.

The first time she asked me if I wanted to cuddle I was a little surprised. It was strictly an invitation to snuggle, though. That was the long and short of it. She asked so timidly and mild.

I was brushing my teeth and swaying in that drunk way that people do and she was standing her the doorway and said, “Would you want to cuddle just to be close to someone as you fall asleep.”

I don’t really remember how I responded but it was a yes.

And that was as far as it went.

We’d cuddle up in bed together, big spoon, little spoon and fall asleep together and be great friends and the next morning we’d make breakfast or one of us would have class early and slip out of bed and we’d see each other later.

This was how things went for a while.

Annie had horrible allergic reactions to everything. She had an epipen in the kitchen and she carried one with her in case she got close to walnuts. If she ate something that had been put on a plate that had once had walnuts on it and hadn’t been washed well, she’d go into anaphylactic shock. I called it Anniephylactic shock.



Olympia WA, on a rare cloudless day.

Jet lagged and exhausted (I had barely slept on the plane at all) I arrived on the pickup platform and found my dad waiting there. It had been six months, but we’d talked quite a bit over skype and whatnot while I was traveling.

We loaded my by stuff into his car and then headed south down to Olympia.

It might seem weird but this was 2008, which doesn’t feel all the long ago. But in 2008 the Iphone was a new thing, I didn’t even have a cellphone of any kind, not even 3G devices were still rare or for people who had more money than I did, and so there was no way for me to call this girl I had never met who I might be living with.

We drove down to The Evergreen State college, but it was a sunday so the library wasn’t open. I was still able to pick up a wifi signal and call her phone over skype. Unfortunately she didn’t pick up and so after a couple tries we just got back in the car and headed home.

I at least had one week to sort things out, as it was spring break.

A day later I got an email from Annie that explained how she had lost her phone and so that was why she hadn’t answered. She would have a new phone soon and we agreed to meet the day before classes started. I told her if it didn’t work out I could always just kip with a friend until I find a different place. I met her at a Cafe Vita in downtown Olympia–you should never invite a someone from craigslist to your home.

I walked in and surveyed the people in the cafe. I think she had said in her emails she had red hair because I remember looking for that. She also had freckles and when I said, “Annie?” and we shook hands I noticed her skin seemed thinner than most peoples.

I thought I had seen her around before but I couldn’t be completely sure.

We hung out and just talked here and there about travels. She had just gotten back from Hawaii hitchhiking around and working on farms.  We talk about what classes we were taking and what we were interested in studying as a whole. Then it came around to the place in question. It was a two bedroom, one bathroom, smallish place. I’d never lived with a girl before. She’d never lived with a guy before. I was totally willing to try it out and she seemed ambivalent but she was the one that said, “So would you like to see the place?”

I told her I would.

I followed her back to the place which was tucked back in the woods behind the organic farm, near campus. It was an apartment over a garage and right next door was the landlords, Carmen and Steve. The place was beautiful and clean. I told her it looked great. We went next door and spoke with Carmen and Steve. They looked at me a bit like–are you sure about this guy? But we signed the lease and I just never met. I was living with someone, suddenly, I hadn’t ever met and who I didn’t know. But that would change.



Back then I had hair that hung down well past my shoulders. I’d tie it back in a ponytail. Apparently that didn’t change how the Sea-Tac security felt about me once I landed in Seattle. No sooner had a lifted my bag off the conveyer belt did a woman in uniform ask me to “come this way please.”

Random my ass.

I shouldn’t have written down that I had gone to the Netherlands on my little customs form. I should have left it at Germany, UK, Spain and Italy, because that’s where I had told my school I was going. Instead I had gone all over. Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, Scotland, and Portugal were added to the list. After bumping into some infuriating French people in Amsterdam I had concluded that France could wait.

Back in Seattle the lady lead me over to the “Random” back search line. It had been very difficult to fit everything in my bag, as I only had one and I’d picked up some things when I was in Europe as souvenirs, naturally. The woman then proceeded to take everything I had in my bag and shake it out and go through the pockets and then toss it to the side.

Once everything from every pocket had been strewn all over the table she said,

“Alright. You can put everything back now,” as if she was disappointed she hadn’t found something wrong with my stuff.

I wasn’t an idiot. I wasn’t going bring back a bunch of pot or mushrooms or something like that. It took me a long time to pack everything back into my bag. The whole while the woman was dismantling someone elses carefully packed bag and tossing the things in my direction, glancing at me from time to time as if it were my fault my stuff had been unpacked.

I wondered if she’d EVER found anything dangerous. Probably not. Here she was, thinking she was protecting the USA from terrorists, but really what she was doing was invading normal peoples privacy. The paradox of the false positive strikes again.

For those of you who don’t know what the paradox of the false positive is there is a wonderful book called “Little Brother,” by Cory Doctorow, that explores that issue. It’s a YA book, but blew my mind even when I was in my early twenties. For you who don’t want to take the time to read that book I’ll try to explain the false positive paradox here.

When you’re conducting a search for something that’s very very rare, lets say, since I was just searched in an airport, a terrorist, the instrument with which you search needs to be very precise. New York City is a city of 8.4 million people. In New York City there are probably three or four terrorists at any given time. If you have a instrument, or proceeding that is really good at catching terrorists, lets say 99% effective that means 1 person out of 100 will be singled out as a terrorist when they actually aren’t. In a city of 8.4 million people that means this test would find. This means the test would tell the tester there are 84,000 terrorists in New York City. Despite have a test that tells the truth 99% of the time the test is actually inaccurate to a startling degree. The sad thing is, however, that most procedures to find terrorists aren’t even close to 99% effective. Their more like 60% or 40% because, really? What does a terrorist look like?