- A flightless New Zealand bird
- A New Zealander, especially a solider or a member of a national sports team
- A fruit
- A subtle torture device for your freshman year roommate
My freshman year, I wanted the full college experience - walking across the quad, "studying in the library," attending sporting events. And more than anything I wanted a roommate. We'd borrow each other's clothes, braid each other's hair - even though mine was short - trade gossip. It was going to be great.
My first roommate moved out after approximately 37 hours of living together. I came back after a full day of freshman orientation to find her side of the room bare. I ran downstairs to my RA, "Alec! Alec! My roommate's gone!" "Jenn, are you drunk?" was Alec's response. I brought him upstairs to the scene of the crime. "Damn," he said, "she's really gone. Guess you have the place to yourself."
But I didn't want the place to myself. I wanted a roommate.
I approached the Dean of Students. After a brief meeting she said, "You seem nice, I bet you could live with anyone.” That should have been a red flag. But I was undeterred. I wanted the full freshman year experience! “Oh, absolutely!” I said. And then she paired me with Rebecca (names have been changed to protect the innocent).
Rebecca was… odd. Weighing hardly more than 90 pounds she was so small that when I entered the room I could never be sure if she was hiding in her bed or not. I would tiptoe over to her side of the room and gently push the rumbled covers to determine if my new roommate was home.
That would have been fine but Rebecca had a strange habit. She would take handfuls of kiwis from the dining hall, bring them back to the room, slice them in half, then leave the newly cut fruit on the windowsill. There were rows upon rows of decaying fruit carcasses overlooking the quad below. It was disgusting.
Eventually, not surprisingly, they began to draw flies. One day I had enough. I scooped up their putrid rinds and threw them into the trash. When Rebecca returned to the room she surveyed the sill in horror. “What have you done?!?” she exclaimed “I needed those!”
After then we declared a truce. She could continue to cut kiwis in half and leave them rotting in the window but she had to throw them out before they drew fruit flies. Seemed fair enough. Eventually we settled into a pattern – as all roommates do. “Saw a fly today,” I’d say. “Thanks Jenn,” she’d say. And out would go the recent kiwi crop. It wasn’t exactly sharing clothes or braiding hair, but it worked.
At the end of the year we parted ways. After that I got a dorm room to myself for the next 3 years. I guess the Dean of Students figured I had earned it.
But not a Sunday brunch goes by that I don’t think of Rebecca. As the waiter sets down my omelet and fruit salad I see their little green faces peeking through the strawberries and cantaloupe. It still sends a shiver down my spine.