If you have a roommate, you should probably keep your pants on. Even if you think your roommate is gone for the day -- all the way in Orange County, which is practically another planet. Even if you've finished a five-mile run, and your pants are sweat-soaked, and you've just peed, and you're about to hop in the shower, which is running. So, really, what's the point of putting your pants back on while you pluck your eyebrows with the bathroom door wide open?
The point is that your roommate might return unexpectedly -- with your weekend house guest in tow -- and for a split second things will seem normal because you're still wearing a tank top, but then he'll glance down and look! No pants! Someone will say "Oh my god." Front door and bathroom door will slam in awkward unison.
I've known Lei since we were teenagers. We went to high schools on opposite sides of town, but we'd run into each other at Food Not Bombs feedings (which, at least in Tempe, AZ in 1996, was more about having a picnic in the park than it was about feeding the homeless). Lei didn't talk much at FNB meetings. He was the bespectacled Asian kid who showed up and doled out scoops of couscous to the gutter punks, kept his mouth shut, and then disappeared as mysteriously as he came. He seemed like a weirdo, and I vowed to make him my friend. I didn't really succeed until after he'd moved to Berkeley for college and I started writing him letters. Eventually, I'd make frequent trips to the Bay Area, and we'd hang non-stop in Phoenix when he'd come home for the summer and holidays.
We lived together during the two years we were in grad school, both at U.C.L.A. getting our master's in information science. And all these years, he'd never seen my beaver. So is our friendship fundamentally changed? No, of course not, but I do think it's funny considering our old pact. When we were in our early 20s, we agreed that if we were both single at 30 (or was it 31? or 32?), that we'd marry each other. And here we are -- around the designated age, living together again -- and Lei catches a glimpse of my ladyparts and we're both horror-stricken. So, marriage? Seems laughable, but I should point out that he's become my emergency contact for every piece of paperwork I fill out these days. Maybe we'll just wind up common law.