I’d been living in the dorms on base for a while, despite the difficulty in getting my key. They changed dorm policy in my 3rd year, and you could actually have a room to yourself, if you were of sufficient rank. This was a pretty monumental change, though you still had to share your bathroom with another airman, whose room connected yours via said pissatorium and minishower. Still, it reduced the number of possible Athlete’s Foot or accidental-Clap-from-the-toilet-seat vectors by half, so with a full can of Lysol it made things much easier to live with.
Dorm life was fairly interesting, and anyone who has ever served in the military or gone to college can attest to the joys of living with the same square footage we allot convicted felons. That room, like so many, would have countless tales to tell if its walls could talk.
After the rearrangements of personnel, I discovered that my across-the-bathroom-mate was fairly quiet. He had dark skin, a white stripe in his hair, and an islander accent. Not that I heard it often, as we just didn’t talk much. This was fine by me, so it just wasn’t an issue. Or so I thought.
In those days, I would milk every drop of sleep out of the morning that I possibly could, scraping the proverbial plate like Mama Cass at a Jenny Craig convention. My snooze button had a groove worn in it from overuse. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that my neighbor was an early riser, up at 5 am every morning.
This would have been fine, except for one horrible, dreadful realization. He couldn’t sing.
That may not sound like such a problem, except for one massive downside. He made the attempt. Every morning, without fail. At 5 am. As I was awakened every morning to the heavily accented, deep baritone voice of the chronically tone deaf delivered fortissimo, I began to understand a deeper and more personal definition of the concept of Hell. Dante didn’t have to deal with this shit, just a bunch of fire.
That wasn’t actually the worst part of it, though. The worst bit was his song selection. The man had a “best of Whitney Houston” CD, which he would play and sing along with religiously of a morning, choosing not to make a “joyous noise unto the lord”, but rather to imitate Vogon Poetry: The Musical. For all of my days, I will be able to hear his voice in my head, singing “I’m Every Woman” or “I Want To Run To Yooooooou” in my very own Post Shower Stress Disorder. It was a very strange song choice for Crack-of-Dawn, Cockcrowing Karaoke Caterwaul, one I’d expect from an anchor clanker before an airman, but hey…it takes all kinds.
I toyed with the idea of bringing his activity to the attention of his commanding officer. Not for any punitive reason, but as a possible psychological weapon to induce fucking terror in the hearts of our enemies. It was, to say the least, one of the best days of my military career when he transferred to another base, taking Whitney with him. I wondered if some other poor bastard was exposed to his auditory terrorism, but ultimately, I was just glad to be free from the vocal calamity.
Still, this was a better room mate situation than many. It beat the hell out of the roomie that moved in for a week to investigate me. But that’s another story.