Friday Free for all #42: Bizarre, fan base, what, question?

The next in an ongoing series in which I answer random questions generated by a website, although it’s been on hiatus since the Christmas Countdown began. Here, I resume with this week’s questions. Feel free to give your own answers in the comments.

Who is the most bizarre person you’ve met?

This hands down has to be one of my post-college co-workers/roommates who I shall refer to here as Strauss in order to protect… oh, who knows what?  We first met at my first out-of-college office job, and hit it off pretty well for starters.

He was a few years older, recently arrived from the Midwest with his much younger fiancée — IIRC, he was 28 and she was 21. He definitely had a very outgoing and strong personality, and I could best describe him as an old hippy soul trapped in a much more modern body.

He also had no concept of boundaries, but I was too young and naïve to see how that could be a problem.

Of course, it didn’t help that I had a massive but unstated crush on him, Anyway, I wound up spending a lot of time outside of work with the two of them, mostly getting stoned off our asses and having these wild, recursive conversations that, honestly, I really enjoyed.

When circumstances at the apartment I’d been living in changed — i.e. my two roommates abruptly announced they were moving out — it became necessary to find a new place. This coincided with both Strauss and fiancée and another work friend also needing a place, so the four of us wound up renting a c. 1919 house together in Van Nuys.

Well, house and guest house, with a tiny garage and yard. And, for some reason, I took the back bedroom in the front house, while Strauss and fiancée took the front bedroom. Our older work friend, let’s call him Darren, took the entire guest house to himself, which never really made sense.

And… when you just know someone from work or hanging out, you know an entirely different person than one you wind up living with. Long story short, Strauss was a total trip and a half. He had real problems keeping his clothes on, for one thing, which I wouldn’t have minded except that it felt like part of that was just gay-baiting me, never mind that my attraction to him was dead by this point.

He was also addicted to, well, everything, whether it was weed, coke, alcohol, LSD, and so on. Basically, if it were available, he’d do all of it, and there were many an afternoon turned evening when I’d hear Fiancée plaintively reply to him packing yet another bowl, “Strauss, we can’t possibly get any higher.”

Then there was the time I walked out into the living room late at night to get some water from the kitchen and I found him hunched over the toaster, which he’d plugged in and turned on, set sideways on shag carpet no less, in order to snort coke off of it.

Oh yeah — I don’t think either of them ever washed a dish or utensil. The used plates just piled up in their bedroom, next to the un-emptied ashtrays. While Fiancée was clearly the more mature of the two of them, I don’t know why she put up with him.

In any case, they both abruptly moved out after a bizarre scene at a party in which he sort of sexually harassed me by standing in front of me and planting both of my hands on his ass, and going on a weird, “You want that, don’t you?” monologue that just came across as a homophobic taunt.

This led to me reacting in a rare burst of aggression, so I twisted his arm behind his back and brought him to the floor. The next day, the two of them just packed up and left with no notice. Fortunately, this was right after another friend of Darren’s and mine was looking to move because the cousin he lived with had burned a hole in the kitchen counter of their apartment by leaving the toaster oven on when he went to work.

Oh, finally, it wasn’t until years later that Darren told me that he used to see Strauss standing in the back yard in the very early morning hours, variously staring at his window and mine. I have no idea what was up with that.

Which celebrity or band has the worst fan base?

Easy. The celebrity who shall be nameless who is vacating the White House on January 20. Every last one of his fans is toxic as hell.

What makes you say “What was I thinking?” when you look back on your life?

What was I thinking when I went to an expensive, private Catholic university to go to film school when I could have, instead, spent a lot less by going to UCLA or CSUN, staying in touch with a lot of my high school peeps, and majoring in something that would have given me a secure financial base from which to then finance my artistic ambitions?

If I’d gone the public route, I might have even been able to afford to go on to a Masters or Doctorate, which meant a lot more then than they do now. And if I’d been smart, I would have majored in computer science, because it was exactly the right time — and I definitely had interest in the subject.

Barring that, I could have held my nose and done marketing, or majored in PoliSci or History and gotten my Real Estate license at the same time.

And all the while, I could have done acting or writing on the side or as a minor because, as I look back on it, everything I learned about writing came, for free, from an amazing mentor I met long after college anyway.

What question would you most like to know the answer to?

Probably another no-brainer, but it’s this: Are there other advanced and sentient civilizations out there in the universe? If so, how many, and where? And how advanced?

And if there aren’t any at this moment, how many have there been that are just so ancient that they expired long before we rose? Or how many are there yet to be who are, at this moment, at the point we were hundreds of thousands of years ago?

And if there happen to be any at approximately the same stage we are give or take 500 years (and/or 25 generations) in either direction… where are they and how many lightyears away are they?

And if they’re 500 years/25 generations ahead of us but multiple lightyears away, how close are they to developing a superluminal way to get to or communicate with us quickly?

Okay, that’s not one question. Fuck it. It’s field of questions. A smorgasbord. But enjoy the meal, because every bite of it is important.

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