I write this from a basement of a semi-detached two-story house in a middle-to-upper class residential neighborhood. The floor is carpeted. Each piece of furniture is from the 1970s. Next to me are a set of stairs that lead directly up to the rest of the house, where a middle-aged couple sit down for dinner. I have just graduated university. I’m twenty-three years old. These parents, however, are not mine. Instead of moving into my own parents’ basement, the basement where I spent my teenage years, I’ve opted to move into my friend’s parents’ basement. For me, this distinction represents the remaining shreds of my dignity.
My parents would have taken me back, of course. “The economy” this and “we miss you” that. Instead, I opted to pay rent here – a meager $200 – in order to feign financial independence. It doesn’t matter that they have to come down here to do their laundry. It doesn’t matter that I have to sneak into my room late at night for fear of waking them. I am still my own man.
It seems fitting, really. This sort of halfway-make-believe-mature-bullshitty move is perfectly representative of the rest of my current existence. I don’t have a job, per se. But I make enough money “writing online” to feed myself (chicken thigh, not breast), clothe myself (H&M, not Banana Republic) and pay rent (a dusty basement, not an “apartment”) – and besides, I’m working on my, uh, TV writing career. I also don’t have to get up before eleven, and I always shit at home.
Similarly, I’m not totally a college kid anymore. I mean, I’m obviously not technically one, but spiritually, even. I don’t really get shitfaced on weekdays much. And I can’t even remember the last time I shotgunned a beer (that wasn’t a special occasion, anyway). I even workout, so long as you consider doing pull-ups on the shower pipe in the bathroom a workout, which I do, so it is. I was going to get a gym membership, but then I’d be the guy with a gym membership, and nobody wants to be that guy at 23, right? Right?
It’s no different than purgatory. A limbo between my youth and adulthood. And yet, unlike purgatory, I’m quite content here. Out of school, and without real work, I have the least amount of responsibilities I’ve ever had. For all intents and purposes, I’m effectively dead. So much so, that I wonder if I really were to die down here, how long would it take for someone to notice? Unfortunately, I think the stench of my corpse would be the signal to trigger it. These are the sorts of thoughts one has in their friend’s parents’ basement.
I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to something down here. Or maybe it’s asbestos. All I know is that I just spelled asbestos correctly on the first try, and if that isn’t a sign of adulthood, I don’t know what is.
Probably a real apartment, I guess.
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