Thursday, June 18, 2009

Move Over, Li'l Random, There's a New "Grey Man" In Town!

At the beginning of May, another poor soul found himself subjected to the psychological torture that is being my roommate. I learned pretty early on that TopGun shares Li'l Random's desire to be the Grey Man and fade into the background; so, naturally, I'm doing a special spotlight post all about him.

When I moved into Shack-Fu's house last November, the arrangement was that after he finished the academy and moved out, I would search for someone to rent out the extra room, a process I wasn't really looking forward to. So, when Shack-Fu called me to say that a friend of his was going to be moving to the area and needed a place to live, I was more than happy accept the excuse to avoid the roommate interview process for a bit longer. I was a bit leery about having someone I'd never met move in; I figured that the Shack-Fu Seal of Approval meant he'd be a stand-up guy, but that didn't necessarily mean that our personalities would mesh well. After all, when I asked Shack about my future roomie, he told me "he reminds me a lot of you, actually," and, well, let's face it: historically I have not always been my favorite person -- luckily, while TopGun and I have discovered some similarities, none have been of the overly-neurotic nature.

One personality trait that we discovered in common on his first night in town was that we are both people who don't do so well being thrust into new groups of people, and both tend to keep to ourselves in the beginning until we get a good sense of the group. Being cognizant of that, I tried hard to be a bit more outgoing in our initial conversations, in order to overcome the awkward zone. Luckily, we found our own ice breaking commonality pretty easily -- swapping Shack-Fu stories. And while that definitely opened up avenues of conversation, I think our burgeoning friendship really began to gel when Shack-Fu came back into town for a week. TopGun and I had been getting along pretty well, but I think the presence of our mutual friend made us both a little more comfortable letting our true selves show, and I quickly discovered another common bond: the bond of smartassery. Granted, thanks to his generally laid-back persona, TopGun's brand of smartass behavior is a bit more dry and deadpan than what I've grown accustomed to after the past few years of hanging out with The Lovable PigPen and Cap'n Peanut, but as they say, variety is the spice of life.

However, while we do have some traits in common, there are also some pretty big differences. First of all there's the whole "Grey Man" thing; as I've noted before, although I am prone to Cap'n Cellophane moments, I actually kind of like being the center of attention. TopGun, on the other hand, is not likely to perform a humorous interp in front of his co-workers or dance his fool head off at a New Year's Eve party or sing the Popular song in a crowded restaurant. But at least that's a fairly innocuous difference, and not one that's likely to cause many problems; some of the other differences though . . . I mean, look, I'm a pretty tolerant guy for the most part, but even I have my limits. Seriously; rooming with a laid-back, self-motivated, productive person who eats healthy food and works out every day? It makes me shudder just to think about it! I frequently accuse him of only working out so diligently because he's trying to shame me into getting off of my butt and doing something, and have threatened to make his nickname "Showoff" of "Showboater"; even worse, it's actually worked -- he's got me to agree to do the P90X program with him. I think he may have gotten some mental-manipulation tips from Count Shackula

All kidding aside, I'm very surprised at how quickly I've felt comfortable just being myself around him; as all the loyal blog monkeys know, it usually takes me several months before I let down my guard around new folks. Whether my new-found openness is a product of our personalities clicking just right, or my feeling generally more comfortable with myself than I used to, or something else entirely, I don't know; whatever the reason, I'm glad that I've been able to bypass most of my neurotic hangups and just let the real Todd manifest, and even more glad that getting to know the real Todd has not sent him off running, screaming into the night.

Then again, it's early days yet -- it took PigPen at least a couple of months of rooming with me to start plotting my death . . .

Welcome to the roller-coaster ride that is being my friend, TopGun; hope your sanity survives the experience.


Flunky lover said...

The P90X infomercials look really cool. Can you keep us updated on your progress?

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Will do; so far TopGun has had me do three of the discs, and man, have they kicked my butt. We're probably going to go full out on the program in a week or two, so I'm sure you'll hear me whining about how sore I am frequently.

Which reminds me: I need to text TopGun and curse his name for how my arms and legs feel this morning . . .