I’ve picked through various links on the web in the attempt to find an affordable place to rent for the summer, and possibly for the rest of next year. There were some really cheap places—with twelve other college kids sharing one room—but there was never the right combination of cheap and sane that existed in a place until I found the veggie co-op—or so I thought.
I was trying to find a place cheaper than the University Housing apartments across the street from my campus, and that had fewer snotty-noised-kids running around screaming because they had their first sip of Jack Daniels. I had a few places narrowed down when one of my current roommates told me about a place not too far from Cal Poly Pomona, the school I go to, that had rooms available for rent. From the pictures she showed me, the place looked great and the price sounded reasonable. She told me that the group of friendly kids who lived in the co-op took turns cooking a vegetarian dinner once a week. I thought it was cool; I would live with fun people and cook for five people or so each week, right?
I decided to go to one of these “dinners” with my roommate and my friend who moved out of the previous academic quarter to study abroad in London. I wanted to show her the house out back that I was planning on us moving to after the summer for a similarly cheap price. So I piled up the car with the girls, and we drove to the historic part of Pomona, and we got out and were greeted by my roommate’s friend who currently lived there.
“Hey, come inside, we’re having dinner at the house down the street tonight,” the girl said.
Wait, What? I thought we were only going to be eating in the house that I planned on renting at.
“These five houses or so take turns making dinner each week, and we all get together and eat and hang out.”
So the four of us, and the first random hippie I saw that night walked down the street skipping several houses to get to this place with the front door sitting unlocked and wide open. I was the last of the group to enter, and I was immediately hit with grungy hippies/hipsters all strung out on some heavy narcotics.
“Hey, what’s your name?”
“Hey, my name is Jasmine,” I said as I shook hands with a skinny blonde haired boy with glasses. “And you are?”
“Okay,” I said to myself, and I never did get his name.
“Well, come on over, eat some food. Talk. Mingle,” my roommate’s friend pointed to various dishes on the table.
I happily grabbed some food knowing well enough that I was hungry because I had to push back my normal dinner time to go to this odd event.
“Everything here is vegan, except for this dessert right here, but we have a vegan option over there.”
Wait. Did I have to make vegan foods? I hated making desserts with tofu. They tasted terrible.
That did it for me right there. I didn’t want to have to cook a vegan meal each week for twenty or so completely whacked out and dirty hippies, but I stayed because it was the polite thing to do and I was really hungry.
“So, what do you do?” The blonde kid asked as he grabbed their odd-looking vegan crème Brulee and grabbed a shovel full of food with a spoon and stuffed it into his mouth.
“Well, I’m an English major at Cal Poly Pomona and I’m also minoring in Journalism.”
“Oh really; what’s your favorite thing to write?”
“Well, I’m a storyteller and I usually end up writing creative stories whenever I can get away with it.”
“Yeah, she also has a blog,” my friend who studied abroad said.
“Oh! Tell me about your favorite piece of writing that you have written.”
“Well. Geez, that’s hard. I can’t really choose, they’re like my children. Haha”
The blonde slowly spit his desert back onto the spoon and then ate it again. “Oh come on. Everyone has their favorite kid. Tell me about the latest thing you’ve written.”
“Well, I just wrote this piece that’s up on my blog about my journey through writing as a young student told in a really quirky way,” I said just before I placed a small spoonful of the vegan curry soup (the only decent tasting thing apart from the salad) and watched a group of hippies and older women walk in and out of the house as if they were in a total daze.
“That sounds interesting,” he said as he was looking around and up at the ceiling. I couldn’t tell what drugs these people were on, but it definitely wasn’t Mary Jane. They were all f#cked up. I even asked the rest of the people there what they did, and all I got were giggles, laughs, and responses like, “I’m just majoring in life right now and taking time off from school.”
I spent an hour and a half looking at the beautifully designed old houses on the street, talking to cracked out hippies sipping cheap vegan beer and dressed in old and grungy Forty’s style clothing, and listening to everyone complain about a brown substance that tasted just like avocados, that was apparently chocolate avocado pudding. I would have stayed there, I honestly would have if I wasn’t in fear of the hippies getting rowdy and having sex in the living room. They were all completely ridiculous, and when my other friend and I got back into the car two seconds before my roommate did, we acknowledged to each to each other that we would not be staying there and that everyone living in that area was really weird.
“So guys, what did you think of the place?” My roommate said when she finally did meet us in the car.
I’m still looking for a place by the way close to Cal Poly for cheap. This time, I will ask about the people who live there first.