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Welcome to the Oasis: A one-act play  June 6, 2005

Greg — June 6 @ 3:57pm

Adam (roommate)—studious and most likely to become rich
Seth (roommate)—engaged, with a tendency to swear
Nephi (roommate)—likes to remind people that he’s the ward mission leader
Abe (roommate)—the ladies find his rippling biceps irresistible
Me (Greg)—lapsed Quaker
Melanie—fiancé, dedicated to stopping Seth’s swearing habit
Floyd—eats everyone’s food and always leaves after midnight

Acknowledgments: I’d like to thank my new roommate for writing this for me. Maybe I’ll write my own post next week.

Setting: Warm Tuesday evening, mid-spring, Greg is moving into his new place with his new roommates. While he’s unloading 2 suitcases, a computer, printer, keyboard, bike, a laundry basket full of CDs, and the garment bag his mother gave him for graduation with the Armani suit she makes him wear for every family event, especially if wealthy non-family people are going to be there, Seth and Melanie are on the couch licking a lot of envelopes (which Greg thinks must taste strange when they start macking a little later), Abe is playing Halo with Floyd, Adam (the only one Greg knows well) is finishing an assignment in the back of the house, and Nephi jumps out of somewhere and asks how he can help.

ME: Thanks man, I think I got it.
Abe and Floyd: Ahh!! You killed me again!
Nephi: Oh, I should introduce myself. My name is Nephi and I’ve been living here for 2 years. Adam and I were mission companions together in Argentina.
ME: Oh yeah, he told me about you. Weren’t you the one that ate that—
Nephi: No I think that was Elder Park. Yeah, I was zone leader then and had to take him to the hospital. It’s pretty nasty trying to dig out a—
Seth: What the hell, who decided to invite Sister Hurlbut, she’ll give us a year’s supply of wheat for Chrissake!
Melanie: Seth! You promised not to take the Lord’s name in vain around me! Sister Hurlbut is my mom’s visiting teaching companion!
Abe and Floyd: Ahh!!!
Nephi: Hey, I’ll go get Adam. He’s back reading constitutional law. Are you sure I can’t do anything to help you?
ME: Yeah I got it, thanks. Um, can you tell me which one is my room?
Nephi: Oh, sure—it’s right back here. Here, let me just take those—
[big crash, CDs fly everywhere, the computer slams against my calves before it hits the ground]
ME: Dammit. No—not you, Nephi. Look, I got it, it’s all fine. No really, nothing’s broken. Thanks for trying to help—I guess it was just off balance or something.
Seth: Shii-iitt! Nephi, leave Greg alone. Hey, this is Melanie. Melanie, Greg. New roommate.
Melanie: Hi, Greg. You look kind of familiar. Did I meet you at—
Nephi: Probably not. Greg’s not Mormon.
ME: Yeah, I actually don’t go to a church. But I play basketball on Thursday nights at you guys’s building, so maybe…
Nephi: Okay, I think that’s all the CDs. I’ve, ah, never heard of the New Pornographers before. We try to stick to classical on Sundays, if that’s okay with you.
Abe: Dude, the guy’s not Mormon, he can listen to what he wants on Sunday. Hey Greg, welcome to the Oasis. I’m Abe and this is Floyd. He doesn’t live here.
Floyd: [insulted] They just think I’d steal their girls.
Abe: Uh, no, you just steal our food.
Melanie: [placating] So how do you know Adam?
ME: I work at the law school where he goes. He needed help with some registration stuff on the first day so we talked for an hour and then he got a spot on the law review so he’s around the office all the time.
Melanie: Neat! So how did you decide to move in with these guys?
ME: Well, I guess—
Adam: [entering] Greg! You made it! Sorry I wasn’t out here to help you man. Hey, do you know if Fisher posted the grades for his exam yet?
ME: Yeah, he put them up at 6 tonight. About 7 people failed.
Adam: Failed? Could you tell—
Abe: [putting an arm around Adam] Greg, your new job is to make Adam talk about something other than school. Like women, for example. Or how great it is to live in the Oasis with the hottest guy in the ward.
Adam: [laughing] Yeah, Nephi gets all the girls.
ME: So why do you guys call it the Oasis?
[pause while people think]
Abe: Well, it’s a lush, tropical paradise that the ladies come to for refreshment.
Nephi: [scoffing] It was just named that when guys first moved in and everyone in the ward calls it that now.
Seth: One of the last guys actually told me that it’s the original owner’s last name.
Abe: [thoughtfully] Oasis. Abe Oasis. Abraham Oasis. Nah, it’s a tropical paradise. Welcome to the Oasis, Greg.


  1. What did Elder Park eat? And where did they have to dig it out of?
    Inquiring minds need to know.

    NFlanders — June 6, 2005 @ 4:35pm
  2. What Elder Park ate is Elder Park’s business, NFlanders. Greg, you’re terrible! (For those who don’t know, the Elder Park that Nephi refers to is my little brother.)

    Miranda PJ — June 6, 2005 @ 7:56pm
  3. Greg, the classical music on Sunday thing is an inexplicable Mormon oddity. You can have some fun with your roommates by bringing them up to speed on the debaucheries of the composers whose work is helping them keep the Sabbath day holy.

    Christian Y. Cardall (TSM) — June 6, 2005 @ 9:05pm
  4. So who’s the playwright? I have a weakness for playwrights. I also have an abiding interest in Mormon masculinity (in the abstract, that is; it’s not like I’m checking out the EQ goods on Sunday). What’s your impression of the Mormon culture of maleness, Greg, as an informed outsider? Video games, girls, mission stories and careers seem to be the primary themes here…

    Rosalynde — June 6, 2005 @ 10:55pm
  5. Greg, as your unofficial translator of Mormon lingo let me just say that when Rosalynde says EQ she means Elder’s Quorum–the church group/class that most Mormon men between 19 and middle-age attend each Sunday.

    I have no idea what she meant by “goods.” Maybe she’s objectifying men, I don’t know. Not really sure what she meant by “Mormon culture of maleness,” but it sure sounds cool. You’re on your own there.

    SeptimusH — June 7, 2005 @ 2:23am
  6. Abe reminds me of the Aaron Eckhart character in the movie In the Company of Men. If you take out some of the characters’ misogyny, I think that movie was pretty insightful regarding Mormon masculinity. And now I’ve got to know what Elder Park ate. How embarrassing could it be?

    NFlanders — June 7, 2005 @ 8:29am
  7. Rosalynde, much as I’d like to claim this masterpiece as my own, the playwrite was my roommate Abe. You may have caught on from his description of himself. It’s mostly an accurate description of my first night moving into the house, but Abe made up pretty much everything that everyone said. So you have an interest in Mormon masculinity? You should get together with Abe, who thinks he’s the epitome of masculinity, Mormon or not. Are you single? This isn’t for me–I know all about how Mormon girls really feel about non-Mormon guys–it’s just some preliminary research for any of my roommates that might be interested in you. As for the elements of masculinity that you saw in the this scene, I guess you’re right–this house is pretty drenched in testosterone. But it’s different from living with my frat brothers. Masculinity there was beer, sex, and porn. So really, living with Mormons is pretty tame, as far as masculinity goes.
    Sep, as usual, I owe you, man. I wouldn’t have guessed what EQ was, although I’ve heard of Elder’s Quorum (Nephi likes to explain that he’s president of it several times a day). Did you consider that maybe you’re not part of this Mormon culture of maleness, and that’s why you don’t know what it is? Although I can’t think of anything more male than dessicated cows.

    Greg Fox — June 7, 2005 @ 11:01am
  8. NFlanders, inquiring minds need to know. Sorry Miranda, that’s one of the first mission stories I heard when I moved in, and I’ve already told it to everyone else I know. Your brother actually seems pretty proud of it, but you probably think it’s uncouth. Elder Park and Nephi and Adam were all in Argentina together, and they say that there’s a type of traditional food that’s essentially a blood sausage filled rice and other stuff and pork blood. It’s called morcillas. So Miranda’s brother had just moved down to Argentina and was starting his mission, and they had lunch or dinner at someone’s house, and morcillas were served. I guess the other missionary tried to warn Elder Park somehow, but he didn’t get the message, so he put a big bite in his mouth and was so grossed out by it that he actually snotted it up his nose through the back of his nasal cavity and had to have it removed. At least, that’s what they say. Haven’t seen in the Company of Men, NFlanders. Should I?

    Greg Fox — June 7, 2005 @ 11:12am
  9. Interesting question, Greg. Am I not a part of the Mormon culture of maleness? Still don’t know what that means. But I like to think I’m all man and at least half Mormon. Maybe I’m a Weremormon? Everytime there’s a full moon I buy a year’s worth of caffeine-free Coke and store it in my basement.

    SeptimusH — June 7, 2005 @ 11:49am
  10. Thanks for satisfying my curiosity, Greg. I also went to Argentina on a mission; morcilla is a little too salty for my taste but not that gross. Mondongo (tripe) on the other hand, I can totally see aspirating out of disgust.

    Most people don’t like In the Company of Men. The emotional cruelty and misogyny are probably a little over the top, but I really liked it.

    NFlanders — June 7, 2005 @ 12:06pm
  11. Tripe?!? Can’t you guys choose somewhere else to go? I haven’t heard any mondongo stories–I’ll have to ask Nephi and Adam about that tonight. Cost of missionaryhood is way too high for me man.

    Greg Fox — June 7, 2005 @ 1:14pm
  12. Don’t worry about Miranda, Greg. The morcillas story is a great one. I was the worst newbie missionary ever to enter Argentina.

    Thomas Park — June 8, 2005 @ 9:14am
  13. You guys are giving me a glimpse into my daughter’s world as she is negotiationg engagement to a returned missionary, her ambivalence about the gospel and a wedding out of the temple, and their friendship with a variety of individuals.

    I absolutely am counting the minutes until I can turn her over to that poor unsuspecting boy.
    I am going to change my phone number and not give it to her.

    annegb — June 8, 2005 @ 9:17am
  14. Tom! I think I just won money by having you comment on my post, man. Nephi and Abe said no one would read it. I don’t know if I would ever want to be a missionary, but I wish I could be there to laugh at everyone. You have great stories.

    annegb, your daughter sounds interesting–is she sure she wants to marry that returned missionary? I have about 3 roommates who would love her number, and depending on how she feels about lapsed Quakers… So what exactly have you learned from our BS here?

    Greg Fox — June 8, 2005 @ 3:35pm
  15. Yes, she wants to marry him. I love him, he’s great. I might marry him myself just because he’s so patient with her. Trust me, Greg, she’s high maintenance.

    I’ve learned you guys are normal and cool. My future son-in-law seems to be like that, and I picture his relationships with his friends like this post. Gives me hope. Although, like I said, that poor unsuspecting boy…

    annegb — June 8, 2005 @ 5:03pm

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