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The Epic of the Individual

Updated: Dec 11, 2018

"1% Better Each Day" | A Photo Biography of My Roommate Luis.

On January 6th, 2018 I arrived in St. George looking for a new place to live. I soon found someone looking to rent out a bedroom. The room was small with only about a foot and a half of space between the two beds. As I was getting settled I was informed that someone else was moving in the same day as me. This person was Luis (photographed above). I must have fallen asleep before Luis moved in but in the morning I woke up to the sound of dogs barking at 5:30 a.m. It was Luis' alarm on his phone. There was no turning off the alarm for Luis - only snoozing it every 2 minutes. About 12 times each morning. I didn't mind though, I have no problem falling back asleep. Each morning Luis' dog barking alarm would go off and he would eventually get out of bed and head out the door for work. He always had two jobs, but would always change employment status between construction companies and restaurants. Each night he would come home, (I would usually be working on my computer on the dining room table) walk past me and whisper my name before heading to bed. It sounds weird but that's the only thing he would do for about the first 2 weeks of living in the room. Eventually, I had the opportunity to break the ice with him and learn more about him. His back story was interesting to piece together in intervals of 5 - 10 minute conversations at the end of each day. When he moved in he had recently got out of serving 2 years in Prison. Obviously that is a red flag, but the person who recommended he live in the house was able to validate his behavior and that was good enough for me. Luis would never start a conversation but you could tell he liked to talk - and you could tell he didn't mind talking about his tough past. As a matter of fact you could tell it helped a lot for him to talk about it. So I would as him questions. Luis is 29 and originally from Mexico but grew up in California. He speaks Spanish and a few other Spanish based dialects. When he was 23 he got baptized in the LDS church and a year later served a mission in Texas. Unfortunately, after his mission he got involved with a tough crowd and reverted back to some bad habits. Luis served 2 years (out of a 10 year potential sentence) in prison for getting caught smuggling large amounts of cocaine, meth and marijuana from Mexico into the United States. Through multiple conversations and behavior - it is evident that although bottled up, those experiences impact his personality. Almost ever other week Luis would come home and tell me he got a new job at a restaurant - always because he got into fights with coworkers at the previous place. Recently Luis got into a car crash and had to leave his car at an auto-body shop. Without a car he could't get to work. I don't have a car and work at home so we would end up talking everyday for a solid hour at a time about life. One of our conversations was just about how no one is perfect and that all we can do is try to be 1% better each day in some aspect of our life. Sometimes we might get 1% worse in other aspects, but as long as there is something good we are doing - we can stay in balance until we slowly eliminate the bad. It was an enlightening conversation. That night after the conversation ended Luis had to go to work. I took the pictures of him above just has he was stepping outside to leave. I offered to show them to him but he declined saying he doesn't like to see pictures of himself. A few weeks ago we all moved out of the house and went separate ways. I haven't talked with Luis since.

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