Recently I had the good fortune along with several hundred of my schoolmates to spend several hours of the night wandering the streets in search of a warm grate to sleep on, or a cardboard box to snuggle up in. No, we were not on crack, chillin’ with our homeless homies, and GW did not overbook housing again. Rather, we were temporarily evicted because someone in City Hall let their kitchen catch on fire. This midnight mayhem reminded me of a similar incident last year at HOVA that I had buried in my archives. I dug through the dusty file and found a remarkable example of how history repeats itself:
The Nir Files:
Five a.m. Friday my alarm clock went off. I am not one of those sickeningly dedicated-to-my-sport-to-the-point-of-sleep-deprivation jocks, so there was absolutely no reason I would be insane enough to actually set my alarm to rouse me at that ungodly hour. Hence my confusion at the buzzing and beeping that rattled my room. Like any logical person who can’t figure out when the din of hell is upon them, I ignored it. In fact, I find this tactic to be extremely helpful when I am caught in any situation in which I don’t understand what’s happening. Playing dead makes math class goes by much easier and also works well in terminating drunken hook-ups. Really, it’s impressive how quickly simulating the spasms of death complete with twitching and rigor mortis can clear a frat.
Anyway, I snuggled back into bed and pulled my teddy closer. Perhaps, I mused, since smashing my alarm clock against the wall hadn’t stopped the racket and my roommate remained in her nightly coma, the noise was in my ears alone. Faced with this frightening possibility, I resolved my self to accepting my new life as permanently afflicted with sirens in my ears and fell back asleep.
Within minutes of course, I realized I was a complete idiot.
I was in the midst of a fire alarm. I racked my brain trying to remember the instructions I had to follow. Yes, yes, stay “calm, cool and collected.” I took a breath and screamed, “FIRE, FIRE, BLOODY MURDER, SAVE THE WHALES, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!”(I was a little flustered). In a panic I pulled my vegetable of a roommate out of bed and rushed to the door. After smacking straight into it, I opened the door and rushed out.
I maneuvered down the hall and into the stairwell, where a sea of people were s-l-o-w-l-y moseying their way down to the lobby. Like a river of molasses my dorm mates oozed their groggy way down the stairs while the aroma of the people behind us roasting on the top floors wafted down. C’mon, it was early, you really expect us to hustle at 5 a.m.?
After being herded out onto the grass outside HOVA by CF.s armed with cattle prods and pointy teeth, we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, after HOVA had been engulfed by flames and burned to cinders and all of us were dead, a fire truck showed up. OK, so there was no fire, only some very dumb punk who knocked off a safety-sprinkler head causing 15 gallons of water per second to deluge my building. Still, that truck took a long time coming. After the firemen competently raised and then lowered their ladder, they left. I was really hoping to see some uniformed beefcake and was singing my heart out to attract their attention with classics such as “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and “Disco Inferno,” but they left anyway.
Milling about in the cold on the street in boxers and a T-shirt was fun. I gave my sweatshirt to a half-naked friend of mine with no shirt or shoes, who in response to his roommate’s order to “grab something” as they evacuated, ended up bringing three baseball caps. Nice survival skills. Then there was my other friend, who, after watching gallons of water pour out of the ceiling calmly got up, emailed “Fix-It” and went back to bed. HOVA freshman are an astute bunch.
Six hours later after listening to thousands of rumors about who committed the heinous crime (my favorite has to be the orgy that got out of hand and smashed a sprinkler in some elaborate ritual – sign me up) and playing charades, we were let back into our rooms. Like legions of devout Oompah-Loompahs, teams of orange little people with green hair (I’m not sure if that is exactly factual, but cut me some slack here, I was up since five!) were sucking fetid water out of the carpets and out of my closet.
Now as I type this, the stench of a thousand years of unwashed freshmen is seeping out of my floor and ceiling and toxic mildew and mold is growing up my walls at exponential rates. As I sit here, the forest of fungus is consuming me and I am trembling from lack of sleep and utter exhaustion. There is a lesson here I know, and it is my duty to my readers to proclaim it: From now on, sleep with earplugs.