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Not The Key To Student-Staff Relations

, , , , | Learning | December 1, 2020

I’ve just returned from a trip out of state to my apartment-style dorm complex. The building has six floors and I’m at the very top, so I direct my ride to drop me off at that entrance. They pull away, and as I go to enter the building, I realize my key card is not working at all. I give the resident desk a call.

Me: “Hi. I’m up on the sixth floor and the door isn’t working for some reason.”

Staff: “Oh, have you gotten your card reprogrammed?”

Me: “I don’t think so? It worked just a couple of weeks ago.”

Staff: “Oh, come on down and we’ll reprogram your card. We decommission all the resident cards once a year. For safety!”

Me: “Uh… sure, but I’ve been dropped off here with all my luggage and there’s no elevator access.”

Staff: “We can’t go up there. You should’ve thought of that.”

So, down I walk with my luggage, circling around through the entire car park since it has no stairs or elevators, around to the front of the building, where they reprogram my card and send me on my way. At least I can take the elevator up.

When I get inside my apartment with my now working key card, I realize my bedroom door is locked from the inside. This is the one door that requires a key instead of a card. Frustrated, I call the staff again.

Me: “Hi again. My bedroom door is locked for some reason, also?”

Staff: “Oh, are you locked out? Why not use your key?”

Me: “The key… was in my room. My roommates and I are all friends and we don’t lock our bedroom doors.”

Staff: “Oh, so you locked yourself out?”

Me: *Sigh* “No, I did not lock it before I left. But now it is locked.”

Staff: “Yeah, we did room checks and locked all the rooms afterward. To keep them safe. If you come downstairs, we can process the lockout charge and then let you in.”

Me: *Incredulous pause* “Excuse me. You want to charge me for locking me out of my room? And you can’t come upstairs?”

Staff: “Well, it’s really your responsibility to not get locked out. You’re adults now. And no, you have to request and pay in person at the desk down here.”

Me: *Another pause* “It is four am. I have dragged my luggage down six floors because you deprogrammed my card and sent no notice about it. Now you’re telling me you did a full room check, also with no notice, and locked me out, and you are trying to get me to go back down six floors to pay you for locking me out? I refuse and, honestly, I’m about to explode just talking to you about it.”

Staff: “Um… Well, I can waive the fee just this once. But you need to be more careful! You’re adults now! It’s your responsibility to keep your key on you and be responsible. It’s standard policy to lock rooms and deprogram cards every once in a while.”

Me: “I’ve lived here for two years and you’ve never done this before, but fine. I guess I’ll keep my key on me in case you guys decide to lock me out again.”

She came upstairs and finally let me in where I could blissfully sleep after my red-eye flight. Weird how there was never another instance of this apparently “standard policy.” I’m still not sure how mass deprogramming every single student card with no notice was supposed to be for safety.

It’s A Big, Scary Ocean Out There

, , , , , , | Learning | September 18, 2020

I live in a small house on campus. It is a dorm, but we only have about a dozen rooms. I become good friends with two of the other girls, [Friend #1] and [Friend #2].

My second year, at the “get to know you” meeting, the three of us decide to take one of the freshmen under our wings. Our chosen freshman, who we call “Little Fish” — freshmen are often referred to as fish around here — is a very small girl, not even 100 pounds soaking wet, maybe five-foot-nothing. She is a sweet little thing, she was homeschooled, and while she knows how to do housework and is very well-prepared academically, she is very naive and believes nothing bad could ever happen to her.

One day, we find out she has been walking home alone from her night classes. Being the concerned big sisters we are, we have to stage an intervention. We sit her down in the lobby one day.

Friend #1: “Okay, Little Fish, it has come to our attention that you are walking home at night alone and unarmed.”

Little Fish: “Um, I guess.”

Me: “And are you aware just how dangerous this is?”

Little Fish: “Um, no. I mean, you guys walk around alone all the time. I don’t see why I shouldn’t if you do.”

[Friend #1] and I are both over 100 pounds and at least half a foot taller than Little Fish. [Friend #2] weighs more than all of us combined and is a weightlifter.

Friend #2: “Fish, you are small and portable.”

Little Fish: “No, I’m not.”

Me: “Yes, you are.”

Little Fish: “I’m not.”

[Friend #2] stands up, grabs Little Fish, throws her over her shoulder, sprints down the hall, touches the back door, and then sprints back and drops Little Fish back on the couch.

Friend #2: “See, portable.”

Little Fish: “That’s not fair! I wasn’t prepared for any of you to try and kidnap me. I’d be prepared for a stranger on the street.”

Me: *Standing up slowly* “Okay, Little Fish, I’m going to pick you up now.”

I proceed to grab her by the waist and carry her a few feet while she flails her hands about wildly. She manages to make contact with my face a few times but I don’t even have a bruise the next day. After I set her down again:

Little Fish: “But [Friend #2] could carry both of you off just as easy.”

Friend #1: “Honey, I carry a full-sized umbrella everywhere no matter the weather. It’s not just a style choice; that thing is a weapon and I can use it.”

Me: “And I have pepper spray on my key chain and have been learning aikido for years.”

Friend #2: “Heck, I carry pepper spray and I’m the least likely person in this room to ever need to use it.”

Little Fish: “Oh, but why would anyone want to kidnap me?”

Friend #1: “Because the world is a dark and scary place full of bad people.”

Little Fish: “It is?!”

I started dragging Little Fish to my aikido classes. We also found a friend of a friend who was taking the same night class and got him to walk with her, since his boyfriend’s dorm was in the building next door to ours.

Air-Dry Obsessed And Airheaded

, , , , , , , | Working | August 6, 2020

This takes place while I am in college, living in an apartment affiliated with the university. This means it’s not run by the university like a dorm but only students can live on this property. This also means we have a real apartment, with a kitchen, washer, and dryer, our own bedrooms, etc.

When we move in, however, our dryer starts smoking like crazy the first time we use it. We discover it is jam-packed with dryer lint as if the previous tenants had never cleaned the filter, and it is clogging the entire line. We get maintenance to replace the smoky dryer easily, but they’ve forgotten to flush the line. There’s no airflow and our clothes aren’t drying.

I have a chat with maintenance about this.

Me: “The new dryer seems to be working great; we just need all the lint flushed out.”

Maintenance: “This is a brand new dryer we just gave you! It can’t be broken.”

Me: “Oh. It isn’t. It heats up totally fine; we just need the rest of the vent flushed out.”

Maintenance: *Condescendingly* “You know you have to actually turn it on, right? Your clothes won’t dry unless you turn it off of ‘air-dry only’.”

I look at the dryer, currently NOT set to air-dry.

Me: “Yeah, I know how to do laundry. Again, it works great and is heating up, but nothing will dry properly because it seems like it’s blocked.”

Maintenance: “Look. This is the air-dry setting. You don’t want it on this. Watch. To dry clothes, we set them to this setting or this setting and turn the knob. Then we…”

The maintenance man continued to explain how to operate the dryer to me patronizingly and ignored me when I kept trying to explain the issue. He probably spent fifteen minutes giving me a demonstration! He marked the ticket as fixed and didn’t do anything further.

After I complained to the front office, they finally sent someone to do what we’d asked for in the first place. 

Surprise! The dryer worked perfectly after that.

Long-Distance Relationships Before Social Media

, , , , , | Friendly | April 14, 2020

In college in the late 1980s, I had my own private phone line set up in my dorm room. However, I guess the number was close to a couple of others because I kept getting phone calls for Mark, Rick, and Mike.

They were always on my answering machine, but that meant they weren’t actually listening to my message because it was, “Hello, you’ve reached [My Name] at [Phone Number]. I’m sorry I’m not here…”

I eventually got tired of the wrong numbers and changed my message:

“Hello, you’ve reached [My Name] at [Phone Number]. This isn’t Mark. This isn’t Rick. And I’m sorry, Melissa, but this isn’t Mike. If you wish to speak to one of them, please hang up and dial again. If you wish to leave a message for [My Name], please do so after the tone.”

Melissa called. It seems she had finally paid attention to the outgoing message, as she left me one, and I could hear her trying to keep from laughing the entire time.

“I’m sorry, [My Name]. I didn’t realize I had been leaving all those wrong messages. Maybe one of these days, I’ll get on out to California and I can finally meet the wrong number.”

However, finals week was upon us, so I changed my answering machine message to indicate that I was going to always be studying, so people should leave a message and maybe I’d get back to them sometime.

Melissa called again. It seemed she liked being called out on someone’s answering machine and I guess she called so she could show it to someone. Again, she was trying to keep it together on the phone:

“[My Name]! It’s Melissa. What happened? Don’t you love me anymore?”

I think I still have that cassette tape somewhere.

I Love You One Day A Year Because Corporate Says So

, , , , , , | Romantic | February 14, 2020

(My fiance and I go to the same college. We both live on campus, in the same building on separate floors. At the time of this story, we’ve been dating for three years, with our anniversary on February 9th. It’s right around Valentine’s Day, and one of his roommate’s girlfriends is in their room, waiting on her boyfriend before they go out. They’ve been dating for three months at this point.)

Roommate’s Girlfriend: “Do you have any plans to take [My Name] out for Valentine’s Day?”

Fiance: “Our anniversary is the ninth, so we usually just go out around then to celebrate, but [My Name] doesn’t really believe in Valentine’s Day.”

(This is true; I have no qualms with those who want to celebrate, but I’d rather not have a corporate holiday telling me when to celebrate the people I love. I’d rather do it on a random day than do it when society expects, but again, I don’t hold it against anyone who wants to celebrate and I’m happy for them if they do! He explains the above to her, but she’s proven in the three months they’ve been dating to not be the brightest bulb in the room. She takes the explanation in, sits for a moment, and then says:)

Roommate’s Girlfriend: “Oh, so you don’t love her?”

(He was not very happy. Neither was I, at first. After the anger waned, I felt a bit sad for her and people who believed the same. Valentine’s Day does not equal Love, and I hope we can teach our young folk that there’s more to love than being taken out on a holiday!)