Disclaimer: This is humor; many and most elements have been exaggerated (or fabricated wholesale) for the sake of hilarity. Reality is usually quite a bit more boring. There is no Harold. Thank you.
In dorms, there are two classifications of rooms: clean and messy. I am the proud owner of the latter.
I would be perfectly happy to live undisturbed in my little fortress of clutter. It’s not like I bother much of anyone. Alas, it can never be. The college which I attend holds monthly room inspections. The committee that invented the policy had good intentions, I suppose. “This will motivate students to keep their living quarters spotless,” they said to themselves. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness, and who wouldn’t want that?”
The thing works in theory. In reality, the clean rooms are clean all the time anyway, and the messy rooms stay messy for twenty-eight days out of the month, to be cleaned in a frantic herculean effort on the twenty-ninth and/or thirtieth. This can be a problem in the shorter month of February. What ensues is a classic game of tactics and strategy, as resident and Resident Assistant match wits in a dramatic event worthy of broadcast television.
Consider the following scenario:
I stand amongst the heaps of paper and clothes littering the floor. Lightning flashes outside the window. The time is forebodingly close to the midnight inspection deadline. The RA appears at the door, clipboard in hand.
“Why is this room not clean?” he inquires, somewhat menacingly.
I attempt to explain the twenty-eight day game-play mechanic.
“What? That makes little to extremely little sense. Ok, listen. Either this is clean by Midnight, or you’ll be vacuuming the floor lounge tomorrow.”
Ah-ha! I spot a flaw in his plan. Vacuuming the lounge is totally easier then cleaning the room.
“AND you clean the room.”
Curses. Foiled again!
No matter. Harold, good old suite-mate Harold, is always nearby, always willing to lend cheerful assistance. “Clean it yourself!” yells Harold. I briefly plot his downfall before returning to the task at hand.
The primary issue here is paper. Old homework sets, class handouts, and essay markups. They are the only thing I have at this early age that could be considered my life’s work. I ponder vacuuming up my life’s work, but decide against it. The wafer-thin offenders are soon stacked neatly in a corner. The stack is a bit high, but as long as it doesn’t tower too loftily above the RA, I’ll probably be fine. RA is short, anyway.
Next are the clothes. They would be trivial, but I am now counting down the time until midnight in seconds. Behold; a vast expanse of unused space beyond yon open closet door! By T-39 seconds, my room is the prime example of cleanliness.
At inspection, the RA appears slightly suspicious. I attempt to remain calm and act casual. He makes unduly critical comments about the general safety of my newly constructed paper leaning tower of Pisa, the strange odor emitted by unseen waste, and how the aforementioned closet door has been mysteriously jammed shut.
Why do I always vacuum? It’s a conspiracy, I say.