After the first few months of dorm life, the excitement of being in college and the silly antics of college freshmen simply wore off. (I never understood why it was fun to put a flat can of lighter fluid on the floor just under the outer edge of my room door, step on it to squirt of line of liquid into my room…and then light it. I was pretty startled the first time to see a line of fire racing across the floor of my room. It quickly burned out, thank goodness. And I could never see the fun in setting off the fire alarm in the wee hours of the morning. (I do confess to antics of my own, and to a couple of noisy parties in my room, but I managed to study enough to keep from being kicked out for lack of academic prowess. And I never set anyone’s room on fire.)
By Spring Term, there were a lot of empty rooms in my building because the worst offenders had flunked out or been kicked out of school, one of whom was sent away when he managed to set the curtains of someone’s room on fire with the “old lighter fluid” trick. And the door was locked. And there wasn’t anyone in the room to stomp the fire out. And fire department was called…because the door was locked. And the dorm mother let the fire department guys in so they could squirt a fire extinguisher all over the room.
So, by Spring Quarter I could actually experience an hour of quiet in which to study. Nevertheless, my buddy Dave and I had enough of dorm life and decided to move off campus. And we did. We ate our meals at the cafeteria because they were already paid for, but we spent our evenings in our very own private space…private except for an occasional quiet Friday night gathering.
We did get called to the office of the Dean of Students to be informed we could NOT move out of the dorm, but the Dean was mollified when we pointed out we had already paid our dorm fees and were eating in the cafeteria. I decided later it wasn’t a question of the college looking out for us. It was a question of money.
The phenomenon of empty dorm rooms also held sway for small apartments near campus. Some students ran out of money, some flunked out, and a few actually graduated. We looked at several small apartments before renting one. In our search, we found the interior rooms in most of the apartments were painted pink. Pink is supposed to be a soft color…a pastel, but somehow the pink we saw was harsh, and it glared at us and almost dared us to be critical.
It took me a while, but I finally figured it out. Pink isn’t a common choice of color…and in those days paint came ready mixed in cans. None of that computer formula mixing jazz existed. You bought your color right off the shelf. And pink wasn’t a favorite of most homeowners. So the stock of gallon cans of pink paint grew and grew until the store put it on sale. Then the landlords moved in and bought it…at a cheap price. I can’t help but think the landlords banded together and bought all of it each time it was on sale.
After a few months of living in a pink apartment, I never considered pink for any room in any of the apartments or homes I lived in for the next sixty years. Nope. None of that Landlord Pink for me, thank you. (Although one of our daughters did paint her room a “soft” pink. I think I asked her to never leave her door open.)