The Residence Halls Association and its lackeys like to talk about communities and the importance of maintaining them. Last night, for instance, my friends and I were sitting in one of our rooms on the first floor of San Nicolas playing video games. Video games on a UCSB Saturday night is about as tame as it gets but – BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! We were interrupted by the kind of frantic pounding on the door you’d expect if the building was burning down – San Nicolas doesn’t have sprinklers – or if someone was giving out free money outside. No such luck, it was one of San Nic’s local RHA deities, Kenny Importante. He was truly in a tizzy, looking pale and a little dizzy, telling us in skipping, semi-coherent speech that there were alcohol bottles in our lounge.
He and two RAs were banging on every door in the boys’ wing to alert all of us to this terrible incident. He really looked shaken up and genuinely distraught. He shouted at us that one of us must be the culprit and that we would all have to carry bottles to the recycle bins outside. Never mind how much destructive drunk traffic the first floor of a dormitory gets on a Saturday night. That isn’t too much of an inconvenience of course; the problem is that we all were being punished simply for living where we do. A friend of mine, Resident Hankins – we don’t have first names in official RHA documentations, it’s always Resident whomever, although it might be easier if RHA just assigned us numbers – began to protest, but Importante informed us that the culprit was among us, that this punishment was perfectly reasonable and that tomorrow we’d figure out who it was. Importante reminded us we live in a community and that our community has standards that must be upheld.
It’s true: I have standards for the community I choose to live in. San Nicolas and the RHA barely meet any of them. Last quarter, the sprinklers on the San Nic lawn were broken for four days, completely flooding the lawn and preventing people from sunbathing, playing Frisbee or, in short, from, doing wholesome community-type things. Many of us residents complained to the RAs on duty that weekend and were told they were doing something about it. They weren’t. The lawn was a disgrace and it was useless and it really pissed off this member of the community.
To tell you the truth, editor, I’m a little nervous about this letter being published. See, the RHA is already down on me because they’re convinced that I smoke pot. Over the past few months, I count four times off the top of my head that my friends and I have been written up about marijuana use – without actually using marijuana. You see, the RAs smell it somewhere in the hallway and because for whatever reason my group of residents has been pigeonholed as potheads, they’re always knocking on our doors and writing us up.
My roommate, Resident Johnson, was written up – get this – for being asleep in a room that had a black light on. The Man – the RAs, excuse me – knocked on the door for several minutes, smelling dope in the hallway. Resident Johnson, taking a nap, did not answer the door until Resident Hankins woke him and told him of the situation. Resident Johnson had to then make an appointment with Resident Director Tony and sit through his speech about how potheads are going to burn down the building. My fellow residents and I are sick of being treated like criminals where we live. It would be one thing if we were breaking the law. We aren’t.
So, when the RHA tells me that I’m doing a shitty job maintaining the San Nic community and makes me get up from my video games to clean up someone else’s mess, I ask: What the fuck are you talking about? And can I get a refund?