Sunday, April 6, 2008

Overheard: Privacy at Princeton

So remember the ripped magazine outside my across-the-hall neighbor's door? Turns out that wasn't a death threat after all, but a protest against the way magazines are distributed.

Not that I asked my neighbor; I merely heard him yelling about it in the hallway. "Precedence!" he was saying, "It doesn't matter if it's a good magazine or not, I still disapprove of the method of distribution!"

Which was an interesting answer to my question, attained in a rather sketchy way. I wonder if people realize that we can hear them when they speak in the hallways. These walls are not that thick.

When I had to pull nighters, before I found the love of my life (the Forbes library), I would sit out in the hallway with my work so my roommate could actually sleep. My favorite part was always listening to the different alarms go off in all the rooms down the hall - varying from beeps to chirps to melodic chimes - as I put the finishing touches on my essay or program and night faded into groggy dawn.

A semester and a half into the school year, I know the sound of my roommate's keychain, so I can tell when she's about to come in - again, sketch city, but I cherish not having to worry about getting caught with a finger up my nose.

The rooming system is so mysterious to me. Why put us in such close quarters with people we know nothing about? I'm big on privacy, and I suspect that I snore. Is it really necessary to fit us two beds to a room? It's just such an awkward situation. I visit my friends with singles approximately 80% more frequently than I do those with roommates*.

Who decided that two was the optimal number, by the way? Why aren't there more singles? Why aren't there more quads? Who came up with this system anyway?

*This is not an exact calculation nor has it been verified by experts, supported by data, or in fact calculated at all. Any important bets as to its precision should be turned down.