Five Minutes

21 Jun 16

Random Hall caught on fire today.

I was bustling around in Clam kitchen, clearing up dishes, with Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD playing in the background and Erons, Random Hall’s resident non-resident, fiddling with something at the kitchen table. There was not much to do, it being summer and all, so I paced aimlessly from my laptop to the sink, occasionally rearranging the cups and plates in the bookshelf by the kitchen window that looked into the 282 shaft.

There was ash in the air. I gave a wary look at the oven, which had already caught on fire earlier that week when Lane G. ’17 had tried roasting vegetables in it, but the oven was off.

“Hey Erons, do you smell smoke?”

We both looked out of the kitchen window and saw flames.

Ryuga H. ’18 pulled the fire alarm.

We’re holed up at Next House for the evening. It’s a decent place, albeit a bit far, with long, winding hallways reminiscent of a hotel. The floors in the rooms are tiled; the walls, monochromatic and bare. They come with what I imagine is the distinct building smell — dry and dusty, and less warm than Random Hall. The windows in my temporary room open to let in cool drafts of air that would never completely work in the shaft room that I’ve grown accustomed to. There is a small lounge area nearby, and within the hour, fellow displaced Randomites are gathered in the communal space as we are wont to do.

Even after the already long day together, we work on various things in each others’ company. Jonathan T. ’17 does the latest New York Times crossword while Arkadiy F. ’18 test-solves a puzzle hunt slated to run at Math Camp in a month. William N. ’17 pulls the landline phone off the wall while trying to order chicken fingers. Taylor S. ’17 brings his laptop out, and leaves his tablet running some Google Play Store game that apparently plays itself. Anthony L. ’15 reads surreal scientific articles on his Feedly. I accidentally lock myself out of my (and William’s) room.

Lane and several Clams decide to throw a (very tame and well-behaved) party in one of the temp rooms, with Lane threatening to throw Ryuga out a window if he sets off the fire alarm. William goes to desk to get an extra key so we can get back into our room. I hunt for Soylent while the Clam party is underway, and note that the number of individuals in the room is definitely over the legal capacity. James H. ’16 comes by with chocolate chip cookies and gets stuck at desk.

It’s been a long day where nothing’s been done, but all in all, I’m grateful for it. We’ll see how the damage is tomorrow, and then Random Hall will figure out what it’s doing for the summer.

(Also, Random Hall does not have a five- (or six-, or three-) minute burn time. At least, not when the fire starts at the top.)