Ridiculous Floor Plans and “The Drill”

My friend Brett – a fellow Monarch, Lion, and IMOPper – sent me an email with the following message:

It’s finally happened, Phil! We were prescient! I’m putting in an app right now!

The email also included a link to an article about a real estate listing in San Francisco that’s comical because it’s insane. The kitchen is the bathroom is the kitchen:


The toilet and shower stall should have been arranged in each other’s places so as to maximize multi-tasking.

As absurd as this is on its own, there’s another layer of humor laid atop this that I am more than happy to explain. Brent’s comment about our clairvoyance stems from a running joke that began during our sophomore year of college.

The layout of the suites in Rains Hall is straightforward. It is a rectangle featuring smaller rectangles:


That yellow rectangle also doubled as the “Haircuts by Boz” area.

That area designated as “toilet” is literally just that – a toilet and doors/walls that you would find in a Target restroom or other like kind-of organized public restroom. The toilet took up a small percentage of that space, so I started the joke that it would be an ideal place to put the microwave. Brett found the idea ridiculous and over time, as our humor often does, the original concept escalated to even more preposterous heights. We joked about moving the hot plate in there, too, so that we could, umm, multi-task. The apartment featured in the article above is the illogical manifestation of something my roommates and I mocked lovingly 17 years ago. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I was an idiot.


Ah, Rains!

All of this got me thinking about “The Drill”. If you lived in the dorms during your time in college, then you know of the two undeniable, inexorable truths: everyone has illegal crap in their room; fire alarms are pulled at random (the worst) times without (sober) reason. “The Drill” was borne of these two truths.

We had a microwave and a hot plate which were forbidden at the time. We had taken a couple of fold-up chairs from the quad outside Rains when they were left out after an event. One of these chairs was left open in the toilet stall, usually as a place to stack magazines or whatever other choice reading material 20-year olds owned. Brett says Derek first referred to it as the “counseling chair”. The imagery – the chair facing the toilet – made for some pretty hilarious hypotheticals, but maybe not so funny in practice. Once, when a female guest came over, she spotted the chair and asked what it was for. “Oh, that’s the counseling chair,” I said. She didn’t laugh. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I have no idea how I tricked a woman into marrying me. We took chairs from the common room (but not the one on our floor, of course). We used these chairs and the fold-up chairs whenever we had guests (rare) or whenever we didn’t want to drag our desk chairs in front of the TV (all the frickin’ time). So, whenever a fire alarm was triggered, we had to hide all of the illegal stuff in our room. We weren’t going to lose our stuff and eat a fine. “The Drill” could be run by a single person, but it was always more fun with at least one more person. I remember how brain-shatteringly loud the fire alarm in Rains was, the way it bounced off the brick walls straight into my ear canals. So. The hot plate slid under a bed. The microwave was covered crudely with towels or whatever cloth was handy (so as to not arouse suspicion). The fold-up chairs were shoved in the corner behind the toilet. We carried the common room chairs into the bath tub and shut the sliding door because we didn’t return the chairs for weeks. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I was a lazy slob. Was “The Drill” worth it? Well, we never lost our stuff and we never ate a fine, so… plus, it was fun as hell.

College, man.



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