The second night back at Columbia during my senior year, I went out with some swimmers. After a long night of drinking I stumbled back to my new dorm room that was located in the EC building. I returned to my room in one piece, and proceeded to pass out on the bed. Mind you, I was back in NYC so early that all my storage from the previous year had yet to arrive, so I was sleeping on a bed with no sheets, and my roommate who might be able to lend me some sheets has not yet arrived. I was forced to wrap myself up in my parka and a couple of the winter jackets that I packed with me on the plane. Oh, did I mention I was sleeping in the buff (i'm not sure why...perhaps it was the thing to do at the time).
At some point in the middle of the night, I wake-up to go pee. In my incredibly sleepy and totally discombobulated mindset, I stumble out of bed and head in the direction of the bathroom. I open up the bathroom door, and walk into the bathroom...man, it was a bright bathroom. WAIT, this wasn't the bathroom, this was the dorm hallway! Oh no! And.........my dorm room door slams shut behind me! My muddled brain manages to process this information.....the door is locked, and I'm stuck in the hallway! This isn't happening, this isn't happening. Oh my god, it is happening, this is really happening.
For what seems like an eternity, I snap out of the sleepy doldrums and I grab a discarded cardboard box to use as a barrier between my body and any embarrassment I might incur as a result of my situation. This, however, has yet to solve the issue. The door still remains locked, and because I moved into the dorm room earlier than anyone else, the resident advisor for the floor wasn't even there. I had no way of getting back into the room, and unlike living at the frat house, I couldn't scale the side of a 20 story building.
I soaked up all the courage I had left and headed to the elevator to consult the security desk for a solution. At this point I liken the experience to no worse than when I had to parade around NYC in a Speedo for an oddly fun, yet still alienating swim team initiation ritual. As I stepped out of the elevator and into the common lobby of EC, I was astonished to find that there was no one in sight...a plus for me. I tip toe over the cold cement as quickly as one holding a cardboard box around oneself to hide one's privates from the public as one can. As I enter the security desk office, my appearance immediately solicits concern and bewilderment from the guard.
In as little time as possible, I recount my story and situation to the guard and plead for help. Sadly, he has no way of getting into my room, and suggests I head to the key center at Columbia, which so happens to be open 24/7. Mind you, I'm currently at 119th st and Amsterdam street, and the key center is at 114th st and Broadway, a full 5 block and 1 full avenue between me and a key back to my room. Only carrying a box to separate and protect my family jewels from the wild and crazy inhabitants of New York City, I rapidly decide this is a terrible option for me. Instead, I pick up the campus telephone, ring the key office, plead my case, and convince to have the only key office worker on staff hand deliver my key.
Victory indeed, however, I still had to endure another 15 minutes of the situation. The worst part of it all was that the key center worker requested I remain in the security office so that I was easy to find. I'm fairly positive it's not terribly difficult to spot a half naked man walking around, using a cardboard box as his Haute couture.
Of course while I'm waiting the inevitable happens, a group of drunk frat-type guys trickle into EC. Strangely enough, instead of receiving hateful tongue lashings from the group, they offer assistance, in so much that one of them to removed their shirt to give it to me. It was a great offer, but to put on the shirt would require that I let go of the box, and that certainly wasn't happening. The group scuttled along, and left me waiting for the key master, who finally arrived a full 20 minutes after I called.
The key center worker wasn't at all stunned by the situation, and simply muttered, "I've seen worse." I can only imagine what that might have been. I was safely escorted back to my room, where I was let in, and told to not let this happen again. I expressed my deepest appreciation and regards to the key master for making the journey to come and save my ass (literally), and I headed back to bed.