Saturday, March 01, 2003

The Kids In The Hall

Actual kids in our actual hall during a blackout

Dorm parenting isn't as bad as most people think it is. Being one of a small group of people in power over a large population 24/7 serves the ego sinister; the kids themselves respect and look us to us, and only bother us once or twice a day -- it is more the fact of our presence than the exercise of our authority that serves the purpose of in loco parentis for most kids most of the time. We get free housing, free utilities, free maintenance, free snowplowing. And we get to live year-round in a beautifully maintained landscape like a small wealthy middle arts college, sharing it only eight months a year with our workplace and 1100 high school students.

In other words, there are perks, mostly psychological, small victories related to the job and its contained status.

Like: it's break, and so Willow and I went out into the long dormitory hall late this morning to throw the ball for the dog while Darcie took a nap.

When break rolls around the kids don't have to go home -- but they can't stay here. Many go to New York or Boston to hang out with friends; some rent ski condos and illegally cram 15 of their friends on the floor each night; undecided seniors and midprocess Juniors visit colleges. But most go home, many even if home is Korea or Japan.

They're gone for two weeks, between trimesters after the longest consecutive run of class weeks in the whole school year (seven, and worse because of the snow and cold). It gets quiet, and the dog knows that the kids are gone. Once again the dorm is her playground. Once again it's ours.

Which explains the dog wagging her tail by the kitchen door, the one that leads in to the student residence hall, when I woke up at 11.

Which explains why Willow and I were in the hall, her sitting on her own safely between my outstretched legs on the carpeted floor, no kids in sight, breaking the rules playing ball in the hallway, by 11:30.

Which explains everything, somehow, about the joys of dorm life.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:00 PM |

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