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Enough with the fire escape already

By Eli Esrig

Section: Opinions

October 14, 2016

Before I begin, let me make one thing clear: I love my room in Castle Tower B. I’ve got a big room with a sink inside it. I share a bathroom with only three other guys. If I wanted to, I could avoid seeing anybody who lives on my floor for the entirety of the semester. And yeah, at some point they’ll be kicking me out to condemn this enormous mishmash of masonry and plumbing, but for now I’m content to wring every ounce of enjoyment out of my Rapunzel-esque living quarters as humanly possible.

Unfortunately, I cannot do so. There is something that keeps me up at night, fair reader. I hear voices outside my window as I struggle to sleep. The lyrically complex verses of Kendrick Lamar drift through my walls as I do my best to scrape together a passing grade in multivariable calculus. I return to my room after a long day to find it smelling like a skunk with severe hygiene issues.

So what is it that plagues me? The ghosts of Castle residents past? The transients that live in the walls? Overly intelligent raccoons? No. What torments me is, in fact, the fire escape outside my window, five stories above the ground.

Hang-out spots at Brandeis can be quantified in terms of two categories: accessibility and beauty. The average student’s dorm room is accessible, but not very beautiful. The crystal caves underneath Usdan are beautiful, but not very accessible without a pickaxe and a working knowledge of speleocartography (the administration will tell you that the Caves don’t exist and that I am “in a lot of trouble” because I “dug a hole” in the “floor” of the ‘mail room.” They just don’t want you to know what’s down there! #fightthepower).

The fire escape outside my window has the misfortune of being both accessible and beautiful. After an easy stair climb, anybody can have a spectacular view of the Boston skyline at the low, low price of marginally lowering my quality of life.

Of course, just like republicanism and militant beekeeping, I’m inclined to believe that the most troublesome examples of this phenomenon represent a minute portion of the population. Many of the people I’ve complained to over the past semester have grinned and waxed nostalgic about the view from right outside my window. (One unfortunate first-year burst into my conversation having heard the words “fire escape” and enthusiastically told me how excited he was to go up there!) If every person who apparently has taken advantage of the view had been as distracting to me as the worst cases were, I’m sure they would have carted me off in a straightjacket a long time ago. But there are still enough distracting visits for me to put in the considerable effort of submitting an op-ed to this venerable institution.

The ideal situation would be not having a chic hang-out spot right outside my window. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon. This situation is like littering or water conservation: It requires an appeal to human decency, and it expects people to actually listen to the kind of crazy people who actually contribute to their campus newspaper.

So here’s my appeal, short and sweet: Please be civil. I understand the urge to seek out beautiful places. I understand the urge to bring beautiful people to beautiful places. I understand how wonderful it feels to be up so high and to see so much. But unfortunately, I also understand what it’s like to clutch a pillow around my ears at one in the morning to drown out the rowdy conversation outside. So, knowing full well that I cannot stop you guys from climbing the fire escape without committing a federal offense of some kind, I beg you to please, please think of the residents of Tower B.

Or, y’know, just go to Chum’s. Chum’s is pretty cool, too.

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