My Dormitory Life
Compared with the forty year old shabby dormitory I am living in now, the one I lived in for three years in high school was heaven: three students shared one brand new suite with air conditioners and a bathroom.
In three years time we changed it thoroughly:the color of the floor turned from bright pink into muddy gray, and the closet a hive of insects proliferating among piles of rotten fruit.And our masterpiece was the bathroom, a never drying swamp which served as the habitat of various kinds of mold, and even rodents, rats would occasionally take the trouble to pay us a visit, and.., all three of us felt like sobbing when we at last had to say good bye to our lovely filthy dormitory. Maybe it is because that the dormitory had changed us as well as we'd changed it.
The first lesson our dormitory taught us was to look after ourselves. Frankly speaking, we were not good students at all. I still remember the underwear that was soaked in soapy water for one and a half years before it was finally thrown away. Almost each of the boys' dormitories had gradually developed its own unique "fragrance" usually a mixture of rotten fruit, unwashed socks, stunk towels and some junk food. We could tell one dormitory from another by sniffing instead of looking. Our tolerance towards untidiness was amazing.
However, in spite of all this, we really did make some progress. Bit by bit, we started to wash dirty clothes before they stunk, cleaned the garbage bin when it could hold no more trash, we even used brushes in a not-sc-successful attempt to refurbish the floor. The point was that we were not obeying any order, we did every bit of the cleaning for ourselves, because we wanted to live in a better place. Though nothing we did could be called an achievement, it was the first time we fully bore the consequences of our behavior, and took the responsibility.
Thus it was not surprising that I often found myself the only one to clean up my university dormitory which looked no better than a garbage bin when my roommates felt normal of it.
When talking about our dormitory life, and probably all the dormitory life, we should never leave out one thing. This was what we called "bed talks". Though it was considered "illegal,"there was nothing to stop us from deliberately starting a heated discussion right after lights were out. It was our favorite and the only way of ending our day, and we were as punctual for it as our parents are for work. What was the most common topic?Girls, of course! What other topics were there for three energetic adolescent males lying comfortably in bed? We judged them,ranked them, argued over them night after night without feeling the slightest sense of boredom for three whole years. Were we
maniacs? Who is not a maniac at eighteen?
Of course, there were other things we talked about. I still remember one night six of us squeezed ourselves in the most uncomfortable posture onto three beds and held a "conference" discussing whether we should carry out an "impeachment" with our monitor the following day. It was not that he was troubled in any sort of scandal, but that we were just so disappointed at his work. By one o'clock in the morning, we finally came to a conclusion that included two major points. First, we could not reach an agreement on what our monitor's problems really were, because everyone had his own opinion. Second, we could think of nobody suitable to substitute him. From the next day on the six idealistic extremists turned into pragmatic realists. We signed a peace treaty with life, and as to our monitor, he turned out to be the best one in school.
I assume that this is how those "bed talks" changed us. Ask any psychiatrist and you'll know (because this is exactly what they do to their patients) that to lie comfortably in bed is the only way to make someone open his mind. Therefore during bed talks we were able to touch the most intrinsic part of each other,and scrutinize the details of a totally different mind. I was amazed at realizing the great difference among people in terms of their ways of thinking, and the diversity of personalities. This changed our attitudes toward others, and made us more under standing than ever.
If you ask me, among all the bed talks, which one gave me the deepest impression, I would say it was that night when I insisted that Louis was the prettiest girl in our class and Jerry said he would rather die than agree with me. Now after three years Jerry is dating Louis and I am still single. What a quack!
Frankly, I could hardly think of anything particularly special about dormitory life. There was never such a thing that had a dramatic impact on me. All that occurred to me were bits of trivial memories, such as the tears of Lance after he was refused by a girl, the grotesque expressions on James's face when he finally got his pills for stomach ache after staying for half an hour with the school doctor who was notorious for his loquacity, and the night when Jerry dragging a broken leg hopped all the way back with an arm around my neck... These may mean nothing to outsiders, but to my roommates and me they are priceless. It was exactly through these trivial things that we grew and matured. By the time we had to say good bye to our dormitory, we all knew that we were no longer the kids of there three years before. We all knew that this precious period of time would never come back again since we were all changed by the dormitory, and because of that, we all felt like sobbing.