At the end of my sophomore year of college I managed to line up a job as an RA for my junior year. Since I was going to have to be a week late for my training in the summer, I had to spend the last three weeks of my sophomore year as an acting RA. I was so excited. A paycheck and free housing? Best job ever!
I showed up to my first day of work bright eyed, bushy tailed, and wholly naive. My boss told me I would be on duty that night. I was RAing in my college apartment complex where all of the apartment doors opened to the outside. All I had to do was walk around the whole complex at 10pm, 12am, and 2am. Other than that, if anyone called the RA cell all I had to do was call security, and they would take care of everything.
So I took the RA duty binder and the cell and walked proudly to my apartment ready for my first night as a glorified hall monitor. I patrolled at 10pm. I patrolled at 12am. I even patrolled at 2am. And triumphant, I went to sleep. But then the RA phone rang. That stupid phone woke me up! Summoning my best perky voice I answered, “Cokesbury RA, how can I help you?”
“This is the head of security. We have a situation, and I need you down here now.”
No one had warned me about “a situation.” But I pulled on my sweatshirt and flip flops and headed down to the offending apartment. Waiting for me was the head of security: a spunky, tiny, scary little woman who lived in the apartment complex. She also had four security guards with her, all of whom were burly guys over six foot yet somehow not as frightening as the angry little woman. The female head of security had seen someone drive recklessly into our apartment complex and pull what looked like a case of beer out of his trunk before going into his apartment. Since we lived on a dry campus, beer was a big no-no.
The head of security greeted me with an evil little gleam in her eye and told me that I had to knock on the door. Not one of the four big security guards, no. Me. So, I went to the offending door. Knock, knock, knock. “Cokesbury RA, open up.” No answer. Knock, knock, knock. “Cokesbury RA, open up,” I said louder. Still no answer.
“Maybe they left,” I said hopefully.
“Get the master key,” the head of security told me.
I didn’t know we had a master key let alone how I was supposed to find one. She instructed me to go into the dark office, switch off the security system, peek under my boss’s desk where I’d find a combination to a safe in the closet floor. At this point I was fairly convinced that this was a sick hazing ritual. And my feet were cold. So I went into the warm office, shut off the security system, looked under my boss’s desk where there was actually a combination to a safe that really was hidden in the closet floor. I found the master key, which conveniently said “master” in sharpie across the top.
I grabbed my prize and went back to the security posse who were still impatiently waiting for me.
“Knock again, and tell them that you’re coming in if they don’t open the door,” little miss security told me.
“Me?!” I asked in absolute shock and horror. “But you’re the security guards!”
I was kindly informed that campus policy dictated that I must enter first. Clearly campus policy needed some rethinking. But I knocked again. “Cokesbury RA, please open up or I will come in.” I tried to keep the desperate pleading in my voice to a minimum. But alas, there was no answer. So I put the key in the lock, turned it, and entered the studio apartment. In the far corner of the room was an obese albino man with his legs wrapped around his laptop on his desk masturbating.
Before I could really understand what I had walked in on, the head of security grabbed me by the face and pushed me back outside. I laughed and cried leaning against the wall as the four big security guards went in and instructed my new big albino friend to put on pants.
Finally, the head of security came back out and told me I had to go in and take the man’s statement. Blushing, I went into the apartment. It was littered with beer cans that security was already confiscating along with his porn collection (yes, porn was banned, too). I went over to the man and without making eye contact I asked for his name and social security number. “Wha?!” was his only response as he shook his head blankly. He was deaf. The poor man was deaf and had never even heard me knocking.
I sat up into the wee hours of the night working on my incident report. I went in the next morning, and as I dropped the duty binder onto my boss’s desk I casually remarked that I hoped it was alright to use the word “masturbation” in an incident report then bolted out of the door to class.