In order to fully comprehend my journey into the bowels of exceptional luxury and back again, some background is necessary. I am a freshman, and this fact alone should conjure images of, as my admission tour guide called it, “quaint lodging.” I live in a double in the basement of Williams Hall. Although I have accepted my situation, I have only reluctantly learned to love my Lilliputian living space. So I approached “Campus Cribs” with trepidation, fearing that it might very well make me question my own existence of squalor.
It was with these thoughts in mind that I slipped my way through the disgusting weather conditions toward Hoxsey Street, heading to the room of Cullen Roberts ’10. I reached Milham House, an unassuming building with nothing to distinguish it from its neighbors, and steeled myself for the glory I was bound to behold within. I clambered over the endless pairs of running shoes littering the porch and made my way into the foyer. The first thing I noticed was the smell of the air. It was not quite the aroma of freedom, but there was a tangible lightness that played off the musty scents that I am accustomed to in Frosh Quad. I eventually found Roberts’ room, number 102, and crossed the doorway into a world more reminiscent of the Gilded Age than of Williams College.
Roberts had been expecting me, and though he was not wearing a paisley smoking jacket, he was obviously comfortable in his lavish surroundings. He actually seemed to be almost confused as to why someone might be interested in his room. If nothing else, this proves that Roberts is a man of utmost humility: He lives in a veritable palace. He arrived at his current abode through the mysterious whims of the co-op-housing draw. His group received its second choice, gifting it the freedom to reserve the coveted Milham House. Again, fate handed Roberts the keys to heavenly dorm satisfaction when he managed a high pick within the Milham room auction.
The space is large, the windows are numerous and the decoration is tasteful. However, these aspects alone are cast into paltry insignificance when compared with what makes Roberts’s room truly unique. Let us start with the built-in, fully stocked bar. The wood paneling that wraps the room melds seamlessly into an ornate, glass-fronted bar. It was as if I had walked into the bachelor pad of a character from AMC’s Mad Men. This room seemed better suited to that swiney but beautiful mansion at Mount Hope than just another house on Hoxsey.
Then, of course, there is the study nook. There have been no monkey carrels this year for Roberts. No, he has an immaculate space, slightly separated from the fun-loving body of the room, in which to concentrate on his academic pursuits.
The fireplace, alas bricked off, lends a further air of Gatsby-esque splendor to the surroundings. However, the most awe-inspiring aspect of the room was the double bed. If value is to be judged by rarity, then sleep is perhaps the most precious commodity for college students. The bed, though twice the size of the dorm room norm, did not overpower the exceedingly large space. I could only imagine the blissful nature of a night spent on that enormous bed.
Though the perks listed above may be the most unique, I was actually struck first by the light pouring in though the windows that blanketed most available wall space. Showing callous insensitivity to my subterranean home, Roberts’s chief complaint was his lack of wall space to use for his large poster collection. What bare wall space there had been he had covered with the usual assortment of student paraphernalia. Posters of the typical college type play nicely with more Williams-specific adornment. Roberts is a dedicated member of the track team and wanted to make sure that his school pride was readily evident in his dorm décor. He coupled this poster arrangement with a somewhat classier array of furniture. A chaise lounge and armchair provide comfortable seating and provide balance to the gigantic space. A fitting characterization for Roberts’s design ethos might be “dorm room chic.”
Throughout my brief time in his room, Roberts tried to make pleasant small talk with me. This was a losing proposition, for I was in no right mind for conversation. I was trapped in my own thoughts of jealousy and greed. I wandered around the room disjointedly with my mouth agape, imagining my life in such surroundings. Oh, how pleasant it would be. I found myself dreading the trudge back to my own, suddenly foreboding room. As I prepared to leave, I kept saying how nice it would be to live there. Perhaps I was hoping for an invitation, born out of pity, to cohabitate. Unfortunately, no offer was forthcoming. However I cannot blame Roberts, for if I had such a wondrous room, I would be loath to share it as well.