Seeing this in a corner off the Montclair Art Museum‘s lobby reminded me of a stupid night I had with a friend while in college. It must have been my freshman year, and we went to our first “Around the World” party at one of the largest residence halls on campus. Twelve floors of various lounges and rooms that served spiked drinks into paid-for and marked plastic cups. He agreed to watch my drinks, and I agreed to be his female companion at a time before I knew what “A Beard” actually was.
At some point, he and I became bored with the repetition (who knew that “Around the World” didn’t actually have anything to do with international drinks?), and we started exploring the unfamiliar building. Somehow, we came upon a dumbwaiter. A dumbwaiter* that actually opened and seemed to be in working order. He somehow managed to climb in to the tiny space, and we were about to close the door and send him down (or up) when I asked, “Wait. Where do I meet you?” The stupidity of the moment cut through the grain alcohol haze, and I pulled and he squeezed his way out.
Both of us were responsible, smart, often Friday night board-game playing college students — and we still almost, quite possibly, created a situation in which my friend could have gotten seriously hurt. Even killed.
Once I became a resident assistant, I always told that story to my incoming freshmen to remind people that stupid stuff while drunk still counts as stupid. Even so, we probably sent at least one person to the hospital a weekend with alcohol poisoning. Just recently, I read that a freshman was found passed out in the snow on the road up to the college. She died. Warnings are not enough to stop people from being stupid.
* Why a college, or any organization, would have an unlocked dumbwaiter in a building that held hundreds of college-aged kids is beyond me.