I lived in the dorms at SJSU for most of my time there. I had a blast—it was rather a party atmosphere, and I got in a ton of pent-up socializing. In fact, I think the socialization aspect of my time in the dorms was more important to my personal growth than the courses I took. I’d been a reject/long hair/introverted/pimply little geek in high school, and here I had a chance to remake myself….somewhat.
So, I lived in Joe West dormitory. The only high-rise dorm on campus, it was twelve stories high, and I was at the top. Here’s a picture I found on the net:
That’s the general idea. I’m not certain due to the angle of the photo, but i’m pretty sure my room would have been out there off to the left—beyond the photo’s edge—at the top corner.
So we had pretty sweeping views of …the hazy San Jose area. Not much to appreciate, but on a clear day, you could see the Santa Cruz mountains, and it could be pretty.
One of my obsessive-compulsive issues is clean glass. I hate having a dirty windshield on my car, and dislike dirty windows where I live. So naturally, the windows had to be cleaned.
If you look at those concrete boxes that jut out around the windows, if you look closely—say that very bottom one left of center—you may be able to see that the center divider didn’t butt up to the window, it actually left a gap of about a foot and a half between it and the window.
So, one balmy spring evening, I decided to wiggle my way out onto that thing so I could clean the outside of the glass. Yep, there was no restriction—the windows slid left to right fully, and if someone were inclined to jump, nothing would stop them.
But I only went out there to clean the glass, you see. So I’m out there, back pressed up against that middle column, so I’m very safely tucked in there. I’m whistling as I work, spritz-spritz with the ammonia, wipe wipe with the paper towels.
Sliding windows means that if you don’t close the one you first opened, you can’t clean that narrow strip of the other window that’s blocked by it.
So, I closed it.
Oh. Uh. Right. The window had a latch. Of course. Of course! I had locked myself out on the concrete waffle.
My roommate was off at class. I was out on a precipice. I was kind of scared. I get a bit of vertigo, but I was wedged in well, with the actual edge two feet away, and this big concrete column at my hip, so I wasn’t going anywhere.
But everyone in the buildings had always wondered just how firmly those waffles were attached. Rumor had it they were engineered efficiently, with only enough support to hold them on. So what would my then 180 or so pounds do? That worried me a bit. I’d been out there for some minutes cleaning the window, and the thing hadn’t dropped off, so I couldn’t imagine it doing so later. But still. The mind wanders in such a situation.
Eventually—I think after about 45 minutes—my roommate Ted got back from class. He walked in, looked over, and doubled over laughing at the sight of me reclining out there.
I was less amused.