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Commentary: Snow in the Dorms?

Campus was covered in snow just a few weeks ago. Early voting, early snowing, I guess—everything early this year. Students from Minnesota were indifferent to this phenomenon, of course. Just a “dusting” in their eyes. But to the rest of the student population, the sight of snowflakes drifting softly to the ground in October was cause for grumbling. I didn’t mind it as much as others, actually. 

Then again, I had my own snowstorm to worry about.

From the very second I set foot in my dorm room, the place has been coated in dust. Talk about the first snow of the year; I’ve already witnessed it. It’s as if some guy with dandruff stepped into my room, took out a hairdryer, and set it on high. Or for perhaps a more palatable example, it’s like one of those Chevy commercials aired around the holidays with the artificial snow and a car donning a big red bow. My room is covered in that artificial snow.

First world problem, yeah, I know. I should be thankful I have shoes on my feet, a bed to sleep in, and a roof over my head. There are far more pressing issues in the world like hunger, poverty, and deciding how many shots of espresso to get in your caramel mocha. Trust me, I’m not trying to be petty here. You rarely ever hear me complain. I’m not even a germaphobe, really. It’s not like I need every room I walk into to be up to par with hospital-level sanitation. But when I’ve got dust balls floating around my room the size of the meatball kabobs they serve in the dining hall, I hope you can see that I’m justified in my annoyance.

The dust is like the Hydra sea monster from Greek mythology. Cut off one head, and two more grow back. For the dust, every time you wipe a layer off, half an hour later, even more, settles down. I’m Sisyphus, pushing a boulder up a mountain only for it to roll back down again. At this point, I feel like I’m waging war with the Japanese Army of World War II. The pieces of dead skin just… won’t… surrender. Doubling the Clorox wipe count only makes them angrier. Like Bob Dylan said, “You can’t win with a losing hand,” and up against this beast, I stand no chance.

“It’s dust,” you say. “My local library serves it at charity dinners.”

This is no ordinary dust, my friend. Look, I’m not a snake. It’s humanly impossible to shed the amount of skin I find taking a nap on my desk every hour of the day. Really, it’s impossible. You’ve got your regular, household dust, which, for the sake of an example, will be compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 cyborg in The Terminator. Or perhaps the standard eight-dollar drive-thru car wash option. Whatever’s easier to picture. Then we’ve got my dust, which can be likened to Robert Patrick’s T-1000 cyborg in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, or the deluxe car wash option with all the swanky soaps. Harrison Ford would take one look at this phenomena and bark, “It belongs in a muSEUM!” 

Get the idea? Completely different ballpark.

To add to that, talk about lung damage people get from second-hand smoke… I’d argue this is far worse. I wake up in the morning sounding like Wheezy the penguin from Toy Story, my eyes redder than a meth addict.

And the thing is, the source of this plague is a mystery so unsolvable it’d stump even Penn & Teller. I’ve had the lower air unit’s filter changed at least three times, and the custodial team dust my room. Honestly, I’d say we’re closer to finding the vaccine for COVID than the source of this dust.

In fact, the HVAC guy has taken my call so often I’ve started to think of him, not unlike my barber back home. Our typical conversation:

HVAC guy enters my room.

“The usual?”

“Uh-huh.”

Ah, what would a college freshman’s first semester be like without joys like this…

So if you’re looking to experience a real-life snow globe, come on down to my dusty shack.

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