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groovy train

for the moment

By Irene S. Hsu

To the dismay of all but the cold weather fanatics, the New England winter has returned to remind us that ski masks and scarves are the fashion "do" of this season. Unwilling to brave the potential frostbite incurred while venturing to the Science Center, many students have found refuge in their cozy dorm rooms. But what if the boilers broke and these heat havens became below-zero morgues? FM asked some residents of Leverett House G-tower and Matthews Hall, both of whom have come to deal with this major dilemma with ingenuity.

Besides the usual layering of clothing, Harvard students have devised unique methods to deal with the unexpected cold. Maria Padilla '96 of Leverett House suggests warming up by "sleeping with someone who retains a lot of heat." For those of us not so fortunate, many other creative ways to stay warm abound. For example, Padilla recalled a "pseudo-sleepover" in Leverett House where "everyone brought his or her own space heater and electric blanket" in order to maximize minimal and precious heat.

Many others have also employed similar electricity-draining methods to stay warm. Another Leverett House resident, Matthew Bradley '97 and his roommates "turned on all the lights" and playfully "warmed [their] hands on the light bulbs" while others kept their computers running 24 hours a day to generate life-sustaining heat. Talia Milgram-Ellcott '98 of Matthews Hall admitted to "running the hand heaters in the bathroom on full blast" to warm the air in the bathroom and make showers friendlier.

Showers stood as yet another obstacle to those braving the cold indoors. Christa Franklin '98 of Matthews Hall said her solution to the problem was to "put off taking showers until late at night because it was too cold in the morning." Dorothy Wang '97, a Leverett resident, "stood in the bathroom for half an hour after finishing with the shower because it was warm in there." Some, like an anonymous resident of Dunster House, where the hot water was shut off temporarily, decided to flaunt their natural odor and "didn't take a shower that day."

Milgram-Ellcott cited sweat pants as the key to her warming success. She and her friends "did aerobics in sweat pants and jumped around to stay warm" in the process working off the "huge quantities of hot chocolate consumed to maintain body heat."

John Miri '98 of Matthews Hall dealt with the Arctic conditions with a more efficient system: selective memory. When asked over the phone what creative ways he used to stay warm, he answered, "I think you have the wrong number." Reminded again about the lack of heat, he responded, "Oh yeah, I guess we didn't have heat for a while. I guess I blocked it out."

In general, the unfriendly, frigid conditions did not affect the attitude of these residents. Surprisingly, most were very casual and friendly about speaking of their undesirable living conditions. However, FM did experience much suspicion and hostility when calling the first-year students of Matthews Hall. Every person contacted mistook us for a crank caller, and one insolent character even laughed and then hung up. Perhaps the combination of a cold dorm room and a new environment brought back comforting memories of a warm, safe home and a parent's warning "not to talk to strangers."

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