Hell Ride `95, continued.
Getting back to the Hell Ride, we began actual substantive work on the walls that night. By this time we had quite a lot of people willing to work. It was a very exciting time. The frame for the concrete wall was erected, sealing off one end of Hell, and cementing began. At around 3 am I had to saw something for the wall, but the only power saw we had was a near-dead circular saw. I began using it,
After another few hours Marty and I were the only ones left still up and working. Together we had got half the wall cemented, and Marty was beginning to worry that we wouldn't get the cement done in time to dry. He was tired and had work (that is, school work) to do for the next day, and was pretty uptight, as were we all that night. I told him to go to bed and that I'd take care of the wall. With great reluctance that's what he did, and I was left alone with over half a wall to cement on my own. I worked hard all through the night and managed to get the job done. For some stupid reason I hadn't been wearing gloves, and the concrete literally wore the skin on my hands away. when I cleaned my hands I discovered I had no fingerprints left; the entire undersides of my hands were smooth. I had countless cuts all over, basically in the places where the skin had got so thin there was nothing left. Actually, the cuts were not countless, since as I cleaned each one with H202 I counted them --the number I got was 62. I had cuts and scrapes all over me, but my hands looked like they belonged to a dead man.
Monday morning, having finished the wall, I took a shower (a painful experience --I found it rather difficult applying soap and shampoo without the aid of hands.) Afterwards I ran into some men in Cannes who happened to ask me where the sawing had gone on the night before. I told them, then immediately called someone in Hell to have him rip all the detector condoms down. As it turns out all these men wanted to do was inspect the fire detectors, but obviously they saw the misplaced dead end, reported it, and through the course of the day word propagated through the ranks of the safety office. Finally the much-dreaded Safety representatives came by and had a long talk with Marty. They stipulated that we either take down the wall, or we would have our Hell Ride with a maximum of four people inside, with the two windows that opened to roofs left open. Furthermore, if we chose the latter option no one could sleep in Hell until the wall came down. Neither of these options appealed to us. We had spent so much time on the wall we could not imagine tearing it down. Then I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea: we could leave the concrete wall up, board up the two windows, and have no one inside! Now there's style! When (and if) the frenzied upperclassmen made it through the barriers, ready to slam a Hellful of frosh in the showers, they'd find instead a completely empty Hell. Some people thought this was a great idea; others thought it completely ruined the point of the Hell Ride and was utterly out of the question for them. We talked and talked, debated and debated (there were many, many details of the deal that I'm leaving out --yes, I'm actually leaving some things out!) Finally, after Monday's dinner when we had failed to come to a consensus, we had a big meeting and took a vote. The result: 7-7. Everyone was feeling really bad about the Hell Ride by this point, the upperclassmen knew we were in trouble, and many of us were doubting whether the Hell Ride would take place at all, in any form. I didn't know if I'd feel motivated to do any more work on it if we had to tear the wall down. Some people were saying screw Security; we'd do it the way we wanted anyway. That was completely out of the question, though. Marty and Alex were adamant about being completely honest with the authorities. While I was perfectly willing to bend some of their rules (we could easily get around their no sleeping in Hell stipulation), I did agree that we could not blatantly defy Safety. Doing so would cause huge problems for us, the house, those people in the Housing Office sympathetic and responsible for us, and, most importantly, the entire undergraduate community. People complain about the administration slowly encroaching on our freedom; a fiasco with Safety would certainly have very big repercussions. Our decision involved many issues.
At 9:00 Monday night Marty, Ravi (!), an I met with Tom Manion from housing who was "on our side", and we discussed our options. He brainstormed with us, trying to come up with viable solutions that would circumvent Safety's objections. He suggested that we might cut out part of the wall and cover it back up with a (wink) "removable" plug, so that an escape theoretically exists that we could get through if need be. Seeing all our problems would be solved, we immediately acted on this suggestion. Finally the legal issues were settled and we could get back to work. I was exhausted, though, since I hadn't slept since Saturday. I went to bed at 11pm and woke up at 11am Tuesday. In twelve hours the hole had been cut, the plug was begun, but nothing else had happened.