The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Three friends find a home in Haines

Walking onto Haines second, it’s easy to tell where the magic is. Music and laughter float out into the hall from the Haines co-op, as residents Austin Morris, Austin Cote and Vernon Jackson (all ’15) enjoy a typical Tuesday night. Dubbed “Narnia,” these roommates believe that there is something special, and perhaps a little mysterious, about their room.

“There’s something that attracts people to this room,” Jackson speculated. “We threw a party recently, and people who we didn’t even know, complete strangers, wandered in.”

Indeed, there is a unique aura about the space. Eclectic furniture and wall hangings dot the room, leading the eye in several directions at once. Despite the illusion of a cluttered existence, Cote was confident that there is a logic to the apartment.

“This is Zion, my room,” Cote said. “It’s blue, cool and has more of a nature vibe.”

Roomates of Narnia turn and gaze through the wardrobe. Photograph by Tela Ebersole.
Roomates of Narnia turn and gaze through the wardrobe. Photograph by Tela Ebersole.

This stands in contrast to both Morris’ and Jackson’s rooms, which each have their own personality. Morris’, known as the “Grand Poo-Baa,” has red lights up and down his walls, giving one the impression that they’re entering a dark, exclusive enclave. Jackson’s, on the other hand, is more lighthearted, with pictures of France and used boxes of “Little Debbie” treats decorating the room.

“I put them up there to remind myself how much I was eating and discourage me from eating more, but it hasn’t really worked,” Jackson explained. “In fact, I think it just makes me crave them.”

Although each of the friends has their own separate room, they spend most of their time in the communal space. As large as any normal dorm, the living space holds a couch, television and battered chair named “Narnia,” which gives the dorm its name.

“You’ll sit down with a controller or something, and then when you get up, it’s gone!” Jackson said. Their current working theory is that somewhere in between the giant cushions is a portal to the magical land of Narnia.

“We’ve lost our TV remote now, for like, a goddamn year, and we’re pretty sure it’s still in that chair,” Cote added.

Beyond the chair, the three roommates were quick to point out the central location of the television in the space, as a favorite pastime of theirs is getting into TV shows and videogames together.

“Remember last year, when we were all into ‘Community’?” Jackson recalled wistfully, “Every time we’d have a free half-hour we’d make a call to each other, grab an Outtake and just come back here and watch it.”

Classic games such as Pokémon, Halo, Civilization and Fallout seem to have a special place in the room. “Low-key” decorations can be found scattered around the room, celebrating their hobby.

“That flag over there,” Cote said, pointing at a flag with a two-headed bear adorning it, “that’s a New California flag from ‘Fallout: New Vegas.’ Not many people know that.”

Certainly, all of the decorations have a story behind them, from the wooden katana above Morris’ room, to the curious painting of a stormy sea, perched right above the television.

“This painting is us,” Cote pronounced proudly. “I am the sea, because I still swim, and it’s powerful and overwhelming … Vernon is the seagull, cause he’s, like, flying, and just up there chilling … and Austin is [artist] Robert Wee.” 

“Why?” Morris said. “Because I saw it and decided that I was going to be different.” Although he later articulated that he picked Wee as his character because he was the creator of the portrait, just as Morris is the creator of the room.

Before ending the interview, Jackson was insistent on letting the world know one thing: “That we all truly love each other!” to which his roommates responded with laughs and an awkwardly long tickle fight.

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