Seniors Mulugetta Fratkin, Mackey Borg and Chris Alston have lived together since freshman year, remaining close friends throughout their time at Macalester, despite being self-declared “unique individuals.” The trio hail from diverse regions of the country, Fratkin, is from Massachusetts (not Cincinnati, a common misconception), Borg comes from Hawaii and Alston from Georgia. The geography, economics, and sociology majors (respectively) sat down with The Mac Weekly — and many pizzas — to discuss the friendship and adventures in their apartment.
The Mac Weekly: How did you three meet?
MB: Keep it snappy, you know? Turck 4.
What was so great about that? What about T4 bonded you?
MF: Looking back, I’m not sure.
CA: I liked the people we lived with.
MB: It was a good floor.
CA: It was a very close floor.
MF: A cult.
How were you guys a cult?
CA: We had a reputation.
What did you do together on Turck 4?
MF: Kicked your ass at Smash. I got really into Smash in high school, and when I got to Macalester some kids were playing. Not these kids—
MB: A little bit these kids.
MF: A little bit these kids. I started playing with them, but they took it casually.
MB: I took it casually. He and Andrew Hansen made me dislike Smash.
MF: Now Andrew and I are equals. Actually, Andrew and I are both the reigning champions of Smash at Macalester.
MB: How can you both be reigning champions?
Tell me about your living situation this year.
MB: We each have a room…in a three-bedroom apartment.
CA: There’s a kitchen and a living room.
MB: Some minor disputes over the thermostat [looks at Chris], but besides that, it’s smooth sailing.
What are the thermostat disputes?
CA: There’s some sort of war going on there.
MB: We never have to talk about it. But whenever I walk by, it’s at a remarkably different temperature.
CA: Mulugetta talks about it.
You call your apartment The Dorm. Why is that?
MF: This summer, I had to get furniture, so I went to this big sale. I got the first table I saw, which was essentially dorm furniture.
MB: Yeah, all of our chairs roll and they’re very nicely upholstered.
MF: So we figured The Dorm was appropriate. Plus everyone else in the building is a Macalester student—
MB: So it feels like a dorm.
MF: Well, it feels like an apartment.
Do you have any rules in The Dorm?
MB: I would say it’s a pretty lawless place. It’s pretty absent of rules of any kind. We just started paying some bills.
MF: We got our first energy bill this month.
MB: We never got one. So we just let it slide and didn’t think about it for a while.
CA: It’s a very responsible dwelling.
Are there other ways you’re so responsible together?
What’s the best part about living together?
CA: No squabbles.
MF: We get along very well. We have no rules but it just kind of meshes.
Why do you think you get along so well together?
MF: We have a very high tolerance for this kind of…putting up with shit.
CA: We have an unspoken accord.
MB: It’s very hard to bother us.
CA: None of us are high drama or easily offended.
MB: I’m probably the chillest of the three.
Do you guys cook together?
MB: We had one family dinner together.
MF: When we moved in here, the people before us didn’t clean out the freezer. So we were cleaning and all of a sudden we found this massive four-pound pot roast in the freezer. It was, like, grass-fed stuff. So we had a big feast.
MB: That was the first time and the last time so far.
Do you do anything together that is particularly unique? What do you enjoy doing together?
MF: This is like therapy!
MB: I’m all for it. Ok, so sometimes I’ll be sitting at the table and one of them will come in from outside the apartment and will say, “Hey, what’s up?” And I’ll be like, “Not much, dude, some homework.” Then he’ll say, “That’s cool,” and go into his room or maybe start cooking.
CA: He’s right, that’s word for word.
MB: That’s pretty much our interaction in the abode.
CA: Sometimes Mackey comes back very drunk at the end of the night—
MB: I don’t think that’s true.
CA: And we’ll have a conversation about his night and about life.
MB: Mulugetta’s asleep for this. Those are great conversations.
What do you talk about?
What about girls do you talk about?
MB: Chris’s problems.
MB: Our presences on Tinder. I no longer have a Tinder presence.
Because of these conversations?
MB: No, because I was very bad at it. I didn’t get any matches and it made me sad.
CA: Except fake people on Tinder.
MB: Yes, I got connected with those kids. We’re headed in a very personal direction.
What else do you do together in the apartment?
MB: I’m currently in the process of brewing beer.
CA: But it just has not gotten to the bottling stage…for a few months now.
MF: Yeah, you made a first batch and it’s just been sitting in this cupboard.
MB: That’s not how I remember it.
CA: But he’s planning to bottle it soon.
MB: It’s gonna be good.
CA: We’re gonna drink it regardless.
MB: Here’s another thing: Sometimes Chris talks to people through the intercom and they don’t know and they’re just chilling on the front stoop. They know they’re being talked to; they don’t know who it is or why he’s talking to them.
CA: I just see people out front.
MF: We’re going to make a calendar. This summer, I got really into drawing and so one of our ideas was to make a nude calendar for our door.
MB: We’re going to have a nude calendar coming out soon. Hand-drawn by Mulugetta.
So these guys are going to pose naked for you, Mulugetta?
MB: And him for himself. We haven’t really asked Chris about this yet. Do you want to be a part of this?
CA: Oh yeah, absolutely.
MB: So expect that.
MF: We’ll be coming out with that sometime in April, maybe for my birthday.
Are you going to distribute these across campus?
MB: That would be kind of illegal, I think.
MF: Distributing? It’s art.
CA: If they’re minors…
MB: This took a turn.
What else do you do together?
MF: We like to eat three-month-old cookies sometimes and go to bars. But then we either freak out or run away.
CA: Occasionally, when I’m napping, Mackey will start singing “I Feel Good.”
How does that make you feel?
MB: Probably bad.
CA: It’s fine, generally though it’s the same refrain—
MB: I only know one verse of the song.
The “I feel good” part?
How did you cope with being apart over study abroad? You all went to different countries, right?
CA: I was in Argentina.
MF: What do you mean “cope”?
MB: You’re supposed to say the name of the place, dude.
Cope—was it really hard to be away from each other because you guys have lived together for so long?
CA: We coped well.
MB: We coped pretty well. I think I emailed Mulugetta once.
Did you miss each other?
MB: We knew we were coming back…because we’re so close.
What is your favorite moment you’ve had in the apartment?
MF: Oh, magical moment: our bathtub was really clogged and disgusting. For a good week I could not go in the shower. So one day I went into the bathroom and our tub was miraculously clean, not just undrained but magically clean—
MF: And I asked Chris what happened, and he was like, “I have no idea.” Apparently he had tried pouring Drano down it, like a whole bottle or a bucket, and it didn’t work. Then Mackey went and showered in this disgusting shower—
MB: I didn’t have a problem with it.
MF: And then he apparently knocked over someone’s shampoo and it spilled everywhere in the tub and it just cleaned it.
MB: I accidentally cleaned the tub with the shampoo.
CA: But it also made the drain run better.
MB: It’s pretty exciting. This is our lives. We’re very exciting people.
CA: We talk about it a lot.
MB: Once, I accidentally cleaned a drain really well.
MF: We’re trying to work on the toilet now. And we have over 200 bars of soap.
You guys are really making the best of this opportunity to tell the campus what you want them to know about you.
CA: We’re clean.
MB: I told you we should’ve prepared for this. He was making fun of me for wanting to prepare.