Oh my word, did you just bring back some memories!! I wasn't an RA, but my roommate was. Most RAs at my school had private rooms, but while I was there, the college built a complex of 4-person townhouses that were for seniors, and the RAs there had roommates.
OK, so kep in mind that this was the late 80s, long before cell phones. Each hall had a house phone that could call other house phones, and they could also take calls from off campus. For the townhouses, some genius decided to put the house phones in the RAs' actual townhouses. (The other houses did have normal phone hookups, of course, and people who lived in them got their own phone service as you would in an apartment.)
Oh man, what a nightmare. Students would call the house phone asking for people who lived elsewhere in the complex. The complex covered 7 acres or so, and there was no way the 4 of us could, or should, walk across it and get people to answer phone calls in our HOUSE. Now, it wasn't totally their fault, since it was listed in the college directory simply as "Townhouses: Women's Area," but they should have thought for a second and realized that calling someone that way was just not practical...where did they think that phone was going to ring? Worse, people would call from off campus...people's parents and so forth.
We explained over and over that this particular phone was inside the RA's house, and to please call the house of the person they were looking for. They got really annoyed. We called the switchboard over and over and begged them to change the wording to "Townhouse: Women's RA Residence" but they refused.
But the worst was someone's mother, who was on the warpath looking for her daughter's roommates from the previous summer, who had skipped out on the little darling and left her with some unpaid bills. She was already plenty PO'd before she made the call, and my inability to immediately connect her with the deadbeats almost sent her over the edge. I can hear her in my mind's ear now, "BUT YOU HAVE TO! YOU'RE THE RA!!!" When I read the thread title, I flashed right back to it.
I really wanted to say, "Ma'am, I'm not the RA, I'm her roommate, and I don't HAVE to do anything. I can hang up this phone and walk out and won't you be up a creek." As it was, I did know the girls in question, and I promised Mom I would tell them to call her.
We should have just unplugged the stupid phone. The calls finally did taper off and stop as people figured it out, but what a pain.