Subdued stairways, Large windows, abnormal snapchats, familiar strangers, anomalous relatives.
These elements have summarized my summer thus far: spending days at school, and nights with my favorite people (in spirit and physical presence). But my days at school aren’t just sitting in a cold classroom next to an Asian chick with a boycut who smells like expired sunscreen while watching my weirdly cute Philosophy professor explain Moral Skepticism and occasionally, take a 3-4 second swig of his coffee (don’t tell me mum). I do a lot a school that doesn’t really involve that much, well, schooling.
I spend a lot of time in front of the vending machines, my eyes bouncing past the perfectly aligned artificially sweetened bars of colorful “chocolate,” then eventually opting for a Fiber One bar. Sometimes I turn around and ask the annoyed people behind me for an opinion if it’s becoming too difficult of a decision. I usually let them go before me, wait until they leave, and get the opposite of their choice.
Every Monday through Thursday, I spend at least two hours in the student life center. Although I have a favorite spot on the table between the three high tables to the far right, sometimes I’ll force myself to sit on another table to be fair to the rest of the tables that didn't get enough Dooby action. Sometimes I think about sitting with random strangers to make new friends, but everyone’s in their own world. Sometimes I secretly hope someone asks to sit next to me. Other times I hope they can’t see me head bobbing to The Glass Animals and devouring a veggie wrap.
There’s actually this other girl I’ve noticed there. She always wears some combination of black, red, and white, and spends much of her time dangling her legs off a neighboring chair, eyes connected to her cell phone. She has really long, black hair and shiny teeth. she reminds me of Minnie Mouse. I wonder if I remind her of anything.
I also people watch. A lot. Whether I’m outside waiting one night or returning a library book, on my way up the stairs, or as I’m seated...I watch people. Some laugh, some avoid eye contact. Some smile back, others pretend they can’t see me. Boys in miniskirts and girls in boy cuts. Some people scream into the phone, others quietly text. Some use ink pens, some pencils, and others neither. We’re all so different.
I make a point to visit the library once a week, and it isn’t because I read much. I just spend a lot of time breakdancing between aisles and hiding from people, rummaging through library titles, running my fingers over unfamiliar words, scanning indexes, editorials...it helps me humble myself. There is so much I don’t know. There is so many more things left in the world for me the experience. There is a world outside of mine.
All throughout campus, there are framed motivational posters with inscriptions that urge people to “try their best!” or “become the best version of ourselves!”. There are also infographics that inform about paramount African Americans and their civil contributions to American society that I actually relish. It’s cool to know things.
Every tile that meets my slipper, every railing that touches my cold palms tells me something. There is magic in every instance of life, every circumstance. There is light in mundane affairs, and love in polite gestures. Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone. Just change your thoughts, and you change the world.