Sunday, December 11, 2011

Awake in a Sleeping Dorm: Or, Transient Places During Break

The dorm is asleep.

It isn't dead. The few who are staying for the first weekend of the winter break move quietly through the halls. I can hear, occasionally, the hum of an elevator, or footsteps. Sometimes, the rush of water through a shower head. Once, giggling, and the tones of a soap opera.

But the building is asleep. Normally, eight hundred people live here. Perhaps sixty or seventy are here now. I've seen the same five or six people maybe nine times. Some of us, including myself, are still trying to figure out how to navigate this building. The University doesn't allow you to stay in other dorms during break; just the new, fancy one. My own room - my home - is locked.

So I'm staying here. South Campus is extremely transient normally - the architecture is hotel-like, the sofas are institutional, there is a lot of plastic. You use cards to enter the rooms. The mazes of hallways (ok, not that mazelike, but forgive me, I'm new) have office-carpeting. It's a bit of a strange place.

Before tonight, I only knew how to get to two places in South:

1. My ex's old room. Not going there in a million years.

2. My friend Douglas' room. (Where I'm staying now)

Now I can navigate the East Wing a bit. I haven't stayed here long - I was out for most of the day yesterday - but it's straightforward.

And it's a bit surreal staying here.

I'm in an enormous lounge with tons of furniture, houseplants, and people's things...alone. I go to the bathroom and no one's there. Someone comes out of the room and I'm surprised to see them.

I could hear a pin drop in the hallway where forty people live.

I feel like a tourist inside some sort of ruin. Or perhaps walking through someone else's life. It's a bit strange. It's travelling, but it's travelling on my own campus. It's if I've walked into a different world, simply by staying another weekend.

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