Full disclosure: I just saw a massive slab of concrete and my miserable reflection in the window.
It’s midterm season which means it’s also burrowing-myself-in-the-sub-basement-level-of-the-John-D.-Rockefeller-Library- season. Why the sub-basement level? Because I have the attention span of a dying mosquito. I have to choose my study spot very carefully in the library and the sub-basement level is perfect because it hits the right combo of not being completely above-ground (too many well dressed people to look at) and not being totally underground (too bleak and uncomfortably close to the spirit of Satan). I also really like the sub-basement area because it has nice windows which allow for some sun to enter both your life and your heart and because it has great views like this one!
Honestly, there’s nothing more inspiring than looking out your window after spending a few hours at the Rock trying to determine the “primary cause of war” for what’s clearly the world’s most consequential essay and seeing this monster of a concrete slab. As the sleep deprivation-induced delirium starts kicking into my brain, I feel this slab start to acquire a personality of its own and I want to ask it so many questions. Like, how many people have you seen cry down here? Why are you so plain looking? Do you ever, like, want someone to spray paint you with graffiti? If you could have any graffiti tattoo, what would it be?
ALSO, what’s with the door???? Is that how you get to Narnia around these parts? Does C-Pax go in there when she’s absolutely fed up with Provost Locke?
I understand that this wall thing is what upholds the ramp going into the library but what I don’t understand is how no one’s bothered to draw anything on it. Like, I’m not advocating for vandalism but this slab is srsly the largest, plainest-looking rock canvas that I have ever seen. Like you could hang sooo many motivational posters on this thing which I think would be nice. Idk.
After spending so much time sitting at this wooden desk next to the window looking out at the world’s most fascinating concrete blob, I’ve also developed a method to assess how hard I’ve worked throughout the evening by periodically glancing at my reflection which grows clearer in the window as it gets darker outside and seeing how far my bun has drooped down the back of my head. I believe that there’s a strong indirect correlation between the amount of labor I’ve put in and how deflated and sad my bun looks. I often make a silent vow to myself when I sit down for the first time that I won’t leave until I look in the window and see that what was once my tidy top bun– worthy of the world’s most hardcore 4th grade substitute teacher–has turned into a loose low knot fitting for the world’s most defeated, but still vaguely trendy, college student.
In any case, the sub-basement level of the Rock is super great for studying and writing but I do feel that the University could do a bit more to improve the aesthetics outside the window, specifically with this really obnoxious concrete block. Like if y’all could bring whoever was in charge of the School of Engineering’s glo up to this part of campus that would be great. Thank you.
Images via Sarah Clapp and Priyanka P.