By Gilligan Gonzo —
About halfway to Jarvis Hall the edges of my vision started to constrict inward. The world was slowly fading away as my brain, desperate for sleep, had finally had enough and decided to call it quits, and for the first time in nearly a week, I fell asleep.
The concrete woke me up. It felt like I had been sleeping for hours, but really it had only been the several seconds it took for gravity to pull me from my standing position on my long board to a twisted sprawl on the cold, unforgiving sidewalk. I stood up and decided that it was time for another coffee.
Fresh pots, Brew Devil had them, and I needed them. As I approached the counter, the barista smiled and made some sounds. If they were words my mind had slipped too far away to hear them. Unable to make out what she said, I responded with, “Hi, yes, good morning, I’m great, thanks, I’ll have two cups of Joe.” She nodded and jabbered another nonsensical sentence at me. This time I didn’t know what to say, so I just smiled and replied, “Two cups please.” She continued to babble, and I could see her left eye begin to twitch. I repeated myself, “Two cups.” The twitch picked up pace. Nervous, I spoke up, “I need two cups of coffee!” The twitch hit Mach speed, and the barista erupted into a maniacal dance of arm flailing as she screamed. This time, a few words came through, “That…dollars… and 57 cents!”
I paid for my coffee and received my two cups. I downed one on the spot so that I had a free hand to carry my board out of the MSC. As I left, I thought about how much it must cost to keep a building in good shape. It must be hard to do upkeep on buildings when there’s limited funds to pay the upkeepers.
The buildings themselves are a huge financial burden. Ask any Wisconsin student what it’s like paying the utility bill in the Winter and they’ll tell you—with frost spewing from their chapped lips after unwrapping the three scarves from covered their face—that it sucks. I’d suspect the same response from administration.
“What is it like keeping warm air pumping through such a monstrosity?” “Well, Mr. Gonzo,” they’ll say, “it sucks … like a Dyson vacuum.”
I entered Jarvis and continued my thought as I climbed the stairs. Do we really need all the buildings? If we’re strained for cash, and they’re all a bunch of Dysons, just abandoning one would save a boatload of money. What does a proper teaching establishment require? Just a roof to keep the rain and snow off the laptops I suspect. Has administration ever looked into buying circus tents?
As an image of my professor, Dr. Ogden, swinging from a trapeze while lecturing flickered through my mind. I reached my destination. In front of me was a giant crack in the wall, reaching from the floor to the bottom of a display case.
“Jesus, Mr. Jarvis,” I said, “I haven’t seen this much crack since I last called the plumber.” Silence. “Sorry, lame joke, so how’s it going Jar-Jar?” I asked the building. “Meesa not bad,” the voice of Jarvis bellowed through the hall. I knew a Star Wars joke would get him to speak, nerd. “Well,” I replied, “this crack here seems to say otherwise.” The building was silent for a few moments until he said, “I was just getting comfortable.”
“Getting comfortable.” I had heard that before. Had the buildings conspired to get their story straight, or was I just paranoid from a lack of sleep? “What is this,” I asked, “why are you and the others being shifty?” I received no response. “Jay? Jack? John? Mr. Jarvis? Sir?”
The hall was dead quiet as I removed my camera from its case. I snapped a few photos of the crack and left the building. It looked like this story had come to a dead end; the buildings weren’t going to cooperate.
I carried my board home. The caffeine was wearing off and I didn’t have money for more. I tipped the barista all I had, because that twitch told me she’d kill me if I didn’t.