Phillip Myers sat in anticipation. It was the middle of the day and he was sitting in Administrative Law, waiting for his professor to dismiss class. For most people, the day was over at 5:00 PM. They could go home and enjoy the evening by watching an episode of Friends and The Bachelor while eating a cooked meal and enjoying the comfort of a well slept, well planned, and well consumed life. But not law students. Phillips life consisted of a series of study sessions, seminars, and lectures; not to mention his internship at a law firm in Cleveland. He was eager to leave class, eager to set foot outside and dash to the Student Center to grab a bite to eat before his 5:30 class on the 3rd floor.
He waited in silence on the 2nd floor of Bert L. Wolstein Hall, the building dedicated to The College of Law. Moments passed and his professor continued his lecture on hybrid vs. formal rulemaking. Philip was having trouble paying attention; the exam was three weeks away and he had too much on his mind. Thinking about law school got him thinking in all directions. His mind was drawn to other subjects, and his eyes were drawn to other places. He began thinking about the environment around him. The tree out the window, which could be cut and made into rafters. The granite window sill, which was cut and shipped from a quarry. The metal mullions that made up the window seemed to form a frame in his mind, capturing a moment in time.
He looked outside at the busy street and an older man on the sidewalk. He appeared to be in a rush, holding a briefcase and anxious to cross the street. He seemed like he could be a law professor, in his early 60s, with a mind full of data and knowledge, and an appearance that showed it. He was waiting for the light to turn red so he could cross the street. It seemed like he was waiting for hours, and that his whole life depended on that light switching colors. The street formed a boundary, a division between campus, between the “good side” and “bad side,” between the north and south, the bright and dark, and the old and the new. The street felt like more than a street. It was four lanes, sometimes five, but felt like more. It was long and straight and held a solid ground with definition that everyone felt. The reality was that Euclid Ave. divided the campus in two. When you walk outside, you walk in straight lines. When you turn, you turn 90 degrees, much like an how you walk in a building. The street acted like a corridor, and the buildings acted like rooms. The function of the campus relied on that street. It divided and dominated the campus.
Finally, the light turned red but the red hand remained lit. Philip saw the man shaking his head in frustration, eager to continue his pacing across the street. The man immediately began looking for a walk button on a nearby pole as the cars came to a complete stop. Philip gazed toward the comfort inn hotel, the plastic blue and white letters that hung over the parking entrance. The street was littered with construction and imperfections: orange cones, tire treads worn on asphalt overlays and chopped curbs, potholes filled with tar, cracks from the weather, oil stains from a car or truck. It all seemed like a reality that couldn’t be found on a CSU advertisement.
The man waiting in anticipation reminded Phillip of himself. Soon he would be outside in the same spot waiting for the light to allow him to cross the street. Soon he would be pacing down Euclid corridor, waiting for the next bus to take him to his destination. While on the bus his feet would stop pacing and his mind would start. Eager to make the next move, he would begin sorting to-do lists and quoting thoughts from before. The corridor, it seems, was a place for thoughts like these. It was an in-between point. A place to recognize thoughts, even if it was the simple thought of turning your head and making sure there aren’t any cars coming from the other direction, or waiting for a gap in traffic to be able to cross again.
Finally, the red hand diminished and the white person lit up. The old man hesitated in relief and darted across the street to the center island where he made a 90 degree lefthand turn, pacing towards the bus stop. Other people began crossing the street as well, sometimes stopping in the center in hesitation and sometimes continuing without, always in straight lines and always turning only when they reached the island. The corridor seemed to serve its purpose: it interrupted the thoughts in your brain even if only for a brief moment. The boundary divided the environment: the people, the campus, the architecture, and the atmosphere were all affected. As the man stood waiting for the bus he looked at his watch then down the street. Realizing the bus was nowhere in sight and without a moment to spare, he began pacing again across the other side of the street, this time without waiting for a signal to cross. A few seconds later, a car drove past in the spot he once crossed. He immediately took a left-hand turn and continued down the other side of the street, feeling frustrated by the time he lost and the moments he wasted.
Brandon E. Young