The Writing Center as Home
Here is the first: I love the Writing Center. I do. And by this I mean I love the material presence of the Center (besides the obvious legitimate benefits of working in the space). I feel so comfortable among the pseudo-cubicles and bookshelves stacked with reference books. I appreciate fully the nuance of our floor lamps, softening the harsh buzz of the few fluorescent lights in the space.
The sofa, although sinking with wear in the middle, offers a snug sanctuary away from the bitterness of plastic computers and wooden desks. Although I have been indifferent to the stuffed parrot that sits atop the paint-peeling coat rack next to the sofa, I like knowing that little avian friend is there if I need him. The toys in the little cabinet to the side make me laugh, especially when someone places the orange rubber spider on the tiny die-cast Hulk motorcycle. Sitting on the coffee table are the Calvin and Hobbes books—always familiar—and a basket of candy that varies week to week.
With its high ceiling, the tiny backroom is a nice place to loudly blow one’s noise or even pass wind unobtrusively. Although there are coat racks in this room, I always throw my jacket onto the small desk; I have never seen anyone using this desk, and would be sort of miffed to barge in on someone eating their lunch or studying in this brightly lit cell. I’m sure people use the room for things other then the dispelling of snot and farts, though: the wrappers of various food items litter the desk area, the microwave always smells of something fresh, and books come and go from the little space.
I’m not sure I understand the metal black cabinet that stand near the main entrance to the Center; this does not negate my love for it. There is a coffee maker on top of the cabinet, but the coffee is never brewing when I come in; I am too lazy to make more. There is a tin of powdered cocoa, but this, too, is empty; I look hopefully inside more and more as the semester gets colder. It took me four weeks to learn that you must twist the right handle of the cabinet before the whole thing opens with a percussive shudder—before this I simply tugged at the handle. Inside, the dry sponge sits in the same mug green always, but I watch the tea bags slowly leave their boxes. I do not understand the bag of fluorescent-blue Miracle-Gro: does the one plant in the Center need it that much? It must be for our students.