Navigating the mundanities of campus life can seem like a chore, in no small part because “the mundanities of…life” is more or less the definition of chore. Walking to a class or meal, operating an elevator or staircase, doing laundry—all while preoccupied by the Big Questions we’re meant to be confronting at an institution as illustrious as ours—can grow to be so soul-crushing and automatic that one neither wishes nor needs to be conscious at all.
Thankfully, there are some ways that the enlightened rebels of Columbia University can assert their self-possession even when embarrassed by their circumstances:
Do keep to the left or middle of a walkway, especially around corners. You know who enforces keeping to one side of the road? The police. The man. Show the world you aren’t afraid.
Don’t march on the right with the neofascist herd.
Do contemplate the depravity of man’s position while sorting out which piece of chicken you want in the dining hall.
Don’t behave as a ravenous beast might, selecting your food with any sense of purpose. There is no purpose—the pigs around you will never understand.
Do take the elevator down from the third floor. Time is, like, a construct, man.
Don’t take the stairs. Ever.
Except: Do up your tweet game on the Ferris staircase. Bonus points for immortalizing the looks of horror on the faces of the plebs behind you with a selfie.
Don’t submit to the lockstep dictates of architects. To create a staircase is to mandate a particular pattern of behavior, to control the bodies of an entire public. Don’t let them get away with it.
Do commandeer a washer for 23 minutes for a single scarf.
Don’t force your neck’s best friend to wallow in the misery of a stain from the foie gras you were eating ironically.
Do fish around in your bag for your ID right in front of the Butler security desk, prompting some to awkwardly reach around you to carry on with their lives.
Don’t plan for the encroachments of the Public Safety state. Act like it’s a surprise that you have to scan into the library and maybe they’ll get the hint that you should be allowed to move through the world unfettered by the shackles of societal identity.
Do hold loud conversations in any hallway, anywhere.
Don’t be silenced by the drones at work in their classrooms, offices, and reading rooms. First Amendment, baby.
Proper brooding via Shutterstock