You’ve seen them. You’ve walked past them. You’ve talked to them, albeit briefly. The Public Safety officers who work the Barnard main gate have a hard life, sitting out in the cold for hours on end and bothering drunk students to show their IDs before they can get back to the quad. Betsy Ladyzhets imagines what an eight-hour shift might look like handling this tough job. Please note that Bwog does not condone underage drinking, Sudoku, or wearing flip flops in below-freezing weather.
Time to start my shift! I’ve got two full cups of coffee, a bag of hand-warmers, and a book of Sudoku to pass the time. What could possibly go wrong?
I try to start a Sudoku puzzle, but it’s honestly really hard. I scroll through Twitter for twenty minutes instead. Nobody seems to know what’s going on with the Kardashians, which is weird considering there’s an entire TV show about them.
Bathroom break number one. Maybe I should’ve only had one cup of coffee instead of two.
The gate into the quad closes at 11 pm. It always has closed at 11 pm, and always will close at 11 pm. The group of angry first-years to which I am politely explaining this information don’t seem too happy about it, but they eventually show me their IDs and stomp on through.
I try to work on a Sudoku puzzle, but whenever I get close to figuring out one of the boxes someone comes up to the gate and I need to check their IDs. Maybe this is a sign that I’m not meant for solving Sudoku puzzles. I’m meant for something greater. Or something involving much less math.
Bathroom break number two. Barnard Hall is so warm, I wish I could stay there forever.
A girl wanders out from the quad in sweatpants, flip flops, and a jacket that is definitely intended for weather at least fifty degrees warmer than the current temperature. “I’m waiting for a delivery from Insomnia,” she tells me. She stands next to the gate for five minutes, ten, fifteen…
The girl waiting for her delivery from Insomnia starts bitching to me about how annoying it is that she has to wait this long. This turns into a rant about how annoying her roommates are, which turns into a rant about how much she already hates her professors, which turns into confession that she’s nervous her GPA will drop this semester and her parents will be so disappointed they stop paying her tuition. Were college kids always this stressed? I feel like college kids should not be this stressed.
When the delivery guy finally arrives, he apologizes profusely for the wait, but the girl tells him not to worry and gives him a $5 tip. She sprints back inside, flip flops slapping on the pathway.
A couple of kids from the Marching Band tape some kind of lewd flyer to the main gate. They giggle and sprint off as though I can’t see them. I can definitely see them. It’s no big deal, though – Public Safety will have it down in an hour.
Bathroom break number three. The walk to and from the bathroom seems to take eons. Maybe I should have brought three cups of coffee.
A group of students approaches, all talking and laughing loudly. Most of them have their IDs handy, but one girl in a fur coat and high-heeled boots spends a solid two minutes fishing for hers. Eventually I just wave her along – she’s wobbling on those heels, and probably needs to get to a toilet soon. Hopefully the guards in the quad will be as understanding.
I think my ass is numb.
Okay, yeah, my ass is definitely numb.
But how do I know, truly, that my ass is numb? How do I know that I even have an ass? How do I know that I’m not just a floating mind, trapped in an endless fantasy of being a security guard stationed at the main gate of a women’s college in the middle of New York City? How do I know anything?
I need to stop watching Black Mirror right before I go to bed.
A girl strides past me with a backpack almost as big as she is, carrying cans of espresso in both hands. Bet she’s a pre-med student.
If my boss is reading this, I absolutely did not doze off for a few minutes just there. I was just staring into the glow of the streetlights and thinking about my own mortality. Yeah.
Joe arrives to relieve me. When I stumble out of the guard tower, pins and needles shoot up from my feet to my waist, but at least I can feel my ass again. Only a forty-five-minute bus ride until I can sleep.
Gates to hell via Barnard website