Nobody is as liminal and mercurial as you, especially when you’re in an elevator.
I am in a state of transition. I can hardly sit still. I am constantly imagining the future, wondering what’s next, wondering how to exist in this fast-moving, transitory world. If I were a river, I would be the River Styx, flowing between realms. If I were a state of matter, I would be a gas, cursed to take the shape of whatever container I reside in. If I were a superhero, I would be the Flash—I’m always on the run and I’m a ginger if the lighting is really weird. I am amorphous. I am unsettled. I am the character in that poem about the two roads diverging in the yellow wood. They actually wrote that poem about me. Did you know that? Yeah, Robert Frost saw me in Riverside Park a while back. I am the physical manifestation of shopping period. Do you know what I need? A space that reflects all of my restless, uneasy energy. I need a liminal space. Here are the best liminal spaces on campus to contemplate your mercurial existence.
1. The Barnard Tunnels
Float aimlessly underneath Altschul, Hewitt, and Milstein in the Barnard tunnels. You don’t even know what building you’re in. You can’t even fathom that kind of structure. Maybe pick up a package, maybe steal a banana, peer into some classrooms. Feel sorry for the people stuck in one place for an hour and fifteen minutes. You weren’t born for that life. You haven’t been to a class in two weeks. Ponder the liminality of the Barnard tunnels; cursed to ferry people to other buildings, stripped of their worth as an independent entity. If you were a building, you would be a train station.
2. The Second Before the Crossing Light Changes
You’ve been standing on this street corner for the past thirty seconds, but it could have been thirty years. So much time wasted, purposeless, unfulfilled. You felt a hopeful breeze on your face, but it was only a passing biker. That biker knows where he’s going. You were on your way to sit in the Butler Wind Tunnel and contemplate entering the library. But now you’re not so sure.
3. The Zoom Waiting Room for your TA’s Office Hours
Your own face, reflected, peering vacantly into a technological abyss. A cruel mirror of a liminal world. A question about the reading rattles around your brain like a tumbleweed in an old Western movie. If you were anyone else, you might fix your hair, maybe text your mom. But you’re far too liminal. You’re entirely consumed by the next event, the next question to ask your TA during their Zoom office hours. All you know are Tumbleweeds. It is 12:29 pm. You are Dorothy, and this is Kansas. Seconds before the storm. The tornado looms across a sickly horizon.
4. The John Jay Elevator
Relish in the hollow emptiness of an elevator. Everyone here is obsessed with their destination. That girl next to you with the dull eyes is trying to figure out if she left her room key in her desk drawer again. That guy with the weird backpack is ready for his nap. He’s fucking napping already, basically. He might as well be in his bed right now. No one here but you appreciates this elevator. No one here recognizes its deep liminal significance. You are the elevator. Constantly shuffling between floors, dragging your metallic, mechanical body around as the whims of others demand. You don’t even live in John Jay. You go to Barnard.
5. College Itself
The yawning bridge between adolescence and adulthood. Ponder the future as the past nips at your heels. When you were seven, you told your father that you wanted to be an astronaut. Now you stare at an empty horizon, waiting for it to fill with stars. God, you’re so ambiguous. You’re on four different Intro to Italian waitlists. You’ve attended every single club’s interest meeting and nothing else. You’ve scheduled eleven appointments with the career center. They’ve sent you a couple of emails asking you to please stop. They don’t understand your deep, liminal need to have twenty internships lined up at once. They don’t get you. When Robert saw me in Riverside Park, he asked where I was going. I gazed liminally at the diverging roads in front of me. Oh Robert, I said, I’m taking the road less traveled. But I understand what he never will. It can never be travel. Not if you already know you’ll never reach a destination.
Anguished elevator photoshop via Bwog Staff