I didn’t find the armchair, but I found the next best thing, I think. They have two quiet places here on campus.
The first room is a place called “The Fireplace Room”. If silence were sterile, then The Fireplace Room would be the operating theater. But you know when you’re at a concert and it’s the end of the song and everyone is holding their breath to hear that last, lingering note of music before the applause starts? Now imagine sneezing, super loud and super high and super inappropriately and completely ruining the moment. That’s what every sound is like in The Fireplace Room. I feel guilty the minute I walk in, regretting every key chain and zipper pull that I didn’t notice on my backpack until now. Do I unzip it quietly, inch by inch? Or tear it off like a band-aid? When I pull out my computer and start typing, it sounds like a herd of wildebeest is suddenly stampeding across the room. I’m starting up a jackhammer every time I click my pen. Scratching my head must be nails on the chalkboard, because the guy on the couch across the room glared at me like we were going to start World War III right there in front of the fireplace.
So then I found the library. It’s four times bigger than my house, and it’s like quiet time but with books. So you can squirm and wish you were someplace else and feel guilty and all that, but you can get stuff done. Which is the important part. Unfortunately they’ve got one place with desks and a skylight, so I spend most of my time staring up at what I think may be the only patch of blue sky in Chicago.
But every once in a while I’m doing homework. So that’s good. And I may have figured out this whole syllabus thing. I’m down to only reading them twice a day, and that keeps my brain quiet and my panic satiated.
But please still send coffee. I can drink it here in the library and no one will look at me like I’m flushing a toilet.
Maybe missing you,