Confusing floorplan redo presents unexpected navigational challenge for students seeking safe passage, passable meals
After months of standing in the outdoors Bon lines and lugging groceries to my dorm from the Pio stop at Griswold Stadium, I was thrilled to get back from winter break and find that the proverbial red ribbon had been cut on the newly remodeled Student Center.
Upon my first entrance to the building, I was struck by the extent of it; the three-story behemoth had obscured its size with fences and forklifts for months, and with the disguises stripped away, I was left confused and wondering: “where the f*ck is the Bon?”
After the initial confusion wore off, as spring semester has progressed, Templeton 2.0 and I have become better acquainted and I have earned a certain level of expertise in its navigation. I will now bequeath that wisdom to you, dear reader, in detail and color.
I started my first successful journey by climbing the stairs on the southeast side, just past the Howard parking lot, making a point of stopping to admire the bubble lamp that climbs with me. The missing bubbles seemed an apt metaphor for life; not entirely complete, but shining nonetheless.
I entered the building, finding an open space full of comfortable-enough couches and facing the winding staircase that leads to nowhere. To my right was the office of Lewis & Clark’s world-renowned newspaper The Mossy Log, where extremely sexy and funny editors make the magic happen. You should tell them that.
Regrettably, I was headed for the Bon, so I waved a tearful goodbye to the last safe area before the perilous journey awaiting me and headed left, where I faced a decision point. The KPH office sits at the corner of two pathways, one for the pure of heart and the other for the brave of soul. Feeling cowardly as always, I kept to the right, wielding the power of friendship to aid me on my journey.
I began down the path where I faced my first challenge: the host of a tasteful late ’90s grunge radio show blocks my path. He was an imposing 5’6, towering over me in a high Armor-Class thrifted sweater, but I did not let my face show fear.
“You, lowly student,” he snarled. “Do you seek to pass?”
I nodded, and he told me I must answer an impossible riddle. Armed with the quantitative and lexical reasoning skills I picked up in my Words and Numbers classes, I accepted the challenge.
He looked me up and down and formulated a question.
“Explain the difference between communism and democratic socialism,” he said.
Ha! Lucky break. I answered with ease, backing up my argument with myriad, Chicago-style cited quotations. We engaged in some healthy and stimulating debate on the topic, and finally came to the conclusion that everyone views the concepts a little differently. Instead of the traditional lore or loot drop, he gave me his Instagram handle and we followed each other, agreeing we should definitely get coffee and never follow up on it again.
Bursting with confidence, I soldiered on, guided by the far-off cacophony of the Trail Room. The dehydration had begun to set in; though I always carry two extensively-stickered and unwashed 32 ounce Nalgenes with me, both were empty. I navigated by landmarks, having lost my sense of direction in mazes of off-white corridors and blank conference rooms.
I turned the corner past the lockers, stopping to wonder how so many have locks and yet I have never seen anyone actually using them. All of a sudden, each lock clicked open and fell to the floor. The locker doors swung open and began to emit a purple gas that filled the hallway. I started to feel sleepy, but fought the urge to give in to unconsciousness. I knew this trap well: If my constitution failed, I would wake up in a dark room in Pamplin, forced to join the Baucus Ultimate Frisbee team.
I broke into a sprint and left the danger behind me. I was safe, for a moment, but a final hurdle laid before me: the hallway of exes.
Every failed situationship, ghosted Tinder match, party kiss and Watzek crush was lined up on each side of the claustrophobic passage, talking to each other like nothing happened. My mind raced – Should I say hi? Is eye contact too much or is it rude if I ignore them? Of course I chose to wear this shirt today, I would normally never intentionally advertise my high school theater, I just need to do laundry. My mind filled with anxieties, and I dropped to my knees and wailed, “Why does this school have to be so small!”
I considered turning back. It seemed impossible, but I had come too far.
I could see the light of the Bon, I could hear the beep of the ID scanner. I mustered all my strength and made polite conversation, smiling and waving as it seemed appropriate. I threaded the needle of recognition and amicability, and made it to the end of the hallway where my friends had been waiting for half an hour.
“What took you so long?” they asked me, and I described my journey. “Oh, you should have gone down the path of the brave. Way faster.” I cursed my cowardice, but was proud I made it out alive.
There you have it: an easy route through Templeton to Fields Dining Hall, so long as one is armed with the proper supplies and a little bit of luck. For such a reward as Bon food with friends, we must be prepared to traverse any number of dungeons. With the power of friendship at your side, anything is possible. Except calling Templeton “Fowler Student Center.” Yeah right.