Serenity resides inside a fuzzy mauvy box with door


This week the Writing Center Assistant Director provided me with a carrel near the center entrance. There are three carrels in a row: my director’s, mine in the middle, and another to the right that I think is empty. When I arrived the next day, I immediately noticed her assistant had made a nice label with my name and the title Webmaster for the door. Very sweet—I must take a picture of that side of the door too.

Besides being next to the UWC, we are also inside what was the old tutoring and learning center, inside the 3rd floor, inside the larger library building space, inside the UTEP campus, inside the city limits of El Paso.... Basically, i am at the center of a very large matryoshka or Russian nesting doll.

Speaking to another PhD student who is now a candidate (he also has a carrel), I said I was not going to put anything on the walls. But since then, I have reconsidered because there are four walls. I could put things on the sides and nothing on the wall I face. If so, I think I will resurrect my old cube posters from my corporate worker bee days. All meant and specifically selected to mock a fledgling corporate culture stillborn.

There is a Rage Against the Machine circa 1999-2000 poster based on an old Marxist worker design, an Emigre Not Caslon poster (the company's "official" font was Caslon), and a few more things that could brighten the place. I also need my halogen lamp; the fluorescent buzzing above my head give me a headache and the light is very dim.

Yesterday, as I emerged from that womblike space, I decompressed. I believe everyone initially comes out looking like a mole, squinting and stretching, reacting and acclimating to the larger outside space within a space. Overall, I experienced a trancelike feeling as if I were working inside a cave; but a square cave with mauvy-tan fuzzy walls, a door with a little window, a bit of headroom, and a little bit more light than one would presumably receive inside a "regular" rock cave.

It is a serene place, when I'm inside my cave with my screen glowing and pink Skullcandy headphones that help silence the voices outside these walls.

However, there might be an added benefit. I might just relearn pre-calculus and algebra because there is a whiteboard on the opposite side of the wall I face. Everyday young men gather to deconstruct various equations and theorems. They pound on the board with their dry-erase markers, laughing. They discuss their numbers and signs and symbols, while sitting at a large table. They speak an intense combination of English and Spanish. Overall, they sound as if they are having a good time learning math. Now who’d thought that was possible!

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