I walk through Roetersiland, a destination in my mind, fire in my eyes, The Smiths on repeat. “Nothing can stop me now,” I think. No, truly nothing could stop me. Yet, one cannot help but notice the never-ending wave of heads after shoulders after bodies… bodies… bodies. Oh, so many bodies, yet somehow, they are one. A giant mob of monotonousness. It is quite a cultural shock to walk through a campus so vastly divergent from one’s own. No Pan’s labyrinth-like corridors leading nowhere or elevators that tend to skip floors for no apparent reason. No dark-academia statues such as those of The Secret History emerging from the center of the courtyard or second-hand bookstores around each corner. No pretentious humanities students blabbering.
As I make my way past the ABC entrance, I realize that I’ve almost arrived at my final destination. I have almost endured the hardships such a simple walk proves to be. I notice someone walking toward me, they smile. I smile back. “Do I know them?” I wonder, yet come to the conclusion that they just wanted to smile… quite a bizarre concept that smiling. Have you ever tried looking at yourself in the mirror with the most disfigured smile possible? It’s quite creepy that one. I don’t particularly recommend taking part in such horrendous spiels.
For the wild humanities students, Roetersiland is the representation of an actual university. Once there, you finally understand that people go to school. People study… and don’t just go around rolling cigarettes and discussing Moby Dick or Murakami’s sexist overtones and understanding of women. See, it does not come lightly to me to have to categorize myself as a ‘pretentious’ student, but if I weren’t one, would I truly be part of the humanities?
Alas, I arrive at my objective – CREA. This time I am early; “unusual,” I note. Naturally, I always have something to do; I am a humanities student after all. I take out my special vintage first edition of The Metamorphosis, order a La Chouffe, sit on the Queer benches, cross my legs so my Dr. Martens dangle in everyone’s view, and wait for the few people I know outside the humanities department. There is nothing more entertaining than waiting for my political science friends with literature that has shaped history. Literature which, unlike any smut romance novel, provides a true insight into people’s lives. The true high culture experience.
Across from me sits a fellow lone wolf. Much like me, a book in hand and a beer on the table. “A fellow humanitarian?” I consider but quickly re-evaluate my thoughts. No one in their right mind considers A Court of Thorns and Roses even remotely good literature. “Who reads that away from the comfort and security of their own four walls?” I muse.
As I get back to my book – probably my seventh reread – I cannot help but identify myself in Kafka’s bizarrely unique world. The normalcy of waking up as a rodent. In a sea of career-pursuing students, I am the rodent. A metamorphic equation emanating a solution the likes of Tarantino and Lanthimos amalgamated into an original ME. The main character in everyone’s story…
Beside me lies my tobacco pouch. I decide to roll a cigarette. As my friends appear from the horizon, I inhale. Exhale. Look at everyone around me.
“Damn, mother would be proud.”