The average intelligence, average motivation, average interest of the group, all low. There’s a poor man’s saunter to each one’s gait. They walk slowly, talk slowly, slur their speech. I can often tell little of their bickering, albeit childish and simple, since it is spoken with so little coherence. I wonder at their minds, as I wander purposefully through the halls, and I wonder at the weight of the trolley, and at the financial boon I hope to gain from this heartless work. There is little to be said for the workers, but the campus is assuredly intriguing. Earlham College will be home to at least two folk with whom I am well acquainted next year. Neither of them have I ever cared much for, nor I think they for me, yet I’ll wonder at them nonetheless as I work.
File cabinets. Dollies. Ropes remind me of pulleys, doors remind me of portals and mystical islands. Tie a rope to the dolly on one side, and to my waist on the other, and if I jump through that passage, some spectacular adventure will ensue – surely I’ll have broken an ancient seal, awakened archaic curses and their agents of destruction, and only I (with the assistance of some beautiful fairy or such guide) can stop it all and bottle up the world again… But I wouldn’t want to bottle up the world again. I would want to continue the quest forever. Why save the world so impatiently, only to return to its long and boring days? Perhaps that mindset is exactly why adventure seems to avoid me.
Anyway, I recognize this place, unlike that mystical world I do not know, and I suppose I should focus on what I can see. Just as I regain fuller consciousness, lunch break is called, and the smoky van I once knew as my grandfather’s beckons, holding with it the promise of homes and foods. Before leaving, Emmerson (the dark-skinned fellow whose idle, empty gaze I shared a few short glimpses of as we worked together emptying old offices) and I had been tasking away, nearly ready to push an oversize bookshelf through a cervical innuendo of a doorway. The moment the shrill word “lunch” passed the lips of a rather wide set of hips, however, the bookshelf found itself abruptly abandoned, and we passed through the cervical passage unladened. This is a work easily forgotten.
I hardly recognize my grandpa’s old van. The windshield is cracked all the way across, the seats are soaked in secondhand smoke, the windows are darker than before, the engine creaks unwelcoming and the cupholders shudder with the effort of moving. It used to be a nice little van, not so much decrepit as quaint and a little muddy. The fellow playing navigator thinks he remembers my Uncle’s old house, where I now abide, but misses by a block or so. I could easily have walked, but I know better than to have suggested so. These folk seem averted to the opportunity for physical exercise – perhaps due to the nature of their work – and would surely have felt ashamed of themselves that I might rather walk than share their company. So I was driven four blocks, where I could have quickly walked two, and prepared myself to entertain a few slices of pizza for a good 30 second ride on the nuclear roundabout.