Oberlin Blogs

Midnight Mudd

December 6, 2008

Joe Dawson ’12

As a first year at Oberlin, I take it as a given that I have a lot to learn. One of the most important things is time management. After a simply wonderful trip home, complete with turkey, cranberry sauce, Christmas tree chopping, and hair removal, I was refreshed and ready to get back to work this week. I had even worked on a ten page paper that was due Tuesday, and had finished nearly three pages of it. My foolproof plan (as of Sunday) was to take my plane back to Ohio Monday afternoon after working some more on the paper, the subject of which was environmental and hereditary carcinogenesis (cooler than it sounds), and finishing it Monday night early enough to get some decent sleep before a chemistry quiz Tuesday morning. 'Working' didn't really happen Monday during the day, since I had to run to the bank, eat lunch, say goodbye to everyone, pack, and take an hour-long nap. There simply wasn't enough time.

After a short flight, where I actually did get some studying (but no typing) done, I was ready to knock out seven pages of sweet, juicy carcinogenesis. This was around 9:05 PM, plenty of time to write a paper and get some sleep before my 8:30 class the next morning. What I didn't plan on was the taxi ride from HELL that would follow. Normally, a bus or taxi ride from the Cleveland Airport to Oberlin takes 25-30 minutes. I got into the cab at 9:15, got pretty effin' lost in rural Ohio until 10:15, and stumbled out of the daemon van. I was delirious with hunger and thirst and awkwardness (Me: "Sorry, I really didn't know 90 would take us to Pittsburgh," Driver: "Yeah. Me either").

I went straight to the library (not straight to the library, to Decafe to buy stay-awake food like dark chocolate with espresso beans and an energy drink), where I figured I could find peace and quiet and get some serious typing done. I was a little surprised when I entered the first floor of Mudd at 10:20 on a Monday and found a lot of people milling around, nearly every table and chair full, and not a plug-in for my laptop to be found (the plug-in is very important for my poor computer, which has about 20 minutes of battery life). I needed to stay on the first floor, since that's where food is allowed, but I didn't see an opening almost anywhere. "This is weird," I thought to myself. "Don't these people know that this is a library? There are books and computers but that's about it.They seem to think it's cool to hang out here. It must be those wonderful bathrooms. They're large, comfortable, eco-friendly, and private." Well, they can be private. I neglected to utilize the lock on the bathroom once, and it became uncomfortably non-private in the middle of my activities within. Moral of the story: Use the lock, or be ready to show your...shock. The Jane Goodall in me was aroused (not in a dirty way), but I knew I had to write. I could study these strange creatures that flocked to the library some other day.

I typed productively from 10:25-ish until 11:30, eating my chocolate and contemplating my energy drink the whole time, when I took a little stretch break. My friend Liam found me typing and we talked for about five minutes before he left to write a thesis for his Shakespeare class. I looked around the library and realized that the crowd had thinned out, that there were even computers and chairs that were vacant. I assumed people had gone back to their dorms to sleep or something, but at around 12:00, the library started filling up again. This was starting to distract me from my paper. There were people around who were just socializing in the middle of the library at midnight. A guy sat across from me at my little table, and I offered him a greeting and a piece of chocolate. He smiled and declined.

I finished up my paper at 1:00, a very satisfactory time, even early enough to get some sleep. I had an energy drink for the next morning, and a new-found interest in Mudd. I figure that in the future, if I'm ever lonely on a weeknight, I can just walk over there and enjoy the happy, diligent, though often stressed crowd that gathers there until the wee hours to study or gab or flirt or just chill. But for now, a nap.

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