That face when you see someone during your frenzied walk down Case Walkway
Do you loathe the minefield which is the first floor of the library? Does the case walkway feel like a vortex of spinning faces, in which every unwanted hello sends you teetering off balance? Do you feel the itch as you are held up by the inquiries of an all too eager classmate, while your mind stays intensely focused on the growing cluster at the printer?
These areas can be a problem for some of us for several reasons: one being that we just have too much shit to do; the next being that when we have our academic pants on its honestly frustrating to alternate between that and fraternizing; and the last being that people just seem to focus on and notice irregular behavior in these zones more than anywhere else. When I find myself burdened by the task of entering one of the densely populated areas of campus, which are generally war-zones for those who are on constant academic missions (as is common this time of year), I am usually looking for ways to go unnoticed. An example of this is Case Center (or the Times Square of Skidmore, as I fondly call it).
When I enter these said war zones, I use my primary defense mechanism: acting casual.
There are some general rules for casual behavior depending on which densely populated area of campus you find yourself.
In the library, you definitely need to pretend you’re reading a book, or at least have some type of Microsoft Word document open on your computer. Also, if you’re using a desktop, throwopen some tabs — the skidmore email, the registrar — anything that makes it look like you’re not just sitting on your phone. These precautions are guaranteed to disguise you as someone who doesn’t have time for anything — hence immunizing you to class-related interactions or other types of fuckery.
Dhall is a whole new type of war zone. This is a place where it is actually accepted, if not encouraged, to greet those who you have met once and have nothing else to talk about other than the menu options that day. In dhall, swiftness and agility is the name of the game. Upon entering, make sure you are observing the menu with feigned interest, or fumbling for your card from your bag (or pretending to “search” for it, but you actually just don’t have a meal plan). When you enter, browse the salad bar with your hands in your pockets. Even if people know you, they won’t want to approach you *yawn. When leaving, toss and apple up and catch it again with one hand, giving a friendly gun-hand motion to the swiper who let you in. And if you have stolen food, swing your bag back in forth with ease, as if you have nothing to hide.
See something on your shirt? No? Well pretend you do, and scratch that damn little spot til it glistens.you are literally defenseless.
Case Center is risky. Here, you probably want to be on your macbook pro, drinking Starbucks. You will camouflage into the background of all the other people doing the exact same thing. Or better yet, don’t go at all. Case walkway is the only place where you are literally defenseless. On Case walkway, you are the trembling bowling pin to the hundreds of bowling balls which are the miscellaneous people — your study partner from Psych 101 a year ago (is it even appropriate to say hi anymore?), the people you bonded with at a house party by stealing cereal from the cabinet (it seemed like you were going to be really close then), and all the half-friends. In order to be casual, wave and smile blankly at every single person who passes. This is the only way to be casual, yet also be sure that you are not being outright rude. Unfortunately, cigarette-smoking has become a lot less casual than it used to be. Last year, smoking a cigarette on the Case walkway would have made you a shoe-in to the casual school-week culture at this school.
I hope these tips help to provide you the invisibility cloak that you have always wanted when braving these terrible places. DODGE AWAY!!