We’re midway through Finals Week, and one of the places I hadn’t spent much time peoplewatching was the Living Room of Farrell Hall. So here’s a quickie Five Senses:
– The tables and chair clusters of the Living Room are about 1/3 to 1/2 full. Most of the people here are sitting in groups of 1-2, occasionally a 3.
– More people smiling than I expected for finals week. I expected ‘grim death’ faces and saw a lot of grins and smiles. That’s nice to see.
– A pair of women who look like they are moms on a campus tour. They have Deacon Shop bags and the look of visitors. As they strolled through the Living Room, they were marveling at it and taking in the whole scene from the top of the ceiling to the windows and more. You forget what a great first impression Farrell makes when you see it every day and are accustomed to it.
– A female student with what looks like a small white Christmas tree poking out of her bag. It’s festive as all get out.
– ESPN on one of the big flatscreens. I am far away from the other one but it looks like CNBC or a financial channel, which would make sense.
– A faculty member meeting a student – presumably one from her class (or a past student). She is all smiles and encouragement and is asking how things are going. He seems a little more tentative but my impression is he is grateful for a little pick me up from a professor he likes and respects.
– The sun break through the clouds and hit the tall Living Room windows. The sun fractures into pieces on the floor, broken up by furniture and the columns in the windows. It makes an interesting pattern on the floor.
– Finals fashion – aka nothing fancy. Lots of sweats and casual shirts. Still a lot of equestrian boots on girls. Surprisingly, most of the guys are clean shaven. I expected a lot of two day stubble.
– The squeak of chairs as they scrape the floor. Sometimes its a dull wooden sounding pull, other times a real scrapy metallic squeak. The wood sound is much easier on the ears.
– Very little by way of conversation. It is not as quiet here as it was in the Reynolda Hall lobby when I camped out there the other day, but it is a lot quieter than Farrell normally is.
– The sound of milk being steamed for a latte at Einstein’s. At first it sounds like a normal milk steamer, but quickly it reaches a high pitch squeal that almost sounds like a fire truck or ambulance. I hope that was an aberration and that people don’t listen to that all day.
– Coughing (this time it’s mild).
– The tearing off of receipts from the Einstein’s cash register.
– Two guys at the table next to me talking. They appear to be trying to work out some sort of problem (math?) One of them keeps suggesting numbers and the other doesn’t seem to think they are the right answer.
– This conversation from young men greeting each other. Guy 1: “How’d you do?” Guy 2: “A-“. I’m not sure which of them said the following, but I could make out “thrilled as hell” and “let’s go get a beer.”
– Hot, melty cinnamon sugar. Someone must have just toasted a cinnamon bagel at Einstein’s. The smell is not the bagel proper, it smells like some of the cinnamon sugar dropped off and was melting on the toast rack or bottom of the toaster. It isn’t a burned smell yet – still delicious.
– The citrusy tang of a navel orange that I brought with me (a holiday gift sent with love from my P’92 mom who is the biggest WFU fan ever.) As I peel it, the smell makes a nice halo around my table.
– The aforementioned navel orange. Though I have to admit, cinnamon sugar would taste pretty good right now.
– The cool marble (more likely solid surface) table I’m writing on. The chairs here are comfortable too.
– Exposed – one of my colleagues who is a Daily Deac reader stopped by to say hello and quickly realized what I was there to do. Normally I feel pretty much incognito because I never know who reads unless they tell me. This was a good chuckle.
So there’s your Five Senses of Farrell during Finals. Prior to walking in to Farrell, I had a certain image of what I thought it would be like – tense, quiet as a tomb, deadly serious – and it wasn’t that at all. Nice to be surprised sometimes.
One final thought – here is an image from the Quad yesterday at the Claim Our Space event. This is just one picture, but there were ribbons on a lot of the trees and it looked terrific.
– by Betsy Chapman