Tonight's the night. I have a rendezvous to make, and I just might be there all night. I have a date with Clemons Library.
People tell me to stay away. They say: "Clemons is bad for you. Don't you see what this is doing to your self-esteem? Your grades? Your personal hygiene?" But I don't care. They don't understand Clemons like I do.
Clemons is beautiful. Around 3 a.m., something magical starts to happen. The fluorescent lights glimmer off the scales of the stunned aquarium fish. The post-it note vending machine hums in time with the single printer. The Greenberry's cups tumble like waterfalls from the overflowing trash bins. Just walking past the fourth floor bathroom takes my breath away.
Clemons brings people together. In the echoing carpeted halls, people cluster among the cubicles, deriving comfort from human contact. No longer do they avert their gaze when strangers pass by.
Here, they are one family. A special bond exists between two people when they lock eyes while staring into nothingness. The tearing of hair, the chewing of pencils, the wordless mouthing of "I'm going to die" on the quiet floors unites the masses as a community of true believers. At 5 a.m., they bear the torch, these keepers of the Clemons flame.
Clemons saves me money. If I never go home, I never change, and what are pajamas but another pair of shorts to wash? By wearing one outfit for two days, I do laundry half as often. You call it squalid to show up to your Thursday 9 a.m. in your Wednesday 5 p.m. clothes. I call it efficient. Can you afford to have the death of the Pacific walrus on your hands? Clemons is leading the way in eco-consciousness, creating the environmental stewards of the future.
Clemons helps me surmount my obstacles. In my home, in my bed, I could never finish that assignment due tomorrow. Clemons does not judge. It offers me a safe haven, free from the harsh words "you haven't started?" and the condescending tone in "well good luck buddy." Clemons is a warm, inviting cocoon of knowledge. I may not know what a Wergild is at the start of the night, but by God I'll have a paper on it by the time the sun rises.
Clemons pampers me. A stay in Clemons is not so much a visit to a library as a venture into five-star luxury. I take comfort in the crackle of the intercom mic before the looming announcements that the library is closing to the general public. A 15-minute nap in a creative arrangement of canvas upholstery makes me feel like an A-lister. The shelves of the media center boast a dearth of sci-fi films from the 1950s that provide endless entertainment and are ripe for contemplation. I see no reason to seek out food when a supply of peanut butter cheese crackers and Doubleshots has been made so readily available to me. Really, there is no logical need ever to leave Clemons. It has everything you could ever want or need.
Only when the morning lark shakes me from my stupor will I go. You may call my exit a walk of shame, but I call it a march of pride. As I step into the world bathed in the light of another Clemons sunrise, I know this place will always be there for me, patiently awaiting my next visit.
Don't worry Clemons, it won't be long. My term paper's due Tuesday.
Kate's column runs biweekly Tuesdays. She can be reached at email@example.com.