The meaning of life, discovered at 7:30 a.m.


It was like any other Tuesday morning...

Veronica Sirotic | Cavalier Daily

It was like any other Tuesday morning — my roommate did not exert himself until his first class at noon, leaving me once again to resist the urge to ignore my 8:00 a.m. and drop out of school. My one solace that manages to get my feet moving each morning is that when I reach the bathroom of our hall, the other local species will be stumbling about, well on their way to fulfilling their dreams in their 8:00 a.m. Calculus class. 

And yet, this one particular morning was destined to be something different. Upon opening the 500-pound bathroom door, I was greeted by a familiar crowd of drowsy intellectuals, barely opening their eyes enough to know the difference between a sink and a toilet. But upon closer inspection, I realized that this morning, the bathroom was rather alive with activity. 

As usual, my neighbors were trodding in and out of the cattle showers, trying to exert their dominance over the rest of the herd by playing their music the loudest. This is not uncommon to be happening at half-past seven, and often everyone is too drowsy to care about the genre being broadcasted. However, on this morning of destiny, two roommates — who routinely bicker in the evening hours when everyone is trying to sleep — were in fact choosing to settle their differences at the crack of dawn. 

This triggered a chain reaction throughout the rest of the ecosystem. Spurred by the grating noise of opposing viewpoints this early in the morning, instead of lingering in the shower like many do when contemplating the consequences of going back to bed, several of my neighbors cut their thinking time to a minimum and retreated to the sinks. 

It was here that an unusual gathering occured. On most days, the congregation around the four communal sinks is limited to two at a time, creating a rather satisfying balance of evenly-alternating sink use. I’m told this practice is often employed in prisons so as to avoid unwanted exchanges of opinion on early mornings. However, on this day, my retreating comrades found themselves shoulder to shoulder with their fellow inmates. Proving my incarcerated hypothesis, this resulted in some rather intriguing bits of commentary about the manner in which one another chooses to get themselves ready. 

One exchange in particular altered the course of my morning and stayed with me for the duration of the semester. As one Jeffersonian was mid-lather on his right cheek, a half-clothed scholar inquired, “Do you have the time?” He was surely inquiring as to how fast he will have to run to make it to the chemistry building without making too much of a ruckus upon arrival. And yet, our half-shaved friend did not hear the entirety of the question, igniting a chain of mental assumptions that are quite unhealthy for that hour of the day. 

“Uh, I’m pretty sure I have enough time to shave...”

As you probably can now infer, Student #1 misheard Student #2’s inquiry, registering it as a condescending commentary on his time management skills — “Do you have time (to be doing that)” — rather than the intended request for a glance at his watch — “Do you have the time”. 

This misunderstanding was quickly resolved, and everyone plodded on to fulfill their daily undergraduate duties, but the significance of this exchange was not lost on me. It is incredibly rare, possibly even extinct, for one student to bother themselves to care about the schedule of another, since college students are often wrapped up in keeping up with their own schedules, not to mention those of their fellow classmates. And yet, upon accomplishing my morning routine in the bathroom, I exited into the hall, thoroughly inspired to care more for the general well-being of my compatriots. 

Can you imagine what the world would look like if, when you saw an acquaintance in a harried state begin to shave himself with just a handful of minutes before class, you intervened, asking in a soft tone, “Are you sure that you have the time to do all of that? I’m worried you might not make it to your class on time, and your creepy stubble looks fine anyways. Have a great day!” Your friend would respond, “In fact, I believe you might be right. Thank goodness someone is looking at the clock. Have a great day as well!”

Undoubtedly, this is inconceivable behavior for 18-year-olds living adjacent to 20 other strangers, but until then, maybe a little bit of looking out for your neighbor can’t hurt. 

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