April 12, 2007

After Dark

The lights are out on campus. Not all the lights, of course. Just some of the most important ones.

Typically, this campus drowns in artificial light once the sun abandons East Texas each night. I could easily walk from my apartment at the back of the campus to Mobberly without stepping into a shadow. In fact, I would almost have to go out of my way to step into darkness.

For now, though, that has changed. A fierce thunderstorm struck Longview yesterday morning. I am not sure what it did, precisely, other than change the nightscape of campus. The streetlights lining the road past the apartments are no longer buzzing with electricity and glaring at passers-by. The only constant light shining on the Thomas parking lot comes from the Thomas stairwell windows. A single car's brake lights paint the eastern facade of the building a dull red. Standing on the far side of the parking lot, the contrast between the gloomy darkness on the outside and the sterile light of the inside is almost shocking.

While I think everyone is a little afraid of the dark, it would be a lie for me to say it doesn't also provide some comfort. The sterile spotlight can be nice, but the invisible cloak can be soothing.

Yet, this campus seems almost to market its glaring sterility, and most people seem to accept it willingly. It's safe. There aren't any worries. Everything and everyone will come out just fine.

All of that, as my former roommate might say, is bullshit. We all have our problems, and some might even be thrust upon us by our bastion of light. No one is perfect. We hide our dark sins to try and fit in with the light. Some of us are better at this than others. We all have our secrets.

And so does this school. After all, while it is known for many things, transparency is not one of them.

Ever wonder what is hiding in the dark? I know I do. We hear lots of speculation, of course. As I'm preparing to leave here, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I or others had tried digging in the darkness.

Posted by Randy at April 12, 2007 12:18 AM | TrackBack