The Unswung Bat

Tuesday, May 17, 2005
 
Letters from the Bowels of the Beast

I've made my opinions on Scarborough and the satellite campuses it knowingly harbors and abets as well-known as I could without actually getting out of my chair. So, though coincidental, it was appropriate that my mp3 player was singing the songs 'Never Again' and 'Road to Nowhere' as I made my way back into those obnoxious halls. Okay, it turns out that first song's actually entitled 'Not in this Life,' but the point still stands.

Whilst I roamed, the device started playing Pink Floyd's 'Time,' which was suitably bleary, but I was hoping that The Innocence Mission's 'Prayer of St. Francis' would shuffle to the top of the playlist.

The song itself is more than serene enough to reorder a mind scrambled by wanderings of the campus's cynically self-doubting floorplan, even without the beauty of the prayer the music surreally intones, whose words I managed not to actually hear for the first 2 or 3 years I had the song. More to the point, though, the ridiculous UTSC building, which seems to be the bastard stepchild of the Bauhaus and Baroque movements driven insane by a comittee, could benefit immeasurably from a bit of the Franciscan philosophy of simplicity, purity and humility, which has in the past been applied to architecture with great success. Maybe it's just as well I didn't invade that reactor core of confusion with such antithetical principles. I might have opened up a black hole.

But that's an aside.

The building itself, and the elliptical logic of what frazzled intellects framed its fearful asymmetry, deserve nor demand no further comment. This time around I actually found my target - the library again - fairly expeditiously. The key is to start by giving up. If one can relinquish one's worldly thoughts of coming to any point, one reaches a cartographical Zen and finds the forgotten destination in the white space between thoughts. What is the sound of one map clapping?

I passed a couple of sights along the way - the load-critical books are still ducktaped steadfastly to their shelf in front of the library's no-access porthole, and I also came across a curious black metal door, wide enough to force a bison through sideways, that opened into a room no bigger than a closet. By and large, though, I was focussed, and I reached the library in an amount of time no more than triple the theoretical minimum, orders of magnitude less than it took me last time.

I was there to pay for a book I'd lost as part of the wacky adventures involved in my last Scarborean expedition. The staff gave me a choice between paying a flat $140 fine and a second option that cost only $30 but necessitated an unthought-of third trip to UTSC. I was sorely tempted to just splurge, but that annoying work ethic that, thank God, only rears its studiously well-kempt head for sidereal or esoteric matters, won over.

Thus, satisfactorily, concludes my second and hopefully penultimate schlep through the Wastelands. I wonder how Chris and Bettio put up with the daily commute. I burned easily two and a half hours on TTC property, though the second half of this time was cheerfully filled with writing this on the back of a scrounged bus shelter rent ad, and the first half was occupied by various acrobatics of Farsi grammar - an activity at least 5 times (minimum) more exciting than it sounds. Also, it's nigh on 4:30 now and I haven't eaten anything all day, and I'm feeling oddly unhungry. So that's pretty much been André's Fantabulous Tuesday.

The comments things are gone, though the guestbook's there same as always. I'd like to think there's a couple people out there reading me silently and without compulsively scratching responses into the internet. I'll do things like that sometimes. Was that last sentence ambiguous? Not that anyone should take this as an injunction from signing the guestbook.



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