January 25, 2011 by Manny Wordsmith
Mornings. Dark cold mornings.
My car rumbles on, alerting me that I’ve just committed to the day. It speaks to me, warming me up.
“You got this Manny! This college shit is all you! It’s too easy homie!”
I nod silently and put my car in reverse to make my way. When I hit the road I’m instantly annoyed. I’m annoyed by other drivers, the conditions of the road and the off timing traffic lights. I immediately want to turn back around and snuggle back into the comforts of my futon.
“Just stay in Manny.” It says to me…the Futon that is
“I can’t” I plea, “I need to go to class…responsibilities and such. You know?”
“I’m a bed Manny, I don’t have responsibilities.”
When I arrive to class I take out my ear buds out and slowly wiggle into my seat. I don’t really drink coffee so my lulled senses are swept into the flickering incandescent lights where visions of a distant summer dazzles in front of my eyes.
“Where are you?” I ask myself.
“Cali, sipping a Corona on Venice Beach, wearing some ridiculous sunglasses and smiling at every girl who walks by.”
“That’s nice.” I say
“I know.” I reply
Thoughts like these roll through my mind while the professor scribbles sentences on the board and overachievers high-five each other with glee. The class ends early so I put the buds back in and sloth my way toward the library cafe.
I arrive at the Undergraduate library in the early hours of the morning. Snack vendors and local hobos are the only ones that graze the landscape during this time. I buy my hot chocolate milk and danish and plop down in a rolling plastic chair. 30 or so minutes pass and I begin to observe my surroundings. The cafe fills with chatty groups of white girls doll’d up in their Tuesday best. Some are wearing business casual suit pants with black flats, while other females slum it up with comfortable sweats and Nike running shoes. It all makes me smile. Later, I catch a slew of Arab girls with colorful head scarves, shuffling together in the store to buy their favorite snacks and beverages. The hustle and bustle of the early day is the epitome of diversity at Wayne State.
A couple of hours pass and I move from my seat in the library cafe to a hall where my Mass Communications class is being taught. I can never concentrate in this class. And this is partly because my teacher sounds like The Count from Sesame Street. I laugh a lot more during class than I should, but I try to pay attention. Luckily, I’m surrounded by 75 other students who don’t get my joke, so I mooooove on with masses trying to ignore the comedies that surround me. But it becomes difficult to ignore the mural of naked African slaves all over the wall. The mural looks like the mutiny scene from Amistad if painted it like the opening credits of Good Times! Was it the artists intention? I don’t know, but I all I want to say is “Dynomite!” every time. I also tried to ignore a very nice painting of an African family with a dad who looks like Carl Weathers, a mom who looks like Harriette Winslow from Family Matters, and a son who looks like lil Bow Wow when he was still “lil”. It was really hard ignoring these so I could listen to The Count speak. I almost found myself feeling bad and a bit unappreciative of my culture, but then I remembered I was the only one who could hear my own thoughts.
I later find out that the hall where my class is held is actually called The African-American Room. This doesn’t explain my teacher’s Transylvanian accent, but it does explain the murals and the very angry painting of Frederick Douglass that looms over my head.
And it’s weird because I’ve never had a problem with Freddy, but every time my mind wanders I feel him judging me as he stares at the picture of Olivia Wilde that sits as the background on my Macbook. I look up at him solemnly and shrug, apologizing for squandering my education and fraternizing with the “enemy”.
Class ends and I’m freed into the living world. My ear buds stay in all the way until I get to the car and then the CD player takes on the responsibility of easing me back into my musical equilibrium.
A typical Tuesday.