& opinion


What exactly do we all get up to behind the enclosed walls of our desks in the maze that is the University of Sussex library? A mysterious subculture exists in the library that we are all vaguely aware of. It’s that place we find ourselves in as we sit transfixed in the depths of the library’s silent zones. Have you ever felt yourself slipping into a strange psychic zombified trance as you try to read? The words begin to move around the page, and you find yourself in a weird interior state of mind, where you begin thinking about everything and anything except the massive pile of paperwork and essay questions staring at you? It’s higher state of consciousness’; we begin to feel like we are going insane. It makes us feel the desire to stand up on the desk, in the middle of the silent zone, switch our mobile phones to the loudest setting with the most annoying ringtone and scream, just to break the monotonous intensity and rebel against the voice of God’ that is the talking library.

We lock ourselves in the library with good intentions of productive study and concentration, but it can sometimes have the adverse effect, makes us go crazy! It’s like a matrix. We are plugged into the library world, but our consciousness goes somewhere else. We should be deeply enthralled in the intellectual world of our degrees, but we suddenly find ourselves floating off into an obscure world where anything can happen.

We feel that no one is watching us in the library. Everyone is too busy, engrossed in their own academia. We are segmented in a private world of our own, in our separate partitioned desks, and yet there are hundreds of us doing exactly the same thing. What do people get up to in the supposedly private’ public sphere of the library? Lets just say that picking noses is probably one of the nicest extra curricular library activities. I asked my mates to confess, and found out that there are some interesting undercover activities taking place. One friend plays what he calls ‘the pant run.’ Yes girls, it is time to worry. This ‘game’ consists of taking trips around the library with his mates, at the peak of boredom, to count the number of exposed thongs he can spot on the ladies! Another mate (who has since graduated), said she could never concentrate in the library because it just made her too horny (do not ask why!). She spent her entire time in the library on relief trips to the ladies’ loo!

The most common activity (besides devoted study, of course) is the cat nap. We have all been tempted to put our arms out on the desk and have quick kip. It is just a little too quiet and peaceful in that library, isn’t it? Don’t you think it is time for the University to fund a library sleeping dorm, equipped with proper beds for us poor sleepdeprived workaholic students to rest our over-productive brain cells?

It is funny what boredom does to us; you find yourself desperately wanting to know what the person sitting opposite you looks like, after they’ve been kicking your foot for the past two hours. You keep trying to sneak a peak without being completely obvious, and looking like a pervert. You just cannot seem to resist a look, it could be the wo/man of your dreams!

In extreme cases of boredom, we actually begin to read the inscribings on the desks. Like the toilet doors, library desks seem to have become tacky phone boxes tattooed with call cards advertising for us to have ‘the time of our lives.’ There may as well be a dating agency in the library. So, for guys seeking girls, visit silent zone 2, the desk nearest the window, and you could find yourself on a steamy coffee drinking date in the Bolthole. The question on everyone’s lips is ‘will they ditch or date?’ One female library goer’ (pun intended!) has already attempted to set up her own blind date service. In female toilet cubicle 1, as I am sure many of you girlies have noticed) Ms. X., has proclaimed her desire to have a passionate love-making session. ‘I am a lesbian, I love sex and I am here every day at 3pm.’ Wonder if anyone has turned up yet? am tempted to turn up just to discover the identity of this mysterious woman who is so proud of her sexuality and sexual orientation that she feels the need to proclaim it on the toilet walls!

One thing I cannot begin to understand is the insistence on having tippexed conversations on the toilet walls. Congratulations to the graffiti artists or do they really deserve the title artist?) who have managed to beat the system once again. Even with black painted walls, there is still a means and a way, as one artist on female toilet wall cubicle 3 proclaims – ‘they cannot stop us writing.’ Incidentally, this scratched onto the wall with a key. can understand the ease of tippex, but to actually ascribe something with key takes some effort. I wander if people plan what they are going to write on the walls, or whether it is a mere spontaneous act of vandalism. According to these ridiculous comments on the toilet walls and desks, seems that the library is seriously damaging our psychological inner states we are becoming so deranged by the intensity of the library that we have taken to expressing ourselves on the furniture.

So next time you find yourself that weirded-out library state, remember that you are not alone. There are clones of us hiding behind our desks the same psychological turmoil. There is more to the library than meets the eye. It has become a playground and love den, a sleeping room and social club. It’s not really surprising, as it feels like some of us spend more time there than we do our own homes!