Cornell has 20,000 students. Simply put, you don’t get to know everyone. But, over the course of my 2-3 years here I’ve learned that there are random repeated relationships that every Cornellian has with people they don’t know, at random places around campus. You think I’m crazy? Let me give examples:
- The “sharing a table with a stranger during peak lunch times” relationship. Look, buddy, you’re taking up a valuable round white table in Goldie’s during lunch hour, and have your headphones on and MacBook out. Can I join you at this table too, so I can quickly scarf down my chicken sandwich before CHEM 1150, and make it seem like we both have friends? (This is also applicable at Terrace and Libe Cafe.)
- The “you watch my stuff and I’ll watch your stuff” library deal. This one’s my favorite. You’re in Mann, and have your laptop, jacket, iPhone, keys, and textbooks spread out all over the desk. When you’re thirsty/have to use the bathroom/make a phone call, do you pack everything up and jeopardize your prime spot? No! You ask your friendly study neighbor, who’s been sitting there as long as you have, to watch your stuff briefly for you. You know your friendship is solidified when, 10 minutes later, they ask you to do the same for them with just a head nod and a finger pointed at their stuff.
- Relationships with Cornell workers. Ernie’s a friendly guy who makes me chicken parmesan every Monday in Trillium and reminds me to get my complimentary soda. The door-swiper in the Cook dining hall recognizes me every morning. Ushering shows for CUPB (the program board), I’ve spent time chatting with Cornell police officers and have gained a respect for the security measures in place for high-profile events like Jon Stewart. I’ve read stories of Cornell janitors bringing cookies to kids studying for finals in Duffield. If you take the time to appreciate these hard-working people and your relationship with them, your day gets a lot more interesting.
- The awkwardly narrow Statler doorway and corridor relationships. This is a good one too. At the basement of the Hotel School is a long, narrow corridor, which serves as the “artery” of the building. Tons of people walk through it every day when they go to the Statler Auditorium or choose to get lunch at Terrace. However, the corridor is awkwardly narrow-which makes it conducive to a lot of “excuse me’s” for those people that choose to stop right in the middle of the path to have a conversation. The best part? The doorway leading to the corridor, hidden next to Terrace (see photo at right). For such an important hallway, and with the amount of people that pass through this thing every day, I’m shocked the doorway is so narrow. When you’re about to walk through and see someone coming the other way, you have two options: either be assertive, jot right ahead and take that doorway as yours, or be courteous and let the other person through. Because everyone knows both of you aren’t going through it at the same time.
It might seem like I’m stretching it a little here, but, I kid you not…I’ve experienced all of these in the last couple of days.