Lee's Room Speaks: A College Essay

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I am a 12 foot by 14 foot box. My walls run 10 feet high, textured, and glazed with alternating shades of goldfish orange and fish tank blue. Although my ceiling, years ago, sported the once popular cottage cheese look, it is now as clean-cut and smooth as linoleum. Like the anglerfish and her esca, I dangle an orb of light from the center of my ceiling to lure creatures from the outside world into my lair. I once acted the esteemed role of guest room, during which visitors from all over passed through me, bringing that enthralling airplane scent of recycled air, or the intoxicating rental car smell of stale cigarette smoke stirred with cherry throat lozenges. Oh, how times were exciting! Then, Lee (although I will refer to him here by his Universal Title, 1989965, as conferred on him by the Common App in all its wisdom) moved in, not long after the amniotic fluid was wiped from his putrid little baby body. As if I were in some sort of story, I could see the chapter of my exciting youth end, and the chapter of my monotonous days as caretaker begin.

My gorgeous 168 square foot (.0039 acre) expanse is defiled by 1989965’s presence. My capacious shelves are cluttered with amethysts, agates and opals (all part of his pathetic attempt at a rock collection); burdened with meaningless marble and plastic debate trophies; lined with books, ranging from literary smut like Cloud Atlas to the “course catalog” for what I can only presume is some large bazaar in Chicago. And my pristine walls! That tyrant took blunt needles and slowly, excruciatingly, torturously bored them into the epithelial layer of my plaster merely to hang his poster of Wallace Stevens, various reproductions of artwork, and a few smiling photographs. Da Vinci’s obscene “Vitruvian Man” glares across my internal cavity. 1989965 calls this monstrosity a “beacon of equilibrium, serving as a constant reminder that balance and eternal curiosity are necessary to achieve a rich, meaningful life.” I call it a pain-in-the-wall. 1989965 has turned my floor into a rash of books and paper. In one corner towers a series of physics and calculus binders, textbooks, and homework-in-progress. Diametrically opposite this edifice rests a puddle of literature criticisms, novels, and essays-in-progress.

In, out, in, out… 1989965 comes and goes as he rides the undulations of life, sometimes abandoning me for days, sometimes remaining ensconced within me for 24 hour periods (usually if he has a large essay due the proceeding day). He lies in his bed, staring into the muted glow of his laptop’s screen. Now, don’t call me a Luddite, but I hate all technology (with the exception of the vacuum cleaner). 1989965 claims his laptop is a multipurpose window into a realm of knowledge and information, but it’s really just a device engineered to feed society’s hedonism and blissful ignorance. Sure, it can be used for communication, research, complex calculations, art making, scientific modeling, and a host of other functions, but who actually uses it for that? It is simply a distraction!

Almost as bad as the laptop is the window that some mediocre architect forced into me. 1989965 sits poised, either in front of his laptop or behind a novel, ready to write or read. As he proceeds, however, he frequently stands up, stretches, paces — all while gazing out of that window, immersed in some trivial thought. Outside erupts a blindingly sanguine Japanese maple whose brilliant hues obtrusively penetrate my depths. He stands, watching the elements transmute the tree and its ambient glow, fascinated by its ability to remain erect despite its chaotic backdrop. I remain steadfast in supplying warmth and shelter, yet 1989965 doesn’t spend time lingering on me. I am his aquarium, the transparent caging through which he gazes (and through which you now inspect his character), obtuse to my existence, much like Matisse’s goldfish.

From what I have read of 1989965’s essays, he is fascinated with those silly philosophies of Postmodernism and Existentialism. It seems that he frequently reflects on the indifference of the world to his life. Foul hypocrite — have you ever given attention to the universe?! I shriek silently. Perhaps if your worries and concerns extended to the realm of objects you consider “dead” and without “feelings,” the universe would return the favor. You care so much for the environment, but what about your environment? I yell, but he never listens.

I consider myself a stoic, so I don’t care anyway. Besides, he will be leaving in 8 months, or â…” of a year. Then, I will reclaim my glory as Guest room/Home office! Until that day, let him tread my waters. I will endure.





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