Rooftopping Ben Shahn Hall

Posted: Saturday June 1, 2013

My brain was baked, dull from the dense monotony which smothered my mind of any free thinking abilities. Nearly a half hour overextended, a horrendous three hour night lecture had finally let out. With its commencement, I watched as my peers rose like zombies from their desks in the lecture hall. In unison they threw their backpacks over their shoulders, inserted head phones into their ear holes and exited out the single narrow classroom door. They slumped down a common stairwell and out the front doors of the building, where they all strolled the same sidewalk leading to the same parking lot to where they'd surely find their cars parked and then drive off into the night to continue on with their boring lives.

However I held behind in the classroom for a little bit, taking a few extra minutes to make sure my backpack was equipped and my flashlight in reach. I took a rear stairwell out of the building to avoid running into any stragglers, or worse, professors who might dare strike up a conversation which I would surely have no interest participating in. I was desperate for a distraction, something to jump start my curiosity, for the night was young, the campus dead, and the buildings empty. Fortunately, I knew exactly the distraction I wanted, for it was burning away at my dry mind over the past three hours.

Before executing my planned adventure for the night, I decided to sit outside upon a metal bench for sometime, where I watched from a distance as a packed parking lot quickly emptied. One by one, each car sped out, drivers making little effort to halt at strategically placed money making stop signs, for every student knows any law enforcing pigs would surely be wrapped up inside, within warm blankets on such a cold night. After about fifteen minutes, just a few vehicles remained parked, sporadically scattered about the lonely, cold asphalt.

Sitting, I noticed as my breath fogged the crystal clear sky directly before my eyes, this drew my attention to the plethora of stars poking out from the darkness. I reminisced back to an astronomy class I had taken a semester earlier, quickly realizing I had forgotten much of every damn thing we had been "schooled" upon about the sky. Such a realization made me chuckle to myself for it became obvious yet again just how much shit attempts to get passed of as useful in the college classroom setting, but winds up merely being mentally deleted from the mind weeks later.

With the campus now empty as it could be, the time was advantageous for shenanigans and better yet, the night sky clear, perfect for photographs! I slumped off my bench ridden ass and threw my backpack over my shoulders, zipped my hoodie neck high, and grabbed my sketchy looking black tripod case. Sketchy if only because the weight of the inclosed tripod causes it to dangle like a battling ram at waists length, as I walked towards my distraction for the night.

A few lights remained illumined inside the building, stemming from a computer lab where students strung up on coffee were nervously tapping away at keyboards as the alien glow from LCD computer monitors illumined their faces a ghoulish white hue. I confidently walked past; not a single head was turned. I made my way to the roof hatch and up the ladder to my distraction. The unique bubble roof design of the art building glowed right before my eyes under the dark night sky as the florescent light of the building's interior provided the perfect illuminating backlight.

I had always wanted to experience the bubble roof from above, so I was enamored to have finally pulled it off. I decided to push my luck further by walking across the massive bubble features. A few creaked and cracked under my minuscule weight, which worried me some, but I decided to walk on. Perched in-between the crotch of two bubbles I was able to look directly down into the building's interior. Spotted below, a janitor was sweeping the floor, completely oblivious to my silhouetted existence above. Students walked in and out of the computer lab classroom, into hallways and stairwells just out of view.

People truly never look up, they're always too concerned with what's just below their eyes. Heads are always held low, arched down as if too heavy for the neck to hold, a posture generally held frozen by the addicting draw of cellphones and various other electronic devices. Taking advantage of this discovery, I calmly snapped pictures and absorbed the view, knowing damn well no one would look up.

Upon my exit things turned interesting, for opening the roof hatch just a crack revealed the sight of a group of Student Patrol vigilantes gathered just below. Initially I thought for sure I had been spotted, but listening into their conversation soothed my fear for it became quite obvious they were just shooting the shit, but unfortunately right below where I had to climb down! I listened into their conversation, as they blabbered on about stupid relationship shit and silly first world college problems. They, completely daft to the open roof hatch complete with peering glowing eyes just above their heads became quite humorous to me as I was forced to hold back an approaching giggle. Finally, after a solid ten minutes, the dopes moved on, most likely to congregate and loaf away the remainder of their shift in the next stairwell. I hastily made my way back down. It was now time for me to walk back to my own car and continue on with my slightly less boring life; I held my head high.

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