This post is for those of you who like dancing.
Fall quarter of last year was a time of lots and lots of change for me. I started new classes, ate three meals a day with people my age, and began doing my own laundry. Perhaps the biggest change for me was saying goodbye to my car and walking everywhere. If you don’t already know, it’s very difficult for first years to have cars on campus and even harder to drive to class (some would say impossible, or at least just really dumb). So yes, Fall quarter marked the beginning of my school year-long walk-a-thon.
As many of you would guess, walking can get kind of boring. It takes a long time and you can only hold your cell phone up to your face as you pretend to talk on it when you are actually just talking to yourself for so long. Yes, the campus is beautiful, but when you are late for class you do not have a ton of time to sight-see. So I faced a dilemma. I had to walk to class, I didn’t have a bike, and I wasn’t Nightcrawler, but I had already seen Royce’s imperfections and Anderson’s courtyard. Then it hit me. I had an iPod. This sounds like a big “duh, Charley” but hey, I never listened to my iPod at home. I had the radio and the Internet (Pandora, boo yeah). So I dug my headphones out from the clutter that was my desk drawer and began plugging in on my way to class. I quickly found out that I was also reliving my Junior year of high school since I hadn’t updated my iPod since then. Every morning was filled with Regina Spektor, T.I., and Britney Spears. I guess I never realized this before, but music combined with nostalgia combined with sleep deprivation makes me kind of wiggy. Listening to my iPod made me want, no need to dance. I began taking alternate routes to class that were more secluded just so I could bust a move. My habit even forced me to start walking through UCLA’s underground parking garages, a pastime I am now particularly fond of.
One day, as I was finishing up a class in North Campus, I stopped by Bunche. Up to that point I was very critical of Bunche. It was ugly and big, like a giant scab on the face of gorgeous collegiate North Campus. I decided to go inside just to look around, as I had been doing with many buildings. As I entered, I gasped. Inside this huge hunk of concrete was a beautiful palm garden. Tall, slender trees rose out of the ground to lean on each other and poke their heads through the holes in a metal grate on the ceiling. Bunche, why were you hiding such a beautiful secret, and why was I just hearing about it now? I kept climbing, the palm court was located by the classrooms, which make up floors one through three. Floors four to eleven (or maybe twelve?) are offices for T.A.s and professors. Each floor was laid out the same with two long halls that were parallel to each other. Doors lined the halls and professors had cut out political cartoons to hang on the walls. Each floor was painted a different color: sea foam, tangerine, turquoise, cranberry. As I walked from floor to floor I noticed that Bunche was a really quiet building. Basically nobody was out wandering the halls and the majority of professors preferred to keep their doors closed. Suddenly, it hit me. Bunche was the perfect place to dance. I quickly untagled my headphones and jammed them into my iPod. I scrolled down until I found “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus and before I knew it I was moving my hips like yeah.
I only stayed in Bunche for another five minutes before I had to take the elevator down and run back to the dorms for lunch. Every week on Tuesday when I had a big chunk of free time I would skip off to Bunche to read political cartoons, look at palm trees, and dance dance dance. Unfortunately, as the year went on, more and more professors began having their doors open and more and more students were standing in the halls waiting to get help on their papers. The baby blue stairwells were usually empty enough for me to sneak in some groovin’ time to “Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall, but I had to move my dancing underground.
I’m sure when I go back in the Fall that professors will have their doors closed again and I can resume my Bunche dancing. Hopefully, I will see some of you there too, shaking that thang.