vantage point

Posted: April 18, 2011 in UChicago Jorgen

We pushed our way through the dilapidated doorway and ascended the entryway steps. On the right side of this little lobby was a large hole where the marble siding had been smashed and broken to reveal the old, ugly bricks underneath. A few steps later, we went through another door and entered the public stairwell of the building. A depressing grayness worked its way down from the old skylight three floors above and a certain unpleasant stench permeated the area. The dated tile on the floor was grungy and gross, and every step we took gave notice of the sticky grime that was splattered all over the ground. We walked to the door of one of the first floor apartments and my friend offered a gentle knock. A faint voice from the other side of the door responded, bidding us to enter. Then, Like the curtain going up and revealing all the change that has occurred in a moment of obscene (literally: “off scene”) devastation, the door slowly opened to reveal the aftermath of the previous night’s festivities.


Our perspective on things rightfully changes when we see them in their true colors. When we remove the deceptive covering of darkness and night and let the light come in.


We were entering the apartment in which some of the brothers from a fraternity reside, on a Saturday morning, after an ‘epic’ party that I had not participated in.

It was a surreal moment in many ways. It felt much like walking into a wasteland might – but that is not quite a complete enough picture; it was not just a wasteland but a wasted land. It was a place that had been intentionally wrecked, and the remains were left out for us to observe as we walked around. The place smelt of alcohol, although it was not quite an overwhelming sensation; it acted more like the backdrop, adding to the experience without dominating the landscape.

And oh, what a landscape it was.

The viscous ground was crisscrossed with thousands of filthy footprints, left there unintentionally by the many guests who had trekked there the night before. It would be foolish to even attempt to guess how many substances were present in this mucky mess of stains. Undoubtedly, however, much of it was alcohol that must have slipped ‘twixt the cup and the lip.

In one corner of the living room there was a table that was covered with all sorts of bottles, cans, pitchers, jugs and cups with varying amounts of volume left in them. The table itself, at least what could be seen of it around the above articles, could not be seen because of the intense filth that acted almost like a polish.

The walls in the living room were marked and scuffed to a remarkable degree, evidence of any number of activities that I either cannot or choose not to dwell on further.

Just outside of the living room there was a large hole in the drywall. We were informed that a bro’ had punched the wall while in state of unchecked, uncontrolled and ultimately unjustified anger. Down the hall we were shown a room with a broken doorknob. A different person had done it, but under similar circumstances, mindless destruction.


We didn’t stay for long. But there really would have been no reason to. The place lacked, from what I could see, any furniture intended for creature-comfort. Instead it was left purposefully sparse to manufacture as much open space for people as possible. And people come; they utilize this space. But, they come at night, by cover of darkness, when the lights are low. Few people come the day after. Few people want to acknowledge the empty reality that shines forth when the light reveals the true nature of the darkness.


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