I’m in a Princeton lecture hall. It can hold around two hundred people. Right now, there are about sixty. Over eighty signed up for the class.
The class is about “The Rise of the Graphic Novel”. That means “comics” for those without pretentions. This is right up my alley.
The front of the room is dominated by a projector. It’s easy to forget that the professor is standing to the left of the slideshow. The professor has of those faces doomed to blend into any room. He looks young for a professor, and wears a quality grey blazer over an unfortunate bright orange shirt. The shirt does help him stand out, so there may be some wisdom in it.
The slideshow is the room’s main authority. Right now, it has a black and white photo of Harvey Pekar. In the flesh, rather than one of his dozen graphic representations. I feel that his bald spot is going to fly off of the screen and swallow the room.
The student to my left is bored. He seems to disagree with Pekar on daily life as “complicated stuff”. He’s more interested in scrolling through the XKCD archive and reloading his facebook homepage. He jumps between browser tabs as the professor talks about R. Crumb.
The curtains are closed on all the windows but one. From this lone survivor, I get the hint of a bright cloudless day. It’s a sharp contrast with the brown and grey that oppresses the room. It’s a great class, but I’d like to take it outside of a dungeon.
This building’s lecture halls have giant fans in the front. I haven’t seen one touched since freshman year, and suspect that they may be props.
I usually sit next to a friend of mine, but today he’s a ghost. He has too much of the Princeton academic bushido code of honor in him to be skipping class, so something might be wrong. I’ll look into this later.
I have two other friends in the room. They never sit with me, so I may be stretching the limits of the word. But I’m constantly told to think more positively, so I’ll call them friends.
The room has killer acoustics. The professor barely bothers with the microphone. Every word said in the front is effortlessly carried throughout the room. This tends to squash small talk among the students. I’m fine with this, since they tend to have nothing interesting to say.
After fifty minutes of American Splendor, the Professor sets the room free. The class rises for the exit as one. I take a little longer. Some of us will be sprinting to another class. Others will be headed to sleep. I’m lucky to be in the second category.