Monday, August 29, 2011

Zones of Comfort

So today I'm riding the elevator up to the seventh floor of the Menzies Building on Monash University's Clayton Campus, and I'm watching the other people - students, teachers, post-grads who're a little of both - getting on and off on different floors. I wonder, nearly absently, whether any of them have been to the seventh floor, or, if like me, they've only been to their one floor. If they are like me, then the majority of their classes on this campus will only have ever been on that one floor, so they've never had a reason to get off at a different floor. I wonder what those other floors are like - are they laid out exactly like mine? do they have the same pokey corridors, bits of  construction, new bathrooms? - and whether or not I can ever be bothered to find out. After all, why would it benefit me if I drifted onto a different floor every now and then just to see what it's like when I've no actual business there. Maybe I'd just look silly. Are we caring about that?

The next thing I wonder, which makes me smile, is that I refer to the seventh floor as 'my' floor, as though it having contained all my classes on this campus gives me some sort of proprietary right to it; of course, when I get on the elevator and ride it up I get off at 'my' floor, just like everyone else gets off of theirs. I hear them say it when they're parting ways with friends or colleagues - or both: 'This is my floor. See you at lunch.', or 'This is me.' It's odd that particular places inspire that kind of level of comfort, public places in particular; if you go their regularly then you feel like you belong to that place and that place belongs to you in some shape or form, simply because you have certain experience with the place in question.

Just food for thought really...


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