BY ROGER PAO
No palm trees in the paranoid corners of the room. No grape vines sway down the wide chalkboards. No laughter to surf turquoise waves of joy over the shoreline of the lectern. No Ferris wheels, no harmonicas,no basketball: remote control curtains seal out starlight.
You say that Langdell South must be the loneliest room at nightfall.A law school is filled with lonely rooms at nightfall. A law school is filled with lonely people who have come to master the arts of an often lonely profession, as though the minutiae of humanity could suffer mastery.
Professors try to pound lessons into students, who, in revenge, will mount the skyscrapers of law firms, like well-groomed King Kongs, and never write back,who, in revenge,will return ten years later – during Reunion Weekend -to witness those professors in that same Langdell South: that salt-bittenartifice wounded into sterilityby years upon years of first-year Socratic lacerations,those rows of seats so close in proximity to each other they allow no escape, unless you sit in the back.
You say that part of you wondershow rooms survive their people, how cathedrals may witness Holocausts yet endure another century, how walls tinged with hues of upper class mahogany or 24-karat walnut-gold seem to recognize their own deformities through the reflective pupils of students with silver laptops on their desks.
Langdell South tried to prepare you for an America without romance. For that, you are almost thankful for the room. You learned a part of its loneliness.It is a part of you now. You can compare other lonelinesses to it. You are trying to understand yourself and the rooms that embrace you, rooms that embrace but seldom love.
Roger Pao is a 2L. His poetry appears regularly.