White Walled Expanse

26 July 2013

Travel Writing Essay: The White Walled Expanse

All that white stares back at me with with its blank face. It screams nothingness, complete nothingness. The only diversion from the emptiness arises in the stains that speckle its surface from years of encounters with the outside world. Walls are meant to be vibrant, boasting at least some form of creativity. Whether it be color, texture, or whatever – please, just ignite some emotion. The New Museum Exam Hall, a sight of intellectually testing some of the greatest minds yet a place where ingenuity is tried and tested against the subjectiveness of blah-. With the first exam just minutes away I cringe at the thought of being tested not only by the papers that lie in front of me, but by everything that is a part of this place. The cold chair and mundane desk are just like the plain walls. They soak every last bit of innovative anything straight into their world of the exact opposite-absolute nothing. They complain against every force directing them towards any level of liveliness. The problem is not that they are simple, for simplicity is often one and the same with inspiration. The problem is that they are monotonous, redundant, and thoughtless. Every pen my fingers have held and placed onto an exam, has been in a place such as this. Even so and understanding that it may make the playing field fair for examiners, this is not surroundings that I want to make a habit. Finishing exactly 3 minutes before the lockdown of the last 30 minute stretch of exams, I grabbed my backpack and scurried out the door unwilling to look back. Too many places are like this. Too many people need to escape them.


I thought I escaped it at that moment. I did escape. Yet, merely five hours later another white walled expanse seemed to found my hiding place. This time it was unexpected, I was not planning to plunge head first into such a place. I needed my creativity to blossom, I needed to stay where the world had spark- and that kind of place is not the A&E. Never expecting to spend one of my friday evenings here, that is exactly where I found myself. Sometimes stubbornness and pride come back to bite you faster than you think. Knowing from past experience that I needed to seek help at the first sign of trouble, I decided that this time I was tough enough to combat it on my own-wrong. I paid for it for the next four hours. The entire atmosphere of the place was something I never want to experience again. Nothing is real there. Everything is artificial, synthetic, and temporary…and again, lots and lots of white walls. I felt trapped, confined. Everyone around me meant more and more minutes that I would be stuck in that little green chair. Luckily I had a friend with me, someone to talk to. Although she had no idea what she had got herself into. Periodically someone would call my name and I would go into a room somewhere and get asked some questions and administer some tests. The only place I imagine that could be worse than this is jail. Even Ryanair and Easyjet offer better accommodation and service than here. It is not like the place was filled with mean people, the system was just very inefficient. I was finally released as the clock struck three, after battling with the nurse over the fact that a swollen tonsil was not severe enough to spend the night in the hospital. Whether it was late and I was tired or whether socialized health care is just not up my alley–no thanks A&E, I will not be visiting you again. fingers crossed.

Yes everyone, I spent the day in two places. The exam hall and the A&E (Accident and Emergency). I guess exams just put me over the edge… No, I have been battling some tonsil condition for the past few days. It turned out to be another paratonsisillar abscess. I felt a lot better after the ENT (Ears, nose, throat Doc.) was able to drain it. I had this same condition in March of this year, and went an entire week believing I had strep throat when in fact I had an abscess. I do not wish this condition upon anyone because it is extremely painful. Eating, swallowing, and talking all becomes more and more painful as the days drag on, and as far as I am concerned the only cure is to get it drained… But other than that, life is good!

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