By Noble Ohakam ‘18
In recent years, the number of students sitting by themselves in Commons has increased from 3 to 5. Now, you’re more likely than ever to find the corners of upper right inhabited by a social outcast lamenting their life choices over a glass of chocolate milk and a half-hearted attempt to enjoy the videos on their Facebook feed.
Surprisingly, many of these students enjoy their time alone in the public eye. In order to understand this conundrum, The Gorilla went to interview two students who have been Commons loner mainstays since their freshman fall. Pal Less ’18, one of the students in question, commented,“I find sitting by myself to be quite relaxing. When I’m cranking out a paper due next period, I get into a zone where I don’t even acknowledge the three empty seats around me. There’s a bunch of ways to distract yourself from how lonely you are and get through sitting alone during a meal”. When asked how he feels about the looks of guilt that inevitably follow accidental eye contact, Less confidently retorted, “It does happen, but I take comfort in the fact that they don’t know who I am”.
Rel Avent ‘19, another loner and a somewhat-adequate acquaintance of Less, spoke with The Gorilla about her efforts to maximize solo-sitting. “Step Number 1 is to go to Commons 15 minutes before they close. I’m talking about Breakfast at 9, Dinner at 6:45, when the majority of the student body isn’t there”, Vent lectured. “That helps you transition to Step 2, having different places to sit. My go-to is to sit in Lower Right for Breakfast because most people don’t go there. For Lunch, I prefer Lower Left, the safe haven for people like me that are too afraid to sit alone in Lower Right. For Dinner, if I feel courageous, I go to a corner table”. Throughout this triumphant monologue, Vent spoke with a distinct air of calm and contemplation.
“Step 3 is to bring homework and do it as you eat. I usually do my reading there because an upright book is an effective barrier between me and the hundreds of eyes that maybe judging me ruthlessly”. Vent hopes that this publicity can give a voice to the voiceless at PA and help to start a dialogue about such a relevant, prevalent issue. Our reporter assumes this is what she said, but he had walked away before eye contact could be made, claiming, “if I started talking to her, then I would have to sit down and then it would be just the two of us while my friends sat across the room. I didn’t want it to be all weird”.