i'm in hell

By Monty Phan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 9, 1996


When I go to class, it's not my intention to fall asleep. Not always, at least. Sometimes, though, when I'm sitting in the back of some huge lecture hall, and the professor is droning on about stuff I'm sure I'll remember later, my eyes get heavy, and the grip on my pen loosens, and ...

Next thing I know, I'm doing the "tilt-and-jerk," the medical term for when one's head "tilts" back in states of extreme drowsiness, then "jerks" forward when said person realizes it's still attached. I usually do this for several minutes, until the snick ering from those around me wakes me up.

The one room I have experienced this most at the University of Arizona is Social Sciences 100, that stadium-like lecture hall in, well, the Social Sciences building. It's almost exactly like a movie theater, except for those annoying "desks" which fold up and get in the way of true comfort.

My solution to that is to use the desk to my left and take notes with my weaker left hand. This alleviates the problem I used to have, when I tried to subconsciously take notes with my right hand.

The result is usually a page full of scribbles which go every way but horizontal and are completely and utterly illegible. Therefore, I circumvent this problem by writing with my left hand, which still means my notes are completely and utterly illegible, but at least I'm becoming more ambidextrous.

One day, while bragging about the amenities of Social Sciences 100, my friend Ben took me to task on the issue. He claimed the most comfortable chairs were those of the Center for Creative Photography, room 108.

"They're padded and high so all you have to do is slouch and put your knees against the chair in front of you," he said. "It's perfect."

Such a claim had to be checked out. So I gathered my crack team of comfortable-chair seekers, which comprised a grand total of two people: myself and my friend, Hanh. We headed down to CCP 108 just after a class let out.

The auditorium was empty, which meant we could proceed, because the motto of any good crack team is: Don't get caught. Stealthily, Hanh and I took our seats, just as we would if it were an actual classroom setting and we were actual students, and not a cr ack team of wackos.

Remembering Ben's description of the key position, I slid down, put the seat in front of me, and ... I was in ecstasy. Ben did not lie. It was truly the most comfortable campus chair I had ever sat in. Hanh agreed, also pointing out the soothing effect of the wood paneling which surrounded the inside of the room.

"It's very conducive to sleeping," she said.

"Very," I replied.

After I woke up, I headed straight for the Registrar's Office.

"Excuse me," I said, "I would like to change my major."

"To what, sir," she said.

"Well, that's my problem," I told her. "See, I would like to change it to all classes which are held in the Center for Creative Photography, room 108. I feel that if -"

"Get out," she said. I took that as meaning "No."

Since that experience, all other lecture-hall chairs have become less satisfying, including the ones in Social Sciences 100. It's quite depressing. Even more frustrating is that I have a class in a lecture hall with perhaps the most uncomfortable chairs o n campus: Modern Languages 350.

These chairs have no lower lumbar support, and the top of the chair is wooden, making it very unpleasant when one "tilts" too far. However, a friend told me that in fact Modern Languages 350 is not the room with the most uncomfortable chairs, and suggeste d another lecture hall that was.

Such a claim had to be checked out. So I gathered my crack team, but Hanh said the idea of testing uncomfortable chairs was not as appealing as testing comfortable chairs. I had to admit, she had a point.

With the crack team disbanded, I headed over to CCP 108. I needed a nap.

Monty Phan is editor in chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. His column appears every other week.