The Man We Block Out

Every night, around 10:45pm, a man in a striped shirt and blue trousers walks into the dining hall. Immediately, stressed students who have gathered around tables of endless homework stifle their groans. They share looks that spell out disdain and disappointment. Some even leave. All put in headphones and try to block out his presence.

They have no reason to dislike him, really. None of them could attest to a moment of unkindness or bad judgment, as very few have had interactions with him. He scarcely even ventures to look at the students as he watches closely the inches of the carpet over which he steps. With his earphones in, he creeps into their lives gently and earnestly every night, and at 11:15, he promptly leaves.

I, too, have loathed his presence. I, too, have sighed in relief upon his departure. But tonight, I looked into his face and saw a man with the worst job on campus. And as he unraveled the cord to his roaring vacuum, I smiled and made his deafening work the soundtrack to this blog.


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