Arrows Cause Traffic Confusion

Will Howley '23, Contributor

Ah, COVID-19 precautions—we all love them. From the seemingly soundproof plexiglass cubicles in the dining hall to the 1:10,000 ratio of entrances to exits, newly instated rules and regulations have caught us all off-guard at one point or another. Though the measures are each conducive to annoyance in their own right, none is more frustrating than the troublesome traffic arrows that lay on the ground of each and every one of our buildings.

The menacing maroon stickers stare at us from the floor with a sense of knowing condescension: so simple yet so confusing. Each time I walk by one, I make a point of stepping on them a little harder to assert my dominance. But, alas, I am not dominant. In fact, I am convinced that the arrows are conspiring against me, making my day a little worse at every turn (pun most certainly intended). The two iterations of traffic arrows that serve the biggest threat to our community are those in the Scanlan Campus Center and Clark.

To illustrate my point, here is an imaginary situation that I’m sure many people can sympathize with: you were hungry all throughout your previous class – your rumbling stomach even caused your audio to clip in your Zoom meeting. You decide to grab a snack from the dining hall. Should be an easy pursuit, right? Wrong. The experience often goes something like the following.

You walk into the dining hall for 0.5 seconds to grab your desired piece of plastic-wrapped food. Now, you are planning on going to Founders or Olcott next, and it would be very convenient to leave from the same place that you came in from. However, the exit is about 20 paces in front and to the right, away from your destination. Slightly annoying, but not a big problem. You leave through the exit and turn your head right and face a virtually empty hallway, but then you see them again: the all-too-happy traffic arrows prompting you to turn left.

To your right are your friends, unconcerned with the chaotic ways of the arrows. To your left is a teacher on dining hall duty, waiting eagerly for you to make one wrong move. Which do you choose? Your moral compass or your mental one? Ultimately, you decide to rebel against the arrows because they are naught but a futile social construct.

Wrong choice.You hear a voice from behind call for you to turn around, and you begin your long walk of shame to a door on the opposite side of the building. The arrows have won once again, and you now must buy cookie dough from the bookstore to drown your sorrows in.

The arrows in Clark are much more confrontational with their annoyance, a quality respected but equally hated. They seem to have a vendetta against anyone with classes upstairs, taunting you (pointing, even) to find an alternative route, providing no solution. After a few weeks into school, I still avoid going upstairs at all costs, not wishing to be turned away by the arrows like an exile for my stupidity. But I suppose unprecedented times call for unprecedented traffic confusion, right?