September 1, 2009

9:45 am UNK Writing Center

Amidst the piles of packed boxes, carts of writing handbooks and general dishevelry, I sip coffee with Collin. Our director, a superwoman of sorts, though wonderfully disorganized, stews in the other room over her own cup of coffee, cursing the company in Wisconsin responsible for our current snarl of an online appointment book. She is the one who brewed this coffee--Shurfine brand from last semester if I'm not mistaken. I've doused mine with off-brand hazelnut creamer until tolerable, and I now turn my attention to the conversation with Collin, my brilliant co-worker.

He drinks the coffee black, an admirable and self-sacrificial task. The way he drinks it fits him: straightforward and untainted by the hazelnuts that have overthrown so many of us. We talk about the pieces of paper that have been thrust onto our desk in a whirl of confusion as our director paces back and forth trying to figure out how to make this writing center functional in its half-way-moved-across-the-library state. She's asked us to write a little blurb about the Writing Center for a University newsletter, but the directions were hazy at best. We sit, cups in hand, staring at a blank screen and several seemingly arbitrary sheets of paper from her desk.

Collin and I are the yin and yang of writing, the decadent and the trim, the functional and the superfluous. Neither of us embodies any of these characteristics consistently, but we are always in opposition. We spew quips and sarcasm, adjectives that would make any English teacher jealous. Our Writing Center is provocative...yes, that's the perfect description.

Our coffee cups are empty, and neither of us dare to enter the director's office, for fear of the next strange and ambiguous busy-work assignment. It's the end of the shift. We leave the cups on an empty shelf.