by Leah Terry
I think of Sewanee as a safe campus. Students and professors kindly open doors for each other, to avoid the harsh smack of glass as the door closes on someone trying to pass through. The only perils one usually has to face are the possibilities of an infrequent bear attack or a crash with a bike whose break wires have been chewed to irreparability by a squirrel. However, when the sun has set, an entirely new danger emerges in the darkness itself.
Sewanee, like most cities and campuses, has streetlights to mitigate this situation, but I fear these precautions are insufficient. A strange phenomenon has arisen in which the streetlights go out as they are approached. It’s not very problematic for me, living so close to campus in an often forgotten dorm called Tuckaway, but I empathize with my peers who live in Quintard, Gorgas, Philips, Hodgson, Emory, and Trez. I don’t even want to think about what the brave souls who live in off-campus housing face on a daily basis.
The presence of the streetlights themselves seem to serve as an illusion, as if we are meant to be tricked into thinking that we live in a kind world. They remain on while you glance at them from the shadows, but when you get closer, the light, as if consciously sensing your presence, extinguishes itself.
This conspiracy of sight is an odd one, but I’m afraid the only possible explanation of this is a malignant force of supernatural origins. I imagine the intentions of this entity can’t possibly be good, but I struggle to understand the motivations. I can only know we must conquer this hindrance if we want to live our fleeting lives happily and without fear.
I therefore find the solution to the problem to be simple: headlamps. The power of headlamps is often vastly underestimated. They provide light when and where it’s needed, and even better, you don’t have to use your hands as you would with a flashlight, which allows your hands to be free to ride a bike, carry books, or to gesture exuberantly with while speaking.
Headlamps are indiscriminatory. They don’t even have the opportunity to turn off as you approach them because they remain with you the entire time! I believe this will very soon become a trend and people will be seen wearing these even in broad daylight, not just as an extra safety precaution, but also as a highly complementary accessory and the fix-all to a bad hair day.
Theoretically, there could be a way to approach this problem straight on. It may be possible to somehow reconfigure the structure inside the streetlamp itself to disallow access from evil forces. It would take a great deal of courage, but I have faith in our noble establishment. One way or another, I’m sure this malevolent monster will be quelled by our combined ingenuity.