• Nicole Kohut and Malia Simon

Did You Leave Your Room Today?

Updated: Mar 3

Affirmative

By Nicole Kohut


This question is a mental one. To the uncritical eye, my sustained geographic location might serve as irrefutable evidence that I have not ventured beyond the walls of my childhood bedroom. An immediate yes or no answer, however, would indicate one’s close-minded, even bigoted approach to an obviously multifaceted, multidimensional, multidivisional, multivariable and, of course, multifarious question, which is why I don’t believe the answer that I can and will dutifully deliver will satisfy my surveyors.


Until SSOL processes my request to switch my major from Philosophy to Econ-Philosophy, I dare say it is my right–nay, my duty–to attack this question as any other of my philosophical peers might. That’s right, I’m talking about you, small white boy from an obsolete New England state who maintains a Timothée Chalamet physique by smoking three packs a day outside of Butler while fervently avoiding eye contact with passersby like me. You are my inspiration.

Illustration by Rea Rustagi

Let’s begin by breaking this question into smaller parts. What does it mean to actually do something? Take a simple yet certifiable definition: to do something is to take action in the face of a situation. Now, you might agree with the assertion that by breathing, one performs an action necessary for survival. But can one really do something unconsciously? How often do you actually think about breathing? Can you command it–tell it to stop? Where does the subconscious end and the conscious begin? Everything is relative!


If breathing can’t be squared with our definition of “action,” how can our labeling of right and wrong, yes and no, be justified? Although I’m a firm believer that there are no short answers, for the purposes of my word count, I’ll give you one: it can’t be. I understand this is a difficult realization–perhaps even more confounding than discovering that sexuality is a spectrum upon your arrival at Columbia.


This mentality took me months to foster. In fact, it wasn’t until I was seized by Sig Ep during pledge week that I became enlightened. They left me blindfolded at the “C” rock on the Hudson River, most commonly known as the training location for one of the two quasi-reputable Columbia athletic teams. Under the twilight moon, my partially nude body shivered with fear as I raced desperately around the giant rock to seek help.


Just as I was ready to surrender my body to the unknown species of the Hudson, I heard a cracked whisper. “Find a way,” the voice sang repeatedly. I closed my eyes and let it guide me until the rock dissolved into itself and I began falling for miles, landing in a cave. I noticed miniature robots littering the ground and, in the corner, Dean Mary Boyce.

“Is Deantini here?” I asked nervously, wondering if she had anticipated a SEAS kid instead of me. Dean Boyce chuckled. “I am Deantini.” The shock plastered on my face did not dissuade her from continuing what appeared to be a pre-orchestrated speech. “I’m everyone. Deantini, Prezbo, even Interim Provost Ira Katznelson.”


Over a cup of tea, Dean Boyce explained to me that we’re all wearing masks–no, not your Etsy COVID mask. We are born with one identity and evolve in accordance with life’s ceaseless restrictions. But this is not something to be ashamed of. Dean Boyce reassured me that the world is our oyster! Why feel guilty for accepting the opportunities we are given in this bountiful life? That’s why I don’t view my use of the Fro Sci final answer key as cheating. I was simply taking advantage of a rich opportunity!


So, did I leave my room today? Yes, I did. Because my room is not a physical space. It is not defined by square footage. It doesn’t matter that I’ve remained in my “bed” for the months since being home–that’s just a technicality that constructionists will get stuck on. In my mind, my “room” is whatever I want it to be. Today, I travelled to the Bahamas. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll visit the halal cart on 115th. Everyone can leave their room without violating social distancing guidelines if you free yourself of definitions.



Negative

By Malia Simon 


Did I leave my room today? No. Of course not. I find it strange to even be asked such a question in the midst of a highly contagious pandemic. Leave my room? And potentially expose everyone in my household to the illness? That’s morally irresponsible.


Okay, fine. It might also have something to do with the fact that I recently redownloaded the Bakery Story app. I haven’t played this game since I was thirteen, and something about the obsessive timesuck of managing a little bakery and buying different colored ovens and stoves really hits different right now. I must admit it’s the first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do before I fall asleep. I imagine it’s how people feel when they’re newly in love. Just one more kiss. Just one more batch of perfect little muffins.


Okay, you got me. Bakery Story is the only reason I haven’t left my room, much less this corner of my bed, since Monday. But can you blame me? There are tiny animated people walking around my bakery and eating my lemon meringue pie that took seven (real life) hours to bake! Besides, I’m saving up for the Peridot Fountain to put in the middle of the room for all the little customers to sit around.

Illustration by Rea Rustagi

Why is Bakery Story, of all games, so addictive? I’m glad you asked. While other games with high-speed levels and flashy graphics might occupy your attention for a short period of time, Bakery Story is the long game. You’re invested in a business that you have to design and maintain. So while some might call it a “game for toddlers” or suggest that it’s “a little weird that you’re talking about it for this long in an article for a literary magazine,” I have to respectfully disagree and point out that Bakery Story is the best way to learn about running a business and baking at the same time. Yes, I could do “real life” baking and run a “real life” business instead, but what’s the fun in doing things that bear actual consequences in the real world? Right?


The best thing is, even when all your friends in the so-called real world make fun of you for playing a game for little kids for ten hours every day, on Bakery Story, you’re the man! On Bakery Story, you get nothing but clout for having built ten SweetCo ovens in a week. Listen up, guys: productivity is out. We’re long past that phase of quarantine—it’s time to accept the fact that our little monkey brains are the bosses of us. Surrender to it—give up your memoir or your weird poetry book and come to my side. It feels great.


You’re welcome for spending this entire article talking about Bakery Story. Was it my plan. Maybe—maybe not. I don’t have plans anymore. Just ovens and little treats. Perhaps nobody asked for this at all, but this is what I have to offer the world right now.


Also, my red velvet cupcakes are going to be ready in fifteen minutes, so I couldn’t give this more than an hour’s attention.

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