Le Couloir

January 3, 2005

The doorway to my first classroom is on the left of this photograph. It was located in a decaying Methodist Church in Southern California. There were many times that I walked this hall and would look up at the glowing red EXIT sign thinking, "I know nothing about Sartre." 

Perhaps this was brought on by the darkness of the hall or perhaps I was reacting to my employment at a French school. I doubt that it matters. I have yet to pick up any of his writings.

* * * * *

In the foreground darkness on the right side of the image there was a door to a long narrow room stacked with teetering piles of grimy keyboards and PC towers. An ancient man with a nicotine stained beard would periodically emerge from this room and gargle noisily with hydrogen peroxide in a small water closet down the hall. The water closet had been painted a dramatic orange many years ago, and when the sunlight pushed through the dingy window the thick peels of paint glowed tangerine. 

Even in its decrepitude that little room radiated color, but I learned to admire it from afar, finding the frequent presence of blood mixed with peroxide-spittle in the sink basin to be more reality than I cared to face.

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