Scripps College Problem #12: A Motley to the View

By Earnest Eleanor, Staff Satirist

On Friday morning, I woke up to unusually cold weather for Southern California. True, the gods of thunder and hail had just released their fury on helpless Claremont earlier in the week—but this was still California. We Scrippsies need our sunshine. Despite the frigid, below-70-degree weather, I got my books together and braved the trek to the Motley to for some coffee before heading to the library.

While I passed by Malott, I saw some stragglers still coming out from breakfast. I felt a wave of pity for these silly, silly people, with their non-organic dining hall coffee. A gust of wind sent a chill straight through me as I hurried through Seal Court, clutching my recycled, reusable plastic corn mug with me.

I stepped into the Motley with warm air welcoming me inside. I ordered my usual drink (hot Chai tea blended with Mexican chocolate, non fat milk, with a shot, extra hot) and a pumpkin bagel with vegan cream cheese.

As I waited on the padded bench just inside the Motley, I gazed at the many posters set up inside for events and film screenings. I bobbed my head along to a song I’d never heard by some cool, indie band and read the plaque from which the Motley’s official name, Motley to the View Coffeehouse, originates—a Shakespeare quotation. But not a well-known Shakespeare quotation. At least, not so mainstream that I’d ever heard it before.

When I looked toward the counter, trying to see if the barista was making my drink yet, I let my eyes wander toward the mural on the wall. Words were painted on all directions: feminism, environment, organic, equality... Yes, Motley, I nodded approvingly at the free-

drawn tree, with its soothing green background that calmed my soul. You know me so well. I like all of these things.

Finally, the barista called my drink. I stood up and made a decision on a whim—I could study just as well here as I could in the library. I grabbed my corn mug, walked toward the sitting area, and felt my heart truly break.

People were sprawled on every mismatched chair and sofa, leaving no space for my homework and me. Some had even taken to the stage, sitting in positions that looked to be quite uncomfortable.

Distraught, and with a heavy weight crushing my spirit, I left the Motley and sat down at a table in Seal Court to get my bagel out of its wax paper bag (I think they’re better for the environment?). I looked into the window and saw those happy college students; some were laughing, or listening to underground, hipster music while their eyes scanned across the pages of their reading assignments. They didn’t always look like they were absorbing the information as much as they were absorbing the atmosphere of the Motley, but they all looked so contented that it didn’t really matter.

I saw them with their shiny Mac computers, sitting peacefully in the most feminist, environmentalist space on campus and I felt the bitter taste of disappointment. I took a bite of my bagel as I walked away, taking solace in my one vegan choice of the day. Next time, I thought, chewing proudly, Next time, that comfortable, happy Motley studier will be me.

It’s a tough life at Scripps, it really is.