This past Monday I attended a meeting at UNC Charlotte for the reveal of the building plans for the new Levine Scholars/Honors College office space and dorm rooms. It’ll be an awesome facility and something that the university would benefit from. I was invited to come from the Honors Program and, not one to miss opportunities, I went for the shindig.
I didn’t help my case by being 10 minutes late, but, hey. I rolled into the meeting five minutes into the actual presentation, dressed in my awesomely comfortable and wildly odd Thai Fisherman pants I just bought, an off-the-shoulder lace top, and flowing orange hair that dried curly as I drove over.
Needless to say I looked fantastically professional.
They finished showing us the carpet samples and paint samples and the very professional-looking space and asked for audience input. As one of only a handful of students that had elected to come, I felt the burning need to represent our student population and make a very necessary suggestion.
So I naturally suggested the installation of a slide.
This was the conversation:
Kristina: “I know this sounds odd, and I’m not an architect, but is there a space to install a slide?”
Lead Architect: “…a what?”
Kristina: “You know, a slide. Like the ones on playgrounds that you slide down.” *Kristina wildly gestures with her hands in an attempt to visually demonstrate a slide.*
Lead Architect: “Um, no, that’s, um…” *architect looks around confused at his team as if they’ll provide a better response than his mumbled garble.*
Honors Director: *In an attempt to diffuse the awkwardness felt by everyone but Kristina, who is still confused that they don’t know what a slide is.* “Kristina, are you sure that a slide is a professional addition to such a professional space?”
Kristina: *Getting fed up, gives story of EPIC headquarters, examples of Google Headquarters, and the concept of protecting and fostering intellectual capital, blah-blah-blah*
Surrounding Audience: *stares at random hippie student who has articulately justified the installation of a slide.*
Surrounding Audience: *laughs.*
In short, my suggestion for a slide fell flat. It indeed never really was resurrected enough to fall at all.
Have no fear, though, I have made it my personal goal to resurrect a slide within this facility if at all possible, if only because they told me “no.”
In fact, there are many places that do have slides within facilities, not first of which is EPIC Headquarters, various Google Headquarters (enough to make a Top 8 list!), a university in Germany, and many others!
Google (just one of many):
It’s actually an architectural trend for places that protect and foster intellectual capital. If the Honors College and Levine Scholars Program at UNC Charlotte are and should be doing anything, it’s protecting their intellectual capital. And so we need a slide.
Slides provide laughter. They provide a moment of reprieve from the suffocation and oppressive nature that expected success and stress of impending expectations impose. They provide a fun space- within the facilities- to de-stress and to smile. To laugh. To hold our breath for just a moment in an effort to actually breathe.
If it’s an enclosed slide, like EPIC’s, some of Google’s, and the ones in Germany, it’s already guaranteed safety. The problem of guarding might be an issue, but impose time restrictions, give that job to the guard that’s already promised in the facility 24/7, or just build it with enough strength to withstand whatever might come, and roll with what does come.
Really, we need a slide. We need a slide for the same reason we need hammocks, or trampolines, or a ball pit, or swings, or a long wooden hallway and a free pair of slidey socks, or a fireman’s pole, or a room of bean bags and legos and easels with white canvas and free paint.
We need it because sometimes, no matter how old you are, you need to put down the pen, close the laptop, leave your academic cage, and feel like a child for a minute, because feeling like a child again reminds you that “success” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) isn’t the only thing reason you’re in this world anyway.