Walking through campus is always a stress-inducing scenario, unless it’s mid-January and you’re wearing a paint-splattered puke suit for Carnival, in which case you probably have zero fucks left to give. There are all of these bizarre unwritten laws about how to traverse the various routes without offending the social graces of everyone around you.
Which route to take from the Milton Gates
[Note: there is no direct route, because whoever designed McGill’s campus is an ass]
The Lazy River
You could take the lower route, which meanders around a bunch of buildings nobody knows the name of, and is sometimes closed for random construction for several months at a time, but it has lots of puddles during the winter, which sucks. If you’re unlucky enough to walk down it during the summer-ish months, some jerk is bound to mow you down on his bicycle, defiantly ignoring – or even stealing, after downing several deadly pitchers of Fin du Monde at Gerts – those pesky “Please walk your bike” signs.
The Underground Snailroad
This route requires you to mostly walk inside buildings, which causes your glasses to fog up, thus making it difficult to see. You will probably waste a lot of time getting lost in Ferrier, or walking through the subterranean over-heated tunnels that connect Leacock, the Arts Building, Redpath, and the museum nobody has ever gone into. This option is only okay when it’s really cold out, because it’s ridiculously inconvenient. Contrary to the real Underground Railroad, this path is dangerous at night, because the tunnels might be locked, or you might get lost in a post-BDA haze. It’s also risky because nobody knows when campus buildings actually close. Especially not McGill security.
The High Road
If you’re a campus activist, you might be offended by the patriarchal metaphorical existence of the stairs. If you’re not a campus activist, you’ll probably be forced to look at stupid signs, or the mythical James Admin building, the place where a bunch of vegans once sullied with their body odor and mistaken ideas about real estate ownership. Regardless, you’ll probably have to stare at the ground because of the sun. When it’s sunny out you can’t see anyone that is walking towards you, however, and you might risk offending somebody you met once at a party back in first year by not acknowledging their brotastic head nod. Nevertheless, this is my favourite route.
When is it appropriate to acknowledge someone’s existence?
If you have met somebody once, you are required to give them a head nod or semi-smile for the rest of your University career. Unless you’ve hooked up with them, in which case you are allowed to give them an awkward glance, pretend nothing ever happened and say “hey I haven’t seen you in awhile,” or ignore them entirely. Campus conversations usually consist of both people asking the question “How have you been?” even though neither person ever answers.
When is it appropriate to pretend like you don’t know somebody?
Two to three years after you meet somebody and realize you have nothing in common.
Having a real conversation
Never go past thirty seconds, or else you’ll actually have to make real conversation about the weather or be forced to ask them whether you saw them last weekend at that one party or not.
High fives are the ideal situation, but sometimes people don’t see your hand and you look dumb. Fist bumps are acceptable, but the reality of the situation is that you’ll probably just misinterpret the gesture and end up with an awkward turkey high-five/fist bump. Cooler people than you have complicated handshakes that you will never be able to predict. Hugs are risky, but usually pay off.
Holding a door for somebody who is too far behind you
For the love of God, just don’t do it.
Getting out of class to go to the bathroom
Prepare to endure the wrath of every person you have to pass in order to get out of your row of seats. Say “I’m sorry” several times until the phrase itself sounds like gibberish. Repeat when going back to your seat.
Waiting in line
Stare at your phone and pretend to text somebody. Eavesdrop. Stare at random walls. Loudly exhale and silently declare “ain’t nobody got time for that” and wander off to a less-popular coffee spot without a line.