Midday shadows cast across the floor of Crosland Tower, shining through the multi-colored glass to paint the floor magenta, teal, crimson and gold.
I took a seat on the tall cedar staircase, coffee in hand, gearing myself up to read textbook chapters for the next few hours.
I looked around at the diverse body of students staggered on the wood planks, admiring how people from a myriad of backgrounds all found solace in the same fine academic institution. No matter who one is or where they are from, there is a family for them at Tech. Everyday I encounter someone that makes me think more deeply about the world in which we live.
That day in Crosland Tower, it was the person to my left, who had taken their shoes off, revealing their bare feet and untrimmed toenails.
Feet are an issue I have grappled with my whole life.
For many years I gave my mind the most credit for getting me places, but the truth is, my feet have taken me more places than my generally vacant mind.
At the same time, however, feet are the single most hideous body part.
If there is anything I have learned from being a child of the internet, it’s to sacrifice anything for the aesthetic.
Including body parts. Perhaps I was looking for an excuse to further procrastinate my readings, but I could not neglect the piggies in my periphery.
Are feet the unsung heroes of transit, or should they be sequestered in the name of beauty?
I contemplated this question for several seconds, allowing my gaze to defocus from my peer’s wiggling toes so I could divert my attention to solving the greatest philosophical question of the century.
Now, to fully address this conundrum, I needed to consider my other interactions with “dogs,” or rather, “Dawgs,” of whom the entire campus manifests an eternal damnation of for approximately three months annually.
I most recently encountered a pack of Dawgs while walking into Tech Square following the game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
They conquered frat row on electric scooters like a pathetic, albeit eco-conscious, gang.
They came to a screeching halt next to Kappa Alpha in matching golf shirts and khaki shorts to greet a Tech student who seemed embarrassed to be in their presence.
Every sentence that left their mouths contained a word that cannot be uttered on daytime television.
Then, armed with their explicit vocabulary and cans of Natural Light, I shed a single tear as they scooted away into the night. At that moment, I realized dogs and Dawgs are one in the same.
They both smell bad, they both show up in places uninvited and they both bark.
A UGA fan or a foot jump scare are equally frightening. Sure, our lovely campus is united by our distaste for a certain school up North. Sure, feet bring us from point A to point B. Nevertheless, they are both deeply upsetting and in the face of such evils we must remain strong.
I returned to my international affairs textbook,
knowing that my professor would be disappointed that I did not address this issue from a neorealist standpoint.
My mind was once again at peace with the exception of my caffeine-induced anxiety.
I turned to the student with their feet out to thank them for expanding my mind to new perspectives.
However, they had turned their concentration from homework to eating a granola bar, allowing the crumbs to precipitate from their mouth onto their feet.
I ultimately decided not to express my gratitude directly to them, and to instead give them space to take the time to properly feed their dogs.