Welcome to the Hotel California

Such a lovely place.

Don’t let that cheery picture mislead you, though: this represents about a quarter of the whole place, and yes, it’s amont the better looking sides (it has trees!). It’s as huge as it looks, and quite labyrinthine inside; it took me a good fifteen minutes to find my way again the few times I got lost, and that’s with asking people for help. Before I learned to find my way in the ridiculously small portion I frequent on a daily basis, I did sometimes get the feeling that you could wander in there forever and never get out, and that’s when a certain Eagle song started compulsively playing in my head every time I got close to the entrance. It’s also still used as a psychiatric hospital, and as a results, some offices inside have iron fixations on the ground where they used to chain the beds to the floor, and most doors are massive and extremely well barricaded. The research centre where I work is, however, a perfectly hospitable place. I have a comfortable (if squeaky) chair, a kettle and tea pot right behind me, instant porridge in the cupboard, and my sport clothes in a drawer for when I want to go downstairs to the gym, because there’s a gym in there, too (you just have to get used to the long creepy deserted corridors when you want to work up a sweat late in the evening).

I don’t know, perhaps much of this sounds awfully mundane to other people. Since I’ve spent the past four years working from home, where I did have a kettle and teapot, but far too many excuses for procrastination and an occasional desire to be able to keep work spaces and leisure spaces separate, I’m still marvelling at all this.

I now sign some of my e-mails “Cécile Cristofari, PhD”, and I work at the Robert-Giffard Hospital in Québec, writing about steampunk, Second Life and zombies for a living. I still can’t believe my luck.

Will keep you posted…


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