Purple Perplexity

Last evening, we returned from a two-day trip to Elmira College in Elmira, upstate New York. If it were a living being, I picture it oozing royal purple blood, for it’s hard to look at an object on the campus, and not find a trace of purple in it.

Let me start with room 100, a guest quarter in the V.I.P. wing of Tompkins Hall, where I was put up. There, I found a pack of facial tissue neatly, enclosed in a purple box. The blades of two hefty table fans in the room were purple.

Purple blankets are strange. But I found them peeping from under the bedspread. Black and white photographs, chronicling the college’s “Kodak moments” from the previous century, were also framed in a purple mat.

Purple bougainvilleas can be pretty. I’m not sure, though, if the plastic bunch in the lounge next to my room were the same flowers. But they weren’t bad.

Purple Flower

Let’s move to the room’s shared bathroom, five rooms down the corridor. It was bathed in purple, from purple shower curtains to purple rugs to purple soap dispensers to purple soap. That there weren’t matching purple toilet rolls was a comfort.

All the couches, sectionals, and recliners in the students’ common room were upholstered in bleeding purple.

Purple Couch

The plaque that hung outside Tompkins Hall was purple.

Tompkins Hall

Elmira College insists that even the scaffolding of an under-construction dormitory building be purple.

Purple Scaffolding

Unconcealed pipes glare in purple.

Purple Pipe

Outside, some of the service doors or exits to buildings are painted purple.

Purple Door

The parking lot signs were purple.

Purple Parking Lot Sign

In the library, the water coolers were purple. The dustbins were purple. The computer cables were purple. The rugs were purple. The groundsmen wore purple shirts as they mowed the lawn with purple lawn mowers. The lawn was green, for a change. But the stream of water that the campus fountain squirted was also purple. And that was quite enchanting.


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