by catherinefauver and sophiewolfe
Cathy: As new 4th years, Sophie and I have seen UVM through many stages of insanity related to the way that the university handled COVID, and one of the true horrors that the pandemic brought was the loss of the beloved Cyber Cafe. Faithful fans will remember the maddening time we spent in Jeanne Mance in the days where it was a plague ward and not simply a sad-looking dorm. For all of the time that we have known it, the Cyber Cafe has been a husk, frozen in time from happier days. If you wanted to get caffeine in the library, you either had to rely on the vending machine in the dark corner next to the Cyber Cafe’s corpse or take a pilgrimage all the way to the Davis Center (famously 15 miles away from the library) to take your chances on the many dining locations which were probably closed. The WaterTower felt this loss greatly, and former WaterTower members Kelsey Deemer and Eliza Ligon reported on the loss of the Cyber Cafe in October of 2021. With the Cyber Cafe literally dying came the reason that the first floor of the library had become eerily silent. As they said best, “The first floor is the place to scream, shout, and let it all out”!!! Treating it as a quiet study space is an affront to the sacred ritual of pretending to study while actually just hanging out with your friends. The WaterTower also hosted a memorial service for the deceased Cyber Cafe on November 31st, 2021. It was a beautiful service with an amazing turnout, and we mourned what we thought was the last of the Cyber Cafe. However, as of this week in the year of our lord 2023, a miracle has happened. The Cyber Cafe has risen again!!
Just this past week, I turned the corner in the library to see that the lights which had been out for years were back on. The Cyber Cafe is back, and it is hard to not make a comparison to a certain story from 7 to 4 BC…I think you know where I’m going with this one. The Cyber Cafe is the 2nd coming of Christ. Or, I don’t know, I feel like there has gotta be some relation there, right? The death.. The resurrection… Obviously I don’t have enough intimate details about Jesus H. Christ (despite my dutiful time in the Catholic Church), so I deferred to the foremost expert in all things holy, my beloved roommate, fellow WaterTower baddie, and Paradise Lost expert— Sophie.
Sophie: Let’s start from the top. Jesus Christ, God’s only son, the ultimate homie. You know him as the savior of mankind, the purveyor of mercy, the inventor of the jet ski (How do you think he managed to ‘walk on water’?). Way way back in the day before Jesus was Jesus, he was just the Son of God, kicking it in heaven at the right hand of the Father, literally. He was exalted high above the other angels, like a typical only child. He probably played tennis in the clouds every afternoon and won every match. But when mankind, in a totally random move, fell to the seductions of Satan, the Son offered himself up as our savior, so that we might find grace instead of getting shredded into tiny, sad pieces by his dad. The Son did the hardest thing that any only child can do: left his parents, moved out on his own, and ultimately perished. In between leaving Heaven and dying there was a lot of stuff with virgins and evil kings and exorcisms, but I really can’t get into it. The point about Jesus was always that he was gonna die and that it was gonna be for our sins somehow.
The last week of Jesus’ life before his crucifixion is often referred to as ‘Passion Week’ which is kind of like finals week for your entire life. Christ made the most of his final days, singing Psalms, performing some last-minute miracles, having a struggle meal with all of his friends which iconically ended in a dramatic betrayal.
Fast forward a couple dozen centuries and you wind up here, one of the worst places a person could be. It’s 2023, the global economy’s a mess, religion has failed us, and, worst of all, the Cyber Cafe has been missing for these past two years. But this month marks a revival that all but the wackiest of evangelicals had all but given up on: Cyber’s back, baby! One of the last vestiges of humanity on UVM’s campus returns to the Howe Library, supplying coffee and tea to the masses. And if I were you I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of transubstantiation. Yum….the blood of Christ never tasted so sweet, so warm, so caffeine-laden.
If Jesus were to rise again, how would we know? What would it look like? Some prophets have predicted that in the days prior to Christ’s return, our world will experience great turmoil, war and suffering. Okay…Duh! Perhaps we’ll fall witness to the building of righteous cities, the opening up of the skies, or hailstorms that destroy our crops (??). But down at the Unitarian Universalist Church they taught me that Jesus was all about love, man. In his first life on Earth, he was known as a performer of miracles and a healer of pain. What larger miracle than to revive what has died, a humble cafe in a student library, serving coffee from noon until 8 PM.
The WaterTower would like to host a resurrection ceremony for the revived Cyber Cafe on September 31st, 2023. Please bring something to celebrate the return of joy to the first floor of the library.