Back Page 3/01/23

The Backrooms Space Phenomenon

By Charlie Gstalder, Opinions & Editorials Editor

Recently, the long percolating internet fascination with liminal spaces — areas that capture a sense of transition, an unsettling in-between — has spilled over into the public consciousness. 

So, I’ve escaped from the haze of a backroom to compile a list of the liminal spaces on Xavier’s campus.

The Staircase In the Back of the Library

I don’t know if it’s the jarring juxtaposition of bays of glass and impenetrable cinder block walls, the ability to see in between the handrails or the fact that I always get off on the wrong floor, but the library’s back staircase is just disconcerting enough to make the list.

University Station Hallways

Hallways are of course one of the classic examples of a liminal space, so it’s only fitting for one on this list, and while there are a number of excellent choices, the U-Station hallways are best. There’s just something about the constant, unblemished symmetry that renders it a backroom. Floodwaters seem to provide the best opportunity to escape from the monotony.

Family Dollar Parking Lot

In my view, the pinnacle of all liminal spaces, the road and parking lot between the Family Dollar, U-Station, and Cohen Center, has every facet of a liminal space. Save for basketball games, the lot itself is almost always empty, as are the storefronts, each in a different stage of disrepair — doomed to be swallowed by the expanding campus. There are multiple areas of transition, roads intertwining with each other like the gnarled roots on an old forgotten tree. There is endless repetition – rows of flickering street lights and faded traffic lines, accented by potholes and craters and cracks. The family dollar lot is the pinnacle of all liminal spaces.


Aries: My preferred brand of gummies is Motts. What’s yours? 

Taurus: Try the pink Coke. It’s good! 

Gemini: Maxi skirts are in. Live your Mamma Mia dreams. 

Cancer: Please do your dishes. They’re growing mold. 

Leo: Please stop sniping your friends making out with people at the function. It is not funny. 

Virgo: Fly to Tokyo on spring break. Just for fun. 

Libra: Make like Mars and retrograde back to those Canvas assignments. 

Scorpio: Flirt with that Trader Joe’s cashier. What do you have to lose? 

Sagittarius: You have to eat something other than Caf quesadillas. 

Capricorn: Invest in an air fryer. It makes all the difference when you can have a mozzarella stick any time you want. 

Aquarius: Hey people. 😉 Listen to “Lost In Japan” by Shawn Mendes. 

Pisces: What are the odds you spend the night in Hailstones?

Comic by Briana Dunn