Thoughts on Room 314 and Vince Binder

For the past twenty minutes, I have been pacing in front of room 314, on the third floor of the Diffenbaugh building on Florida State campus. My first class of my last semester begins in eleven minutes, but I’m not sure that I can walk through the heavy metal door of the classroom.

What’s keeping me from entering room 314 and taking my typical spot three seats up from the last row, all the way to the left? – This is the classroom where Vince Binder began teaching me the fundamentals of Public Speaking, before his brutal disappearance. My breath caught in my throat the moment I realized where I was, and my palms have begun to tremble with sweat.

The last time I entered 314, my classmates and I had just received confirmation of our teacher’s murder. Our closely knit class had prepared kind words, sobbed in each other’s arms and shared a bubbly toast in his name. Then, I fled the scene and abandoned the memories contained within room 314.

Standing in front of this door brings waves of recollection. The time I did a spoken word interpretation of Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week,” and how Vince always wore thrift store shirts that proclaimed advertisements for car washes and little league teams. He always told us, “it’s your world.

The first day he didn’t show up to class, we joked about hangovers and playing hookie. The second week, we wrote down attendance and someone jokingly scribbled “hope you’re not dead” on the paper. What irony. He cried when he realized his foolish humor was the truth. I remember the candlelit vigils, being too emotional to attend the memorials, pouring myself over every news article in hopes of an update.

I considered running back to my car and dropping the class in favor of a different section, in a different room – but I realized that Vince would be mocking me right now, making cat calls about me being a big wimp. He would shake his fat head in disbelief that I’d be such a coward, and he might even get offended that I’m trying to erase the thoughts of our class.

So, I’ve decided to walk inside. This one’s for you, Vince.

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Categories: Stories & Odes

Author:Katie Boué

Katie Boué is the voice of TheMorningFresh.com - a travel lifestyle blog focusing on climbing, Airbnb life, and the outdoors.

10 Comments on “Thoughts on Room 314 and Vince Binder”

  1. January 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Barenaked Ladies LMAO! very touching katie. love reading your blog mama xoxo :)

    • January 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      Thanks, Kamara! It was definitely one of my finer moments in life, and Vince applauded me well after my stunning performance. I could still probably rap the whole thing, it’s such a good song, haha.

  2. dena
    January 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    I’m proud of you Katie and I am sure your teacher would be too!

  3. Dad
    January 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    That was touching, Kate. I’m sure Vince would be understanding of your hesitation and proud of your decision.

    • January 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

      Thanks, I honestly only went in there because I knew he would have thought it was ridiculous to wuss out of a class over it. You would have loved him, he was a fellow New Yorker!

  4. Danielle Hegedus
    February 2, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    Vince was one of my best friends in the world. We’d known each other for the past 14 years. Finding your blog, and reading about how much he meant to you as a teacher really brightened my day. I’m so glad you got to know him. He was a WONDERFUL person and the most amazing friend you could ever ask for.

    • February 2, 2011 at 7:15 am #

      I really appreciate the comment, Danielle. I’m so glad you found this post – it means a lot to be able to share my adoration for him with others who knew him. He truly was a phenomenal person, and now we all get to carry on his legacy of sarcasm and kindness, haha. I think he’d be pretty proud of us all.

  5. Erin Kelly-Boschen
    February 2, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    I’m a friend of Vince’s from Jupiter. I loved him very much. I so enjoyed reading this. Reading about something other than his murder was a nice change. I’m glad you went in, it’s what he would’ve wanted. Moving on is ok. We’ll just bring his memory with us.

    • February 2, 2011 at 7:13 am #

      Thank you, Erin. I came so close to just switching the class, but Vince would never let me be a wuss like that. It’s almost a little comforting to be in that room now.

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