Waltham Weekly 24
Fall Colors Fall
25 October 1999
There was a possibility of having the 24th of these released on the 24th. But that didn't happen.
How IS everybody? I wonder more & more these days, considering how little I hear from some of you. But enough of the guilt-tripping. We've all got enough guilt & I've been going on plenty of trips lately... apparently, it's not enough, considering that I'll be going on a lot more in the (very) near future. But trips are fun & they get me off campus, which is evidently the place to be. Yes, that was meant to be ambiguous.
I've spent a good bit of the past week (4 days of it, from Thursday till Sunday) at Yale University (I use the term loosely), participating in a Model United Nations conference. I actually enjoyed myself quite a bit, primarily because I had the opportunity to represent Russia (or the "Russian Federation") in the Security Council, which gave me veto power & fairly different views than everyone else in the Council. Nonetheless, I met quite a number of moderately interesting people & even got to spend 3 nights inside a Yale dorm. I also got to spend 3 nights inside New Haven, Connecticut, which anyone from these New England parts will tell you is precisely 1.5 parties. Suffice it to say that New Haven is like a little slice of New Jersey, transplanted just for Connecticut to enjoy so the state can avoid getting TOO snobby. Well, that's not really possible, but I'm digressing at an alarming rate...
I love this country. Attending the Yale conference came with dire warnings about the dangers of being human in New Haven & how stepping off the Yale campus would give you a 1 in 3 chance of being immediately enveloped in a warzone culture that makes the state of nature look like affluent New England high society. But then again, New Haven's still in Connecticut, so the whole town DOES look like affluent New England high society, with a few homeless people begging for change in some of the more drab corners. One might think that Yale's response, as a responsible part of the community filled with energetic youths, would be to encourage outreach programs into the neighborhoods, building & running homeless shelters & the like, & making sure that New Haven's poorest could still survive. One might think that if one hadn't been to this nation. But instead, Yale spent millions upon millions of dollars in the early nineties on their high-tech security program. Every quad that contains at least one (1) residential building is built so that each block is entirely walled by buildings, with gates between all of them. But unlike the Harvard gates, which stand menacingly enough but are always open, these gates are usually closed & always closed from dusk till mid-morning. Each & every one of them is equipped with an electronic device that reads official Yale student ID's & admits them, but keeps all others out. Which, as a theory, might even work to favor security. HOWever, it is the express policy of almost every single individual on the Yale campus, apparently because they consider these cards & the system a royal pain (which it is), to hold the gates for just about anyone who is within view who might want to enter the gates. This warm welcome extends far beyond other Yale students, to people like me (no one knew me, but I looked student-ish), adults, children, & other sundry people, including (I'm sure) the very people the gates were "designed to keep out". So, the gates provide the staunch image of security, a large waste of time for students & valid guests (on low-traffic nights like Thursday night, I had to wait for quite a while for someone to come along so they could let me in), & absolutely no limitation on the outside elements of New Haven from entering the stuck-up haven of the Yale campus.
Fortunately, none of this electronic nonsense seems to make the students much more obnoxious. Maybe they're humbled by it, but most of the "Yalies" (their name for themselves, not mine) I've encountered are actually friendly & open individuals, & hardly resemble Andrea Goldberg at all. Then again, for the Albuquerque Academy to be judged by her would be unfair as well, so I guess the point is moot. Hopefully they'll be spared the burden of her being valedictorian, however. Anyway, two Harvard guys & I stayed in a suite of four girls & everyone got along rather well, though 3 of them had neglected to notify their 4th suitemate of our arrival & when she came in on Thursday night, the declaration of "Guess what, Jenny, we've got 3 guys staying in our room..." was merely met with a surprised "Yes we do!". Maybe you had to be there....
The conference itself was a pretty good time, though I didn't get to talk to James Weingarten that much, considering he was busy running the whole thing & doing all those things Secretaries-General do. Apparently he's ditched both econ & philosophy for history, in case you care. Gemma's probably the only one that cares & she probably knows already. So I'll move quickly along. I got a big kick out of being Russia & vetoing every single measure on dealing with the Chechnya situation, while condemning China for their parallel behavior in Taiwan. In the end, I got the Best Delegate award. Considering I spent the entire final day draped in the Russian flag I got when in Russia 4 years ago, I had fun.
That's been most of my recent life. Zack & I are getting along a little better, I guess, though it's all rather illusory considering the nature of the "talk" we had a couple weeks back. But we're trying to be civil to each other & hang out a bit, which is better than it could be. I'm not going to be around much on the next few weekends anyway, so I s'pose things will work out. Actually, I'll just be in New York City a lot in the next coupla weeks. It should be crazy, considering the Series, which I'm actually paying no attention to. Since the Sox lost & yielded to a series featuring the Yankees & Braves (c'mon people, those aren't TEAMS, those are CORPORATIONS), I somehow lost interest. But the last few days have featured really nice weather up here in Waltham, so I've been throwing & hitting around with Greg... mostly home-run derby on the Little League field that's about 3 blocks from campus. Nestled amongst falling colored leaves, nippy winds, & the backdrop of stereotypical small-town America, playing on that field feels like a piece of everything being right. Stuff like that can get one through even the roughest patches, I figure. Or even, if one's lucky, through the not-quite-roughest patches.
I feel rather patchy right now, so I suppose this will be short &... short. For the sake of effort, here's some personal stuff to get you on your way...
Kate, I'll see you at Columbia this weekend. Should be spiff-tacular. Though I have a partner already, one Steve Rabin. Yes, this is partner #3 (of 3) this year that I've never debated with before. Should be neat.
Gris, I'll probably see you after Columbia this weekend. But I'm still not sure. I might get a chance to go to Salem, land of trying witches, on Halloween. You wanna come up? I figure I'll be seeing enough of NYC to drive me into wondering what a tree looks like too. I could probably get you a free ride back to Boston from NYC on Saturday night if you're interested. We'll see.
Mesco, call me before this weekend. Sooner the better. Hope all is better than it seemed.
Mom & Dad, good talking to you tonight. Fish, what is your mailing address? Please get this to me ASAP.
Schneider, Barrett says hi.
Barrett, I told Schneider you said hi.
All right, enough of the one-liners. I challenge all of you to find a unique use for your keyboard this week... something you probably haven't done for a while... okay, I'm done.
The Castle is forever the Castle. I'm even reading Kafka's "The Castle" these days, though finally nearing the startling conclusion. From below, loud music rises from the coffehouse telling of people having a good time. From the window, visions of wind rustling the trees comes through, revealing more of the timeless town that is Waltham. From above comes the silence of those who study too much. & from within....
Have a good day, everybody. Take a step back, think about it, & let it go...
"What do you remember
if at all
only pieces of the night"
-Gin Blossoms, "Pieces of the Night"
"I am not worried
I am not overly concerned"
-Counting Crows, "Anna Begins"
the Past has come and gone
the Future's far away
but Now only lasts for one second
[Quotes thanks to Hootie]