Waltham Weekly 15
Not So Suite
3 March 1999
I know what you're saying. I can hear that! You're all sitting there making fun of my punctuality. Perhaps you're jesting that this has no business considering itself "weekly" when I don't have the courtesy of getting it out for 14 days. Yeah, yeah, well, I've got a good excuse this time! Nothing happened last week. Nothing. That's right, I could've sent you a blank e-mail, but there wouldn't be much point in that, eh? So, instead, I wait for something interesting to take place, then write about it. I mean, SOME things happened, & the week ended kinda nicely, but, well, you get the idea.
Happy Birthday, Alisha. You too are now 19.... ain't it crazy? Thanks to everyone who remembered my own passage into, well, being another year older. For once, I actually feel older. It's a little scary, knowing that time passes faster than we grow sometimes. I'm working on catching up. March should be good for that. Or at least processing the nearly two decades I've been living.
I must congratulate my male friends from New Mexico for their creativity in cutting two cards to pieces along the most awkward of lines, distributing the pieces amongst themselves, & sending each to me from various spots all over the nation to be reunited amongst Scotch tape in Waltham. Neat. I think Jaque summed it up best when he wrote (& here I quote verbatim) "Why I'm sending you a cut up portion of Birthday Card might be a bit puzzling, but in the end it should all come together." 'Nuff said.
Housing for next school year was posted yesterday, or actually about twelve hours ago. Perhaps you checked the website, saw the pictures, & got all the details... the website is now a very neat place to be, with lots of links & photos (many of you fill these photos; others are of friends in college & the like) & all those things which websites are supposed to have. Even if Freez thinks "the entire idea is utterly absurd" (extra points for the quote-reference). If you haven't checked the site lately, besides missing out, you might not have known that 3 of my closest college friends (Ariela, Pelta-Heller, & Anna) & I were trying for a suite (a double & 2 singles) in the Castle, the eccentric architectural landmark on campus. We didn't get it & have been dispersed across the campus like leaves to the wind, save for Pelta-Heller & I landing as roommates in a double in the basement of a building across the quad known as Cable. So it goes. It'll be livable, a vast improvement from last year, but not as spiffy as possible.
Things rarely are. Anna is finding less than she expected to be spiffy in this neck of the woods anyway & might be spending the bulk of next year in her hometown, dabbling in, of all places, Southern Oregon University. So, if you don't leave there, Shan, you could see her there. Methinks you two would get along quite well, actually, but this is only an odds-on guess.
Receiving notice of housing is quite an experience on Brandeis campus. People get very emotional about their environments & there's nothing like losing a highly valued room or suite to a friend for dividing loyalties & getting rises outta people. Many refuse to speak to those who certainly deserved the high-priority housing less than those who didn't get it. Randomness, on principle, is frustrating, even if one receives a blessed position with nothing except blind dumb luck as one's benefactor. It is admittedly difficult to stare down a lottery system & try to believe that there is something of the "meant to be" acting behind all the scenes... but if one doesn't, the futility is back-breakingly stifling. My perspective tries to walk the fence without falling on either side... there's always reasons, but it stinks to lose opportunity to the same concept that sells people a stupidity tax at a million to one odds.
This weekend just passed featured a slightly less random method of competing for things... a debate tournament at Rhode Island College (on the "bad" side of Providence.... ooh, look out now!). The joy of this tournament involved piling into the Amherst team van at quarter till midnight with almost complete strangers, save a couple vague acquantainces & driving to the "sketchiest" diner in town, having a couple cups of coffee, & learning that debaters really all do have a universal common bond, & most are even trustworthy! There was also the pleasure of beating up on teams from Harvard, Smith, & Hamilton en route to top novice team, top novice speaker, plus top-6 placements in both team & speaker in the overall (not just novices, baby!) standings. We missed breaking over Harvard A on adjusted speaker points (debaters will understand how close this is), but considering we beat all the "varsity" Brandeis teams in the standings, & took 5th, it was still a great weekend. Every school gets to send one team who hasn't qualified to Nationals (in April) as the "free seed"... Kraig & I are now one of two teams being seriously considered for this position, which is just fine with us.... Wellesley in 2 weeks might give us a chance to lock it up. College debate is increasingly more fun, mostly because there's a great deal of freedom in style & topics discussed... in keeping with the theme of the season, we ran one case urging all states to ban their lotteries, convincing the judge to join in the crusade against randomness.
Brandeis University's schedule seems to be the result of throwing many number-balls into a hopper & picking out days off at random. We came back to school later than almost any other school, will go "home" earlier than almost any other school, and get twice as many Spring Breaks as everyone I know of. All you math majors out there will instantly see a confusing enigma in the above facts. Nonetheless, the last week in February seemed like as good a time as any to take 9 days off from school, so I got to sit around Waltham for said period of time & watch the snow fall. We got a beautiful storm which bestowed about 5 inches in 36 hours before leaving us for Maine just before I left for Rhode Island. I accepted the sky's birthday gift with great appreciation, especially since it relieved weather which had reached thirteen below zero, if you believe in windchill. If you don't believe in windchill, you shoulda been there a week ago.
I also got to see a good bit more of Schneider & Lisha than I'm used to, which was a pleasant surprise contrasting with the 9 days of empty cold campus I had been expecting. For all of those who may ever get the chance to sit on it (I can't imagine who this would be relevant for, but...), go see Schneider's archeology class. The class is held in an 80-minute slide show in a lecture-hall-turned-opera-house which I swear cost more than the Academy's endowment. The professor is most amusing as he meanders through the various theories behind cave art & ended up talking about the extremely difficult labor found in the process of "beating the %@ out of wheat for about 3 days" in order to make agricultural progress. That's what they get the big bucks for at BU, & I even made the attendance sheet! This was followed by a day at Ha'va'd in the snow, which is certainly a beautiful sight, unless one chooses to look down "Mass Ave", in the direction of which all lines of vision intersect with the Science Center. The Science Center is admittedly best described as an atrocity toward the concept of asthetics. It's the Tienanmen Square Massacre of architecture. Also visited was the Harvard band room which is steeped in tradition, stolen signs from EVERYWHERE, & the sinking aura of the Advocate office back at AA. Stepping into the half-buried room was like crossing into yesteryear; I almost thought I heard the sound of Chak's voice in the distance. However, it's not every day that one finds Orange Crush in a bottle & the opportunity is not expected to follow one to a forwarding address, so, as with good conversation & a train ride, I immersed myself.
The week of absence began with seventeen games of ping-pong between Schneider & myself. We have discovered that a well-developed suburban/rural ("coal-mining") college campus often has more to offer than an urban environment. Or maybe that's just the fact that the "clubbing" scene of Boston doesn't seem like much to offer. The week of absence ended with everyone returning from their various places of origin complaining bitterly that none of their friends had an arbitrary late-February week off from university. Now we have fallen right into the midst of midterm week, consisting of just two papers & a test for me. A bad week in high school had more work, but accounted for 5% of one's grade, not 30%, as this week does. College is simple, but unforgiving. Like fate, I suppose. & about as rational.
March is full of change. Upheaval. Transformation. & a whole lot of blustery windiness. I hope that many blessings are blown your way in the coming days... they promise to be intriguing. I will endeavor to stay more timely & more immersed in communication in the weeks which stretch out like winding & oft-obscured paths before us. But as much as wind potentially accelerates our cries & calls, it just as frequently blows them behind us into futile deaf oblivion. & sometimes, as it will this March, carries whole people on winged crafts to our doors. I look forward with anticipation tempered by realism, & always hope. With a half-askance eye to the past, wherefrom I miss you all. Tread freely, but with care, & all will certainly be well in the end...
Peace. Love. Always.
"Take my arms that I might reach you...
But my words like silent raindrops fell
and echoed in the wells of silence."
-Simon & Garfunkel, "Sounds of Silence"
the Past has come and gone
the Future's far away
but Now only lasts for one second
[Quotes thanks to Hootie]