Waltham Weekly 26
That's a Wrap

12 December 1999

Twelve hours & counting...

Yes, folks, that's right - I'm finally going to be homeward bound in just a few short hours. I won't actually be home for about a full day, but my cab-to-subway-to-bus-to-cab-to-airplane-to-airplane trip from Waltham to Albuquerque commences around 5 o'clock in the oncoming morning. So I'm rather excited to be on my way. I've been so excited to be on my way for so long that I haven't written about here in almost a month. So it goes.

In case you were wondering, I'm flying outta Providence, Rhode Island so that Southwest can save me mucho dinero. Otherwise, my trip to the planes that fly me home would hardly be so complex.

What have I been up to in the past month? Not a lot-a, enchilada. I've been debating & that's gone really quite well, even when it was only helping to run a tournament, as it was at the Brandeis tourney a few weeks back, shortly before Thanksgiving. As a gift for my assitance in the tab room (where everything is calculated for the tournament, for the non-debaters) & registering all the teams, my loving team gave me a Brandeis shot glass, replete with ascending inked marks for each of the ascending classes in college. The real irony is that Adam Zirkin, my debate partner next year, & Greg Wilson, our coach, also received such glasses & also don't drink. So we had a good laugh about running off to fill the glasses with some hard orange juice or even a small dose of water on the rocks. Perhaps you had to be there. Perhaps I shouldn't have been.

At the actual tournaments, we found out just how little MIT students end up knowing about math. Their frequent stumblings over statistics & even failure to calculate them for the awards ceremony was startling, but provided much fodder for criticism of the 2nd most elitist school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Brandeis broke a record 3 teams at that tournament, of the 3 that we brought to the field of 52. Unfortunately, the odds were pretty good that we'd have to debate each other & the odds tend to come through at an Institue of Technology. So quarterfinals brought Steve Rabin & I into a round against Jordan & Zirkin... both guys who I've debated with before. & while intra-college rounds often get ugly, this one turned out to be one of the best rounds I've ever been in. We all got along, we all spoke well, & in the end, I was happy for Jordan & Zirk when they advanced. 6th place was pretty good, esp. with the great success of our school as a whole. Maybe I have a place here after all.

Away from the debate world, however, things have been less than stellar. The rising rifts between many of my local friends have surged in the late month & now almost no one speaks to Anna, while Zack has embittered everyone by being overly consumed by his new girlfriend, leaving little time for the rest of us. Which no one would mind that much if the girlfriend in question could GET ALONG with any of us, but she can't & feels threatened by everyone, so it's been fun for no one. I suppose we've all been there before in one way or another, but it's still been arduous. So when the whole "group" went out last Friday night for a semester-closing Indian dinner in town, we were without either of them. & while most of us who remain friends with each other actively get along, there seems to be a spark missing in most of the friendships. Maybe I've just been spoiled by the quality of my past friendships....

School continues to be school, the same as it's been for a seemingly endless string of years. I had just one 90-minute final on the last day of classes & otherwise have written 6 papers in the past ten days, ranging from 4 to 17 pages apiece. Nothing to worry about, a lot to wonder why eveyone else is worried - I could copy the same comments on this matter from the last 12 semesters & it'd all come out the same.

Waltham has been cold, threatening snow, but never delivering. I spent Thanksgiving out here by myself, realizing that I'd been faced with endless weeks of travel & now I didn't have to leave to get away from everyone - they were already on their way out. It was one of the best sets of days I've spent here this year... the campus was deserted & foggy & quiet, & I had a chance to read, write, & think clearly for the first time in ages. I also saw a ton of movies, ranging from the marginal ("Being John Malkovich") to the excellent ("The Insider"). More than anything, I can't wait to see "The Green Mile", the first film made by "Shawshank" director Frank Darabont since. I had Thanksgiving dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Boston, which was doing a great business by being the only affordable place open for miles in every direction. I'll take egg-drop soup & spicy vegetable fried rice over turkey any day!

So, as with the time to leave or end anything, I guess it's time to analyze this half-year of time spent at Brandeis. To be perfectly honest, right now it feels like the most generally wasted semester of my life. At this point, that's really all I can say about it. The ups & downs have been less noticeable than ever, with the slowly sliding descent being a general background theme. Where I will go to escape this slump remains a mystery even to me, but I'll decide around the dawn of the new millennium, methinks. Till then, it's time to GO HOME!

Which is, for the first time in a while, something I find myself highly motivated in doing. I can't wait to see everybody (or everyone who'll be there) in NM, spend time at the Frontier, eat real food, & even drive again. I feel like I've wanted today to come since the 2nd week in September & now I can only be excited. I should be on my way to spend a last few hours with the handful of people that I might miss from here, & then it's off to my salvation in Providence...

Everybody Who is Going Home, I can't wait to see you all! We must all hang out daily, or at least very frequently. And anyone who wants to help my family with luminarias this year, I think that would be a great deal of fun. Evidently our new neighborhood is right in the thick of the Christmas Eve bus tours & it's going to be quite a project!

Those Who Aren't Going to Albuquerque this Winter, keep in touch! I'll still have this e-mail account running from home, as always, so please write early-n-often! & I'll write more often, since I don't have the busywork writing of schoolwork to take any of my time whatsoever. I miss all of you!

All right. I'm out. This is all I have left to say. I hope everyone has good luck on their finals & has the best Winter Break of their respective lives! Take care, everyone...


"I'm gone
I'm gone
I'm gone
I leave today
I'm gone
I'm gone
I'm gone
take me away
I'm gone
I'm gone
I'm gone
I'm gone
I'm gone
I'm gone...."
     -Counting Crows, "Angels of the Silences"


the Past has come and gone
the Future's far away
but Now only lasts for one second

[Quotes thanks to Hootie]