Waltham Weekly 6
& I Don't Believe in Time
19 October 1998
It's that time of the week once again... & since the trend of sending weekly reports from college (or critiques, Schneider, as the case may be) seems to be catching on like wildfire through the land, I might as well live up to my end of the bargain. I wonder sometimes if my life is eventful enough to write about, but I suppose you guys'll let me know if it isn't. I know I owe several of you personal e-mail, which I'll try to get to within the next 24 hours if not sooner. As I've said before, this is a time-saving device which is all too often necessary. If new to this, you can get previous mailings; if sick of this, you won't get future mailings. Just that easy, yadda, yadda, yadda.
The morning of my last mailing, I ended up doing laundry for the better part of the night & ended up staying up through the morning. You'll all be glad to know that college hasn't even begun to change my sleep habits... I probably sleep a tiny bit more than I used to on weekends, as Gris can attest to... but all-nighters are still a weekday regularity. I noticed a bit of a self-induced commentary on my taste when my laundry was divided evenly into one load of whites/colors & another load of greens. After finishing my laundry (& my homework!... technicalities, technicalities), I trekked to the "Castle", a sophomore/junior dorm structured quite effectively to look like a medieval castle with modern amenities. Leave it to the youngest major university in the country (we're celebrating our 50-year anniversary this year... the same age as my dad!) to build a castle as the primary landmark on campus. Anyway, the castle offers the best views of the Boston skyline from Brandeis, so I climbed up 5 stories of a fire escape attached to one of the towers & stood from 5:30 till about 7, watching the sun rise. I mention this because it was the most inspirational hour & a half I've spent in Massachusetts to date... I was finally at some semblance of peace with my surroundings & everything seemed full of optomistic potential. Few experiences have the power of staying up all night & watching the sun rise... the "energy rush" to recoin a phrase is truly sensational. The best therapy of any sort that I've found yet.
The week, as weeks tend to be, was uneventful. I have yet to determine whether I find a routine to be something beneficial & comforting or something annoying & dull. Jake will recognize this as the all-too-familiar "Groove Vs. Rut Debate". I tend to take the side that routines are equivalent to ruts & ought thus be avoided &/or shaken up as much as possible. At the same time, one can't help but develop some sort of consistent pattern of activity in life, esp. in schooled life. So, the jury's out on the issue. Regardless of which, routines become repetitive & thus uninteresting. I go to my 22 credit hours of class, take notes on lectures or discuss island-oriented books or speak in Russian, I come back to my dorm & talk with people on my floor who aren't exactly friends yet but could be at some point, I play computer games & read & write a bit, go to my extracurricular activities (currently totalling parli' debate, Model UN, lit mag, Socialist party, & of course "Cleans").... I always feel like I never have free time & am simultaneously getting nothing accomplished. I suppose that this condition is inherent to the nature of life as an 18-year-old in America. So it goes.
But there have been some notable events. On Friday, I took my first college midterm... an 80-minute International Relations (henceforth "IR") essay. I had been concerned by the fact that more than 100 people in the class were freaking out about the upcoming exam & they had done the reading; conversely, I hadn't done the reading but was not worried. Evidently Giles-n-Rolf's silly little semester-long course back in junior year did more than I thought... the exam was pretty darn easy, even though Ashwin & I were 2 of the last 10 people in the exam room. He had been freaking out with the best of 'em & we stayed up studying till 4 in the morning the night before, but he too was surprised at the ease of the test. After that, I left the room & had suddenly gone from my first college midterm to my last "free" weekend till December. What a rush!, in the beloved words of Schneider. Soon thereafter, Adam & I began putting up the five strings of Christmas tree lights around Andy's & my room.... they've been dubbed "Festivus Lights" 'round here, cuz they're not for Christmas & the idea of anything being for Christmas is less than kosher in these parts anyway. It was a fun process, eventually involving Stina & Andy as they returned from classes... we now have tons of packing tape all over our ceiling & walls (the first 24 hours they were up, we were constantly dealing with peeling tape & the resulting collapses). However, the improvement of the lights on the room is universally considered to be a hundredfold. In the middle of the night, the lights themselves are sufficient to be the only source of light in the room & keep the room almost as well-lit as our hideous central flourescent square. The lights are very popular amongst the people in Scheffres & surrounding areas, so it's all good. Andy especially has been captivated... he's always secretly yearned for such lights which have till this point been barred from his experience.
Friday night took a quick turn for the worse, however, as I decided to go to the debate party which ended up being a repeat of all too many high school parties. Four of us (out of about 15-20 total people) weren't drinking & we ended up watching a terribly rotten movie about people on pot called "Half Baked". 'Nuff said. Suffice it to say it's a contender with "Mars Attacks" & "As Good as It Gets" for the worst film I've ever seen, though it's slightly better than both. Just barely. Things were looking up as the drinking games ceased & we all gathered 'round to watch "Life of Brian" (a Monty Python flick), but one of the largest people I've ever seen in my life decided to almost pass out, falling on a table, flipping half of its contents into the air & thudding to the floor, at which point it became clear that it was time to go home. So, we left the off-campus apartment & I got an opportunity to drive for the first time in almost two months! I've missed driving more than I expected & though I suspected I'd forget how to drive, but it all came back almost immediately. A valid drivers license seems to be a rare commodity in the northeast, land of subways & commuter rails.
Saturday night was a great improvement... that was the night of the "50th Anniversary Gala", my analysis of which remains "the spoiled richkid activity for all the spoiled richkids who don't have any spoiled richkid things to attend now that they're in college". Tickets were something like 50 bucks apiece, besides the rented tuxes (unless, of course, people actually BROUGHT a tux to college, if you really want to be ill!)... Andy ended up going & Chris went home for the weekend, so after watching a saddening (though briefly hopeful... yes, I hate the Yankees) Game One of the World Series, some of us ordered Chinese food in & a party ended up developing in my room (with the lights, one can't help it!)... the party grew as people trickled in from the Gala & we had 10-12 people in here at one point... we told ghost stories & traded past experiences & just had a good time. Ratio was about even, for those who were thinking about that question. So, perhaps I'm finding my place here after all. After all, the party didn't break up till about 4:30 or so... college life is great in that respect. Even at 4 am, one is rarely alone... Ashwin & I at least are always in the lounge doing homework at that hour.
Nothing much else has happened... "the Justice", the campus weekly paper, wrote up the debate win that Kraig & I had at Columbia a few weeks back in their latest issue & so a lot of quasi-friends who hadn't heard about it before got me a "congratulations" card & a 10-pack of Kit-Kats.... I suppose they know me pretty well. Frances, when giving me the card, said "I hope you like Kit-Kats" & I just cracked up... my NM buddies especially will know why this is so darn funny. For the rest of you, you may or may not know that Kit-Kats are by far my favorite candy bar. But I was really impressed & felt for the first time like a couple people around here might actually care, which is just darn spiffy.
Today was class... again. Woohoo doggie.
Jake, I save all of my dimes & nickels for the express purpose of buying sodas with them in the downstairs soda machine which, get this, costs 95 cents! Admittedly it's for a 20-oz. bottle, but those 95 cents will eat up dimes & nickels like nothing else & also, in your terms, seem like it's free soda! So, there's my suggestion, though I commend you on donating to others' causes as well.
Schneider, I got the Blues Traveler tickets... so we're set for that. I'll call you sometime this week or weekend at the latest to discuss Freez & Jaque's arrival. Here we go again. I must commend you for keeping us all on our toes with your late message... where would we be without cynical commentary to keep us in check? I am sincere in this... if we can't laugh at ourselves, then what...?
Paige, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing you in a couple days!
Kunx, I sympathize with your tough week & hope that your e-mail & more tangible items remain intact for the rest of the semester!
Danny, are you coming to the Brandeis Tournament this coming weekend? Hope to see you there...
Mom & Dad, you'll note that you're getting this now... I've written five of these previously & noticed that most of my friends incl. their parents in their weekly mailings... I'll send you previous copies if you want. I just hope it isn't too revealing about your son's secret life!! ;)
Gemma, I'll call you sometime or you call me.
Jenny, Kate, & Jessica (Hass)... I owe you 2 personal e-mail the most... I'm
working on it!
All right, everyone, that should just about cover it. Hope everyone is having the time of their lives, or at least ekeing out some sort of existence. October is a jazzy but very inconsistent & volatile month. The wind & the fall colors here are both amazing though... you all know I'd prefer life with constant 35 mph winds at the very least... the last 2 days have been close. Without blustery fall days, life would be all too stable.
Take care, everyone! I love you all!
the Past has come and gone
the Future's far away
but Now only lasts for one second
[Quotes thanks to Hootie]