Waltham Weekly 9
The Hook Brings You Back
18 November 1998
The concept of "free weekend in college" is a myth. Great legends have often been told of this elusive entity. I'll set your record straight right now. It doesn't exist.
While I appreciate Jaque's recent honesty about making a firm commitment to not keep his updates regular, I think mine can be regular & stay that way. Forgive me for the allusions said commentary may evoke. Also, all of you, please continue to forgive me for the lack of more individualized & personalized e-mails... living in college is often incompatible with staying in constant touch with everyone else I know. This is unfortunate, but these will have to do for now. I should stop making promises I can't keep & follow Jake's lead thus.
Philadelphia, for those inquiring, was most excellent. The trip was a lot of fun, though the MUN conference itself left a good bit to be desired. Unfortunately, compared to high school MUN, held in the NM state capital, the World Health Organization simulation in the bottom of the Philly Doubletree just didn't measure up exactly. Delegations in college are usually only one or two people in lots of varied committees (like W.H.O., which makes nails look unbelievably rivetingly interesting) which have about 50 nations each. More nations, fewer total people. The overall effect is that it's a less enjoyable experience, though most of this would've been alleviated had I not been (1) in the World Health [yawn] Organization & (2) representing Libya. Everyone should give representing Libya a shot at least once in their lives. Muammar Qkqkadaffi's philosophy in running his nation for the past 3 decades is more or less antithetical to my own personal beliefs, with the lone common idea between us being that the USA is in a state of constant moral decay & should be restricted by the rest of the world. So I got to yell at the US delegate a lot, which was fun. I also got killed. Literally. In the midst of Saturday's session, as a "crisis situation", 4 "Tanzanian terrorists" (UPenn college kids dressed up & having too much fun) entered the meeting room, gave a speech, & took their fake guns & knives over to my desk, removed my coat, frisked me, tied my coat over my head & motioned for me to pretend to have been killed. I was dead on the floor for about 10 minutes, till they left & the Chair apologized to the nation of Libya, at which point I was "revived & voting". All in all, it was most amusing, though a bit freaky that out of about 60-70 college kids in the room, I'd been personally chosen to be the target of assassination. Surprise surprise. Fish, you may recall an argument we had on the Montano Bridge while you were driving & Schneider told me that "Philly is the kind of town where they'd shoot you, Storey" & I got upset. Turns out there's more truth to said predictions than one ever appreciates at the time... or something.
The entire Brandeis team got shutout of awards, for two reasons. One, we were representing Libya. Giving an award to Libya is kind of like saying "Yes, we agree that progress is bad & the ideals of MUN are best idealized by being a royal pain in the rear while increasing the hostility & chaos in the session." Two, we brought but 9 people to the conference. Georgetown brought 80, UChicago something like 40, Berkeley had about 50... you get the idea. Brandeis started MUN last year... this was the 32nd UPenn conference. The awards tend to be very political & Brandeis is just a teensy bit outta the loop, considering our oldest member is the founder, Mauricio, a sophomore. Unfortunately, many college events seem to be far more political & reciprocal than I'd expected. However, awards seem to matter a whole heckuvalot less in college too. In the grand scheme of things, there's a lot more to worry about.
On Saturday night, I got to hang out with Kate in the Philly area, which was most fun, though frighteningly odd at some times. I ended up spending time with her & a few of her friends from her most interesting Catholic high school. The argument that all groups of friends in all regions of the nation are more or less exactly the same gained some major ground that evening. See if any of you find this familiar: we sat in a parking lot beside a car for about 45-60 minutes, talking, rambling on about nothing, mentioning "Okay, we should do something" &/or "Where are we going?" every couple minutes or so, to no consequence whatsoever. Eventually, we resolved the situation with the comment "Let's go THAT way," pointing generally westward, as I recall. Makes "we'll figure it out" look like a veritable pearl-o-wisdom. But what can you do? Whatever works.
Not to make you jealous, Miss Hass, but I'll be spending all of Thanksgiving break in the Philly area as well. Most of the time, I'll be at Kate's (or at the frickin' Philly Thanksgiving Day Parade that SOMEBODY signed me up for without telling me!.... ;p ), but I'll also spend some time with my friend Zach from up here who lives in Philly also. So, all you NM folk who were asking, you won't see me till the 23rd of December at the earliest.
Back at the MUN conference, I was speaking to the delegate from China (actually from UC-Berkeley) & I mentioned New Mexico & she said "Oh, someone in one of my classes is from there... kinda short blonde hair, kinda strange, but funny...." I immediately said "Andrew Goldsmith!". How random is that? Our high school sends one guy to Berkeley & I end up talking to one person from Berkeley this semester & they know each other. I'm beginning to worry about this whole 6-billion people shpiel being another one of those elusive myths.
'Round here, they have a funky little tradition that I've decided to circumvent with a debate trip to Rhode Island. The tradition is known as the "Screw Your Roommate Dance", whereby your roomie sets you up with a random person they know & sends the two of you on a blind date & then to the dance & you, of course, return the favor. I set up Andy & Stina, which I think is most amusing for many reasons... they're both very NICE people, even interesting sometimes, though to the astute observation of Fish in our conversation last night, most college kids seem like typical 8th graders at a perpetual slumber party. I'm beginning to become concerned that college puts a major 4-year hold on the maturing process. So it goes. Regardless of which, the "Screw Dance" is this weekend & the person I'd be most likely to go with doesn't want to go anyway, so I'll be packing off to Brown University from Friday through late Saturday for another debate. But Sunday's only obligation seems to be the hall-wide ping-pong tournament, for which I doubt I'm a prime contender, but I expect to survive a couple of rounds, at the very least. Eliaii & Kunx, just you wait till winter!! You too, Gris, if you dare maintain your latest challenge! Arr, blast 'em!
On Monday night, Brandeis continued it's role as the #1 rising research university in the nation by bringning Blues Traveler to campus for a concert. Not only did I haul Schneider to campus for that event (& quite a fiascish event it was, involving him catching the express train [remember the express train, Mom & Dad?], ending up in Waltham [a couple miles from campus], calling me, him walking all the way to campus while I took a van into Waltham & then took it back after not finding him, while he looked for me on campus... in the long run, we managed to waste 90 minutes & still make it to the concert for the opening band), but Marni from Florida who goes here hauled Lauren (who goes to Harvard) over to campus, & of course a handful of local (Brandeis) friends were there, so several worlds smashed into each other like atoms hell-bent for a harmonica. (Un?)Fortunately, we were all deaf by the time we realized who was thus assembled & as a result, we were spared too much conversation between people from my various personalities. It would've been really interesting & also really odd to sit down & talk to everyone at once like that... though all my Brandeis friends think you never say anything, Schneider! They also refer to you as the "tall blonde kid", demonstrating the rampant diversity at Brandeis. Or SOMEthing. Though the time you mistook Stina's breath mints for speed is an all-time classic moment forever etched in the annals of... nevermind.
ANYway, Blues Traveler was amazing. They played a tinkered-with 15-minute version of "Runaround" that covered about 8 other bands' songs in the middle (Gris's type of 80's music, if you want an idea of what they played in that set), which was all very odd. But they did a 3-song set at once which ended with "Hook" that was simply incredible. Also, we were all of 2-3 rows back from the stage, so "Big Daddy" John Popper was up close & personal, to be sure. He is a large dude, to use a Barrettism. But his 5-10 minute harmonica jams were worth a concert in themselves. All in all, a great time was had by all. My hearing was fuzzy for a good 10 hours following... definitely a good sign, right?
I'll keep telling myself that.
Weeks are a mess of class & laundry & spending way the heck too much time in the flourescent lounge down the hall, playing at least 10 games of ping-pong a day & awaiting the next full weekend while everyone else studies like there's no tomorrow. College in a bag, neatly wrapped, somewhat empty, but continuing to some destination that must lie deeper than a framed piece of paper, I'm sure. Just not sure yet.
I hope all of you are more sure these days.
Kate, it was great seeing you (yes, I made it home all in one piece... physically, at least!)... looking foward to Thanksgiving, all of a week away! More details later.
Fish, awesome talking to you last night... you gotta keep me posted! Good luck, my friend... it's all about the "spark", baby!
Vet, why are you wasting your life in college on a frat? Oh wait, I don't send this message to you, do I? Never mind.
Barrett, you have NOVICES?! In LD?! & Rob MEAD?! Next thing you'll tell me is they're calling it the Twilight Academy. Have you submitted any rhymes to Other Voices yet? I'm counting on you... keep me posted on the college quest.
Schneider, looks like I won't be able to make the hockey game this Saturday. Thanks for the invite, though. I'd really like to go sometime this semester, though... keep me updated on the BU schedule.
Shan, what's up at SOU? Have you been home yet? Are you going for Thanksgiving?
Mesco, the stuff on my board was Ashwin's interp of "Storey's FALSE Truisms". That middle word being operative & critical. I'll cut my hair right after the Green Party wins an election in Alabama.
Lisha, just don't tell me you're going to Rhode Island this weekend & I'll
be relieved. Though I'm almost mystified that we didn't bump into each other
in Philly. My faith in Vonnegut fades with every passing day.
That'll do for now, my friends. If ever in need of a dramatic insult, remember the words of Eric Niver, from across the hall, in ping-pong: "I could beat you with my eyes tied behind my back."
Peace & Love,
the Past has come and gone
the Future's far away
but Now only lasts for one second
[Quotes thanks to Hootie]