This past weekend, I escaped. Some birds are never meant to be caged, and while we had to traverse the overwhelmingly boring terrain of upstate New York, after six hours and three pee breaks, a few fellow "Sunnies" and I arrived in the City of Chowder: Boston. This paper's Editor in Chief, and a few other high ranking members of the masthead traveled across the great Empire State, away from "wow, is it boring here" Ithaca to "wow, is it not as boring here" Boston, in search of a good time and a job. We drove off to find America, and we hoped to return from our travels with something to show for it.
The job fair we attended was defective. We thought we were attending a "Journalists Job Fair," but upon entering we quickly realized that it was actually a "Journalists of Minority Backgrounds Job Fair," and apparently "Overweight White Male," doesn't fit the bill. To compensate, I had to tell recruiters I was Native American, that my name, "Bradelhontas Foxwood" means "Laughing Cow," and that I could provide the peyote at the next National Journalist Convention. Despite our racial-majority handicaps, each of us scored 20 minute interviews with The Boston Globe, The New York Times and The Associated Press. Each recruiter took a quick look over our resumes, told us that we needed to work in the real world before they would even consider hiring us, and then handed us application forms for a multitude of year-long internships for minority journalists.
Angered by this, our Editor in Chief savagely drank the blood of the Times representative, and our Daze Editor went over to a reporter from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and spit on his shoe.
"What kind of a job fair doesn't give people jobs!?!" Editor in Chief Andrew Gelfand '02 yelled as he crunched down on a piece of the Globe representative's femur. With nothing to show for our travels except death and a snazzy new tie, we ventured into the streets to explore Boston and have a tea party of our own. On our way, hundreds of blue-collar Bostonian drunkards toasted their Sam Adam's and yelled in unison "Go Socks!" The city was surprisingly enthusiastic about footwear, but as a New Yorker, I felt that I was above this city-wide fetish, Yanked a Sam Adams away from someone and decided that these hooligans and their tomfoolery didn't deserve my participation.
The first stop on our no-holds-barred Boston adventure was the crimson campus. We went to Harvard and arrived at midnight to find that not a creature was stirring. It was silent except for the sound of a single Jazz CD being played out a window, and a whiff of collective boredom loomed in the air. We quickly planted our flag in the ground and claimed the city of Boston as our own. As King of "New Ithaca," I mandated that the person playing Jazz had to stop and put on "Monsters of Rock," but instead he gave us the finger. Our Managing Editor noticed that he was wearing a gabardine suit, and she thought he was a spy. I said, "Be careful, his bowtie is really a camera," but by then he had walked away from the window and gone back to reading an article about "buttcrack love and whether it's the new cleavage."
You'd think that with a city at their disposal, the Charles River 20 feet from their homes, a man renting peddle boats for $16.95 an hour and a few Starbucks on every corner to keep people mocha-energized, there would be a raging party or a raging political discussion or a raging bake sale going. It turns out that Harvard is an urban Ithaca.
Even though they live in a "destination city" rather that a "we got a god damn flat tire and had to stay the night city," Harvard kids stay in at night and don't have 1/82* of the fun we Cornellians do. (* = This figure was proved to me by a Harvard student using a Palm device with a built in Fun-o-meter.) Students keep themselves busy at home and entertain themselves in strange Bostonian ways, but staying in is socially accepted there because "everybody is doing it," and they have amenities like fireplaces.
I haven't found one residence in Collegetown with a working fireplace, but the landlords of Boston give their residents the gift of fire. Angrily I yelled up to the window out of which the jazz once poured, "Aren't the landlords here concerned with what could happen if a stupid college kid misused the fireplace?" Then I realized that this was Harvard and there aren't any stupid college kids, so I ended my bout of metacognitive curiosity, and we all went to Blockbuster.
"We better book it there fast or Spy Kids will be out," remarked our Senior Editor. But of course, in an urban area, video stores are prepared, and there were indeed enough Spy Kids for everyone.
After watching the movie, we grabbed a bowl of chowder at The Barking Crab, said goodbye to the eastern seaboard, and returned to Ithaca, this time making one less pee break.
We went out into the world and found out there's no place like Ithaca (except small parts of Wisconsin). When I walked back into my home, my housemates were keeping themselves busy on the kitchen floor piecing together a three foot by three foot ice cube which they were building out of smaller one inch by one inch cubes. They were about two thirds of the way to completion when I came in.
In the living room, the television was stuck on a channel documenting the rise and fall of the Elmira Junior High School's synchronized swim team. Two other housemates, their random townie friend and a stray dog sat completely still on the couch, their gazes transfixed on the screen. Apparently, sometime between my departure and return, the remote had been lost and no one had willed themselves off the couch to manually change shows. "Dude, we're empty and aching and we don't know why." As a measure of good will, I popped in Spy Kids, which I had courteously rewound, but justifiably stolen from the Boston Blockbuster to have something to show for my trip. In retrospect, I guess I should have purchased a shot glass.