Location: Vienna, Virginia, United States

A graduate of Dartmouth College (2005) and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2010). These are my personal blogs, and the musings expressed on them do not reflect the positions of my employer. They do reflect my readings, thoughts, and aspirations, which I figure is good enough.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Smoke if you got em

Or not

Stumble into closet

Since my cousin got me an espresso maker for my birthday, getting up early has gotten to be less and less of a problem. I was always a morning person, but now I really have a reason to get up in the morning; its name is Bialetti and it's tiny, curvy and puts out. This, I suppose, is what Ernest Hemingway referred to as a "waking addiction". Actually, Ernest Hemingway never said that, I just thought it would be kind of cool. Besides, Hemingway was probably more of the type of guy to have a shot of espresso, a shot of tequila and a shot at a poor elephant early in the morning.

It's kind of nice to get up before the sun comes up. Not quite as nice when you're not 10,000 feet above sea level on a mountain called Haleakuea (or something like that - the name stopped mattering after a while) on the island of Maui, standing with thirty other insane people watching the first rays of the sun break above a thick cloud cover. That's really nice. Cold, but very, very nice. It would been all the easier if I had been in posession of little Bialetti at the time. I don't often thank my parents for getting my ass up early in the morning, but that certainly was one of the times I was very grateful. But off the mountain, in a cold town called Hanover when the leaves are just a little past their glorious peak, it's rather nice as well. It seems to go straight from cold, dark and the middle of the night to cold, dawn and the break of day. I've pulled my share of all nighters here, and I can honestly say that one appreciates it more if there's not a deadline at 8:00 AM. My first two nights here was sleepless ones, actually, very strange experiences to say the least for a prematriculated freshman (I hate that word, matriculate. It sounds like what my coffee maker does). Since I really have nothing better to do at 6:30 AM, I might as well post about the first one (the second is another, longer story).

One August I was picked up at Exit 11 on I-95, Darien, to come up to Dartmouth for what they called "Prospectives Weekend", one of the events that Dartmouth does to encourage minority students to attend a college that is underrepresented in several minority groups. They do it in August because since nearly no one is here in the summer, the prospective students can't tell how skewed the racial population is here. I was one of three asian people, and I seem to remember thinking to myself that there were probably more african americans on the bus than there would be at Dartmouth. After four years, I think my initial assessment was not inaccurate. In any case, I got here, and was presented with a room, a one room double in Topliff, 2nd floor, and a roommate with whom I was theoretically supposed to spend the night. We walked over to Gold Coast (something like a pre-shmob shmob - freshman mob for the non-hip) and had a ubiquitous Dartmouth barbeque between one of the two buildings. It was pretty boring.

That night I ended up hanging out with a random bunch of people, some who left at one point to have an orgy I think. The rest of us were just confused about what to do. We were smart enough not to have an orgy, as I think most people wait until during or after college to pick up their STD's. At one point it was raining and we were running around trying to figure out somewhere to go, since we were there to tour and experience the college, and not to sleep in an ugly dormitory (we were young and innocent - how were we to know that they were one and the same?) We ended up getting directed all the way down to Occam Pond, in the rain, which turned out to be not quite as cool looking at the seedy '01 had promised. We also knocked on the door of a random frat and asked some very confused brothers what it was like to be at Dartmouth. We did get invited inside and shown around, which was pretty cool on the part of the frat brothers. As I said, young and innocent.

Well I didn't actually spend the night in the room I was assigned, and I ended up staying up talking to a couple of people whose names I can't remember. I think one of them was a girl named Charlie that looked like a guy (not dressed like, just looked like). What I do remember is walking around at 6:30, by myself, wondering what was open, and kind of hungry. Hanover is a small town, and it was obvious the locals didn't get up very early or stay up very late. That was when I noticed a quaint little coffee shop by the name of The Dirt Cowboy Cafe. This girl was outside opening up, and I asked her if they were open. She told me to come back at 7:00 and I walked around for the next half hour. At 7:00, I went back in, tried to pay with a voucher the college had given me, and was told that very few places were actually owned by the college and would take that kind of thing. This was my first indication that there was a large difference between the town and the college, a bridge that has not been built to this day (SA cash doesn't count).

But the important part of this story is that I had my first Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, a coffee that I have had nearly every day, from this same place, since I've been here. Lovely coffee. Just lovely. After I got my coffee, I wandered back across the street and found out that Collis was about to open. There, I spent my meal ticket, getting an omelet, a water and two packages of pop-tarts because I had to spend the equivalent of $8.00. After breakfast, I wandered around town, and found another place open, a small, used music store that looked rather indie and interesting. I browsed for a while, not finding anything, until something finally caught my eye. A Sarah McLachlan Surfacing poster. It was a promo, I think, since it was rather large. I had to have it, and even though the bluehaired girl behind the counter gave me a strange look, I bought it for $6.00. So I came out of Prospective Weekend with two packages of pop tarts, a Sarah McLachlan poster and an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. Not bad, actually.

Incidentally, that CD store was gone by the time I got here the next September. I never found out what happened to it, and no student seems to remember it (which is probably why it closed). I like to imagine that it only existed in the brief time when I was in Hanover that August, and it disappeared after I procured my Sarah McLachlan poster. That store really seemed like a great indie, original, student run music store. In other words, it had no business at Dartmouth College.

Closet Mission Accomplished


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