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The Dartmouth
May 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Alice The madfratter: Off and On

I have a milk crate filled with books under my bed. I'm not talking about "The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System," "Dome the Works of Milton," or "Philosophy of Economics: Kill Yourself Now, Please." My milk crate is packed with the kinds of books that one would read during one's off term. And I'm going to read them, I swear ... after I finish my own novel and tidy up that silly dissertation on pulsars.

I'm off and on. Very generally and very specifically. This term I'm hanging around Hanover, not taking classes, and being only okay about fulfilling that glorious 'to-do' list that I drew up over break in order to demonstrate to my parents that I had bigger plans than simply gargling bong water all winter.

When my parents were courting (apparently that's what they did in those days), my Dad showed up in my Mom's office one afternoon and insisted that they run away to South America for a year.He quit his job and was ready to go to Chile that afternoon. She was not. Everything was going great with her job at the Lincoln Park Zoo, and she wasn't about to ditch those baboons for the likes of him.

The poor guy was unemployed for three months until he finally tricked her into getting on a plane to "New York" for "a weekend away." During our drive out to school this winter, Dad told me all about his daily routine during those three months of jobless limbo. He said, "Alice, I did three simple things every day: I read, I wrote, and I did something I had never done before." These three ingredients would congeal into my sweet mantra for this term: "Read, Write, Adventure." GO!

So far, those four paragraphs are all I've written. Actually, that's not true. I initially started writing this column about dolphin-safe tuna nets, but I just couldn't make up my mind about those things.

As far as reading goes, I've been all up on that. I haven't gotten to that milk crate quite yet, but I've been monitoring the "Free Food" bulletin, and The Triple Helix has been sending out some frikkin' long blitzes, yo. I'm getting started with that crate next Tuesday, and I plan on polishing off a book every three days or so. I shall begin with "Atlas Shrugged."

The thing I've been really good about is this "Do something I've never done before" rig. Today's assignment is to talk like a Phi Delt. Some days are harder than others. Yesterday's was playing fifteen games of jello pong. (Self Calllll.) Tomorrow I'm rigging one of those blog rigs.

There's a lot to do here, and it all just can't be done in four short years. That would leave no time for procrastination.

This term, in addition to doing "new," perhaps "unnecessary" things, I fully intend to make some headway on those "essentials" that I've been putting off for so long. To start with, I should really learn the combination to my Hinman Box. This is getting ridiculous. Beyond that, I plan on skiing a lot and seeing my professors during office hours.

Doing new things is not the easiest task when you're in a small town like Hanover. I'd go to new restaurants, but.... On second thought, I really can't say that I would. I have a car this term, so I could go just about anywhere, but the only new restaurant I've managed to explore is Orient ... a truncated Panda House with nicer tables. Actually, I should give them more credit than that ... wait, do they take credit? (Kidding!)

Seriously though, they make great Tum Yung Kung. (It's a soup, check it out.) I need to get my act together and branch out and go to some new places. Maybe today I'll take a risk and hit up lunch at Bonjovi, or whatever The Wrap's calling itself these days. Bono? BoYoko Ono? What's with this mass identity crisis that's sweeping the restaurants of Hanover?

I went to Orient for the first time last week with a pal, the very shout-out worthy Bennat Berger. We spent most of the time chatting about a subject that's inversely related to the theme of this week's Mirror, and very dear to both of our hearts ... (Hint: Not Outside the Bubble).

This winter marks the sixth consecutive term that I've been at Dartmouth. I'm on track to complete "The Suicide Seven." Seven straight terms of Hanover-contained bliss is peanuts to Mr. Berger, who will graduate having been at Dartmouth for eleven consecutive terms. Woah.

The one term Bennat will have missed in his four years here was the summer after his freshman year. When I asked Bennat why he took that one term off, he just sighed and said: "Even I made some mistakes as a freshman."

Bennat and I both agree that being "Off and On" at Dartmouth is basically the best thing that could ever happen, evv-er. We're all familiar with the usual complaints about Hanover: the weather gets cold, the frat scene gets old, there are only two Indian restaurants ... I'm from Chicago, where there are more Indian restaurants than trees. Along with a lot of Tandoori Chicken, I'll note that Chicago also has a lot of people ... Five Gajillion, last time I checked.

In The Windy City, you don't "see someone around a lot" or "have a class with them" or "have a handful of other reasons to strike up a conversation with them." If you do see someone around a lot, you should generally make a point of staying as far away from that person as possible.

Hanover is different. (Though apparently every town has its stalkers.)

It is pretty frikking cool to live in a place that's packed with pretty-much-brilliant college kids who have nothing better to do than get to know one another. In all seriousness, that's the #1 "new thing" that I'm very intent on doing this term.

There are too many people here that I really, really like but only "kind of sort of" know. A big part of my off term is going to be invested in playing pong with you guys.

Really, the only friend I have on campus right now is my roommate Darya Fuks '07, (no, that's not *d out.) Side note: Darya was mysteriously de-friended on the facebook by thirteen people last weekend. I guess I must be missing something, because her social capital is clearly going down. Darya de-frienders, reveal yourselves! I don't really 'c' any of her shortcomings, so I'd appreciate an explanation of some kind.

Four years isn't enough to "friend" all 4,000-plus of you, but that won't stop me from trying, (and not just because I want to be voted most popular girl in school). I really appreciate the opportunity presented by Hanover proper. Orient may be the only Chinese joint in town, but every trip is worthy of status on the "never done before" list if I manage to go with someone I don't know very well.

Actually, I had never really met that Bennat character until I went there with him last week. I'd just seen him around the river apartments a lot, and I thought it'd be nice to ask him to get some grub sometime.

The moral of the story is that "Outside The Bubble" is a great place, but it is not going anywhere, (hopefully).

"We'll always have Paris," but what we've got here is branded by a big fat expiration date. I like our bubble, and like Bennat, I'm not leaving 'til they chase me out. In accordance to the instructions of Professor J. Joplin (103 Sanborn, MWF 10-11) I'll be "Getting it While I Can." (Laterrr!)