The Dartmouth Lifestyle
It’s a blustery Monday morning in the dingy Novack cellar. Coffee stains and overworked pre-meds haunt the desks. Oliver Welmed chews the bit with his lab partner/girlfriend/chess co-captain, Ivana Bræk over their morning gallon of espresso.
“Ugh, I’m beat,” Oliver admits as he returns blitzes with one hand and folds his laundry with the other.
“You said it,” Ivana agrees, updating her LinkedIn profile and painting her toenails.
“Could you two possibly take your activities elsewhere?” a disgruntled Novack employee asks.
“I keep hearing these voices telling me to stop doing my activities,” Ivana chuckles. “My dean, my mom, my therapist, it’s like, get out of my head you sickos.”
“Oh, that gives me an idea,” Oliver exclaims. “Instead of only having ‘Voices’ for the self-identified women of Dartmouth, we do ‘Voices’ for the self-identified psychics on campus. Look at this piece I got from a freshman, Abraham Cadabra:
I have to admit something. I once was a virgin. I know, I don’t look like one. But here I am onstage. Anno, you shut up. Go away, phantom. Vade, Satana, inventutem et magister — I never had the strength to tell — Ab insidiis diabolic, libera nos, Domine, Gloria Patri — anyone. Damnit, Vlad get of my — there is no Abraham anymore. Only Vlad, me, rising in strength to devour — ”
“The script just ended there,” Oliver boasts. “But I think it’s a good start for our program. COSO’s already funding us. We even won an inclusivity award.”
“Me again,” the Novack employee demands. “Please take your laundry, your devil worship and your toenails elsewhere.”
“Silly Ivana, that’s just your guilt talking,” Oliver orders. “Ignore it. Bury it,”
“Nope,” the Novack employee muses. “Still me. Still annoyed. Don’t bury me. I don’t wanna end up like my cousin Mavis who got buried under a stampede of Kmart shoppers. Silly Mavis, always the rug in life. In my family we call it Black
Friday ‘cause of the funeral,”
“I have to go to my 9L,” Ivana winks seductively. “See you tonight? Maybe we could do something fun.”
LATER THAT DAY
“Boy, I’m so tired,” Oliver laments, ironing his clothes and entering his hours on Kronos whilst in the KAF line. Downing his espresso, he packs up and heads to his room.
“Me too,” Ivanna sighs. “I better head to my relaxation and Zen class.”
Ivanna unrolls her yoga mat and begins pilates in the KAF line while an instructor barks orders.
“Cappucino double shot for Kate. And an iced Johnny for Mark.”
“Boy, this instructor is really tough today, I’m gonna be sore tomorrow,” Ivanna says breathlessly.
An onlooker rolls his eyes. “Ugh, women.”
Vlad evanesces from the espresso machine and strikes down the sexist jerk. “That’ll teach you not to make blanket statements.”
“Extra hot chai for Vanessa,” the barista calls.
“IT’S VLAD, YOU WENCH!” Vlad cries, striking the barista down.
“I thought we weren’t supposed to make blanket statements,” the former onlooker now a charred pile of ash points out.
“I work for Satan.
Those rules don’t apply to me. That’s called a double standard. Look it up.”
Meanwhile, Ivanna packs up her mat. She heads to Oliver’s room.
“Ollie, I had the weirdest time in KAF today,” she said. “My class got interrupted by some rude guy complaining about his chai, And then he like, murdered two people. Still beats Starbucks.”
“Hold that thought,” Oliver says. “I just need to audition for Dartmouth Idol real quick while I finish my second thesis.”
“Sweetie, can you take a breather?” Ivana winks, again. “For us? We’ve been really absent lately. I just don’t think this lifestyle’s sustainable. Why don’t we do that thing I hinted at earlier?”
“Oh, yeah, you wanna do that?”
“Oh yeah. So bad. I’ve been waiting all day. Whip it out, baby!”
Oliver takes out his hard copy of the their calendars this week. He begins reading off each date and all their logistics.
“Tuesday. You have drill, then class, then more class, then soccer, then trippee dinner, then juggling club, then canoeing rehearsal.”
“Oh, keep going.”
“And I have a team breakfast, an exorcism, then recorder lessons, then class, another exorcism, then jewelry studio, office hours, ‘Voices’ rehearsal and finally a mass-exorcism. The jewelry studio is a dark place.”
“I’m almost there,” she says.
“Then at night, we have us time,” Oliver finishes. Ivana snaps out of her trance.
“Oh. Can we re-schedule? I have a midterm.”
“Sure, I have a lab to finish anyways.”
In the bowels of Novack, Vlad shakes his head, sips his chai labeled Vanessa and laments the downfall of another Dartmouth couple.
“Sweetie, are ya comin to bed?” Vlad’s wife calls from the spirit boudoir.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m comin’. I just can’t stand to see the youth degenerate like this. Their schedules are tearing them apart. We were once like them, remember?”
“And now we’re tenured. Goodnight.”
“You wanna?” Vlad hints.
“No, we have a very busy day at ‘Voices’ tomorrow.”