Web Exclusives:

Raising Kate

a PAW web exclusive column by Kate Swearengen '04 (kswearen@princeton.edu)

October 11 , 2000:

Princeton - Week two
Exploring the world around me

Dear Paula,

You'll never guess what happened - my parents refused to buy me the TV. Instead, I'm stuck with a crummy New York Times subscription. Some degenerate from the Campus Newspaper Delivery Agency chucks it at my door at 7:00 in the morning. I'd like to lay in wait and break his legs, but I don't want to get out of bed that early.

You asked about my roommate. Well, remember how I told you that the Princeton housing form asked everyone to list adjectives to describe her ideal roommate, and I wrote "easily compressible"? Yeah, that's right - I ended up with a single.

I'm living in Butler, a freshman and sophomore residential college characterized by its waffle ceilings and its proximity to the early morning dump truck run. Princeton has tried to make up for these shortcomings by supplying all Butlerites with Polar-Tech vests. I suggested that we call ourselves the "Blue Vests" and mount a Garibaldi-type march on the administration building, but no one was interested. Now that they've gotten into the #1 school in the country, they're doing everything they can to make sure they stay here. Wusses.

My classes are cool. I'm taking beginning Arabic, geology, upper-level French, and a freshman seminar about fascism's portrayal in films. The film class is hilarious; we met for the first time on Wednesday, and the professor asked everyone to name her favorite movie.

Some kid named Patrick raised his hand and announced, in what was probably intended as a deliberative, intellectual tone, that his favorite was The Godfather. When prodded as to why this was his favorite movie, Patrick asserted that the movie promoted good family values. The professor asked if Mafia-type morals should really be deemed "good family values." Patrick, with all the earnestness of a young Promise Keeper, hastened to explain that wasn't what he meant. But it was too late - evidently worried about the prospect of his eternal damnation, or at least about the prospect of being mocked by his fellow classmates, Patrick slunk into his chair. I played it safe and said that I liked The Purple Rose of Cairo because part of it was shot in black-and-white.

But Princeton isn't all classes and homework - last Saturday I took the New Jersey transit, an allegedly clean and efficient means of transportation, to New York. I would have taken Amtrak, but I heard they get really cranky if you put your feet up on the seat in front of you. Who needs that kind of hassle? I'm in college now.

Anyway, I met up with some buddies from NYU and UPenn, then tried to purchase a fake ID from a particularly seedy tattoo parlor on Bleecker Street. The Pakistani who wanted to sell it to me said it would cost $50 plus tax. Naturally, I refused. Come on - the guy had his whole stash of fake ID's in a secret panel in the ceiling. That kind of merchandise isn't even legitimate, much less taxable.

It was just as well that I didn't buy the ID, because I sure didn't need it when I visited Prospect Street later that night. Let's just put it this way - if those guys standing guard in front of Colonial were on the admissions committee, Princeton's acceptance rate would hover around 80%.

I didn't get around to telling you about crew, or about Sarah's new boyfriend, a 21-year-old sophomore legacy who got kicked out of two boarding schools. Both of those stories can wait, though - I'm already behind in my reading.

By Kate Swearengen '04