Web Exclusives:

Raising Kate

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

November 8, 2000:

Intimidation, humiliation, and regret
Another day at Princeton


8:23 A.M.

Scraped crusted granola off my floor with a ballpoint pen. Fractured the ballpoint pen. Scraped blue ink off my hands with soap and an abrasive washcloth.

Read New York Times. Noticed the phrase "$3 beyond the greater New York metropolitan area" on the front page. Observed that the price printed on the newspaper is $2.50, and that Princeton must therefore be considered part of the greater New York metropolitan area.

Uneasily concluded that Princeton would be annexed by New York City, and that Nassau Street would soon be awash in Fendi bags and irritable, rushed pedestrians. Realized that Nassau Street was already full of Fendi bags and hostile passersby. Cheered up at the thought that acquisition by New York would undoubtedly bring 24-hour public transportation, and that it would no longer be necessary to rush back from rock concerts in order to catch the 12:47 A.M. Dinky.

12:39 P.M.

Arabic class. Read phrases in the textbook such as "Widad's father works at the United Nations, where he specializes in translating Arabic to French" and "Widad's mother works in the admissions office of New York University, where she is very busy."

Was briefly jealous of Widad's father's linguistic prowess, but then concluded that he was a character concocted by the Arabic textbook for the express purpose of intimidating American students. Resolved to not be flustered by "Widad's maternal aunt, the president of a large bank in California."

1:00 P.M.

Invitation to Ivy Club for lunch. Brazenly bicycled through the club's imposing front gates, disturbing a crowd of students lounging on the front walk. Locked bicycle to a tree, amid muttered complaints about bringing my bicycle onto the lawn. Proceeded to front door, only to see a sign reading "Tiger Inn."

Coughed nonchalantly. Tried to get maximum coverage from gray stocking cap. Wished I had also worn a scarf. Found solace in the fact that by the time Bicker rolls around in two years, no one will remember this. Unlocked bicycle, and wheeled it through smirking crowd on front walk.

1:12 P.M.

Entered Ivy Club. Met Anna in front lobby.

Anna: "Good to see you. Leave your backpack in here." Me: "Sure, no problem." Anna: "The hat, too."

Proceeded into dining room. Eyed chicken and cheese enchiladas on buffet line. Decided to be polite and take two. Thought about meal quality at Wu Dining Hall, and took three instead. Noted with some satisfaction that, although Ivy possessed many of the amenities that Wu lacked, it did not have a hot chocolate machine. Remembered that the hot chocolate machine at Wu was broken. Sank again into fit of jealousy and depression.

Listened as Anna discussed idea for her senior thesis, an analysis of the changing structure of American families as portrayed in movies. Met Anna's friend Holly. Overcome by paranoid suspicion that Holly was scrutinizing the way I was holding my knife. Tried to look less like a Visigoth by shifting my grip further up the hilt. Thought of my mother's gloomy prophecies that I would never be accepted into an eating club on account of my crummy table manners.

Listened to Anna's friends talk about a pack of squirrels that broke into Ivy during breakfast and absconded with the croissants. Observed as they engaged in debate of whether or not to take advantage of low ticket prices and fly to London. Eventual conclusion was negative: They all had to start their senior theses.

Shamelessly lobbied Anna for a dinner invitation to Ivy. Having secured one, left happily.

11:29 P.M.

Abandoned midterm studying for late-night snack run to the Wa. Encountered Julia, Cathy, Denise, and Tom, friends from geology and French class.

Cathy: "Where have you been?"

Me: "In my room, reviewing the polymerization of silicate minerals."

Cathy: "Oh. Rocks for jocks."

Julia: "Too bad. You missed out. While you were reading about rocks, we were watching a stripper over at Patton."

Me: "A stripper? And this was sponsored by the University?"

Cathy: "No, it was a male stripper who was invited for someone's birthday party. The University would probably only sponsor female strippers — this is Princeton we're talking about."

Denise: "It was the best thing that's ever happened to me in my life."

Proceeded to the Wa, then stood in obscenely long line to purchase yogurt and chewing gum. Passed up invitation to watch Grease with friends. Returned to room to sleep.