a PAW web exclusive column
by Kate Swearengen '04 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
peanut butter with a ballpoint
other pastimes during fall break on campus
By Kate Swearengen '04
stayed on campus over fall break, eating peanut butter and reading
the November issue of Vanity Fair. At the beginning, I ate
the peanut butter with a spoon, but as the week progressed, and
as my supply of plastic cutlery dwindled, I resigned myself to using
the forks and knives as well. By the end of the week, my utensil
supply and reading material exhausted, I was forced to use a ballpoint
pen to pry the residual chunks of peanut butter loose from their
moorings at the bottom of the jar. Even worse, I read the New
York Post online.
I wasn't alone, of course.
There were other people on campus for whom a trip home was either
undesirable or geographically impractical; they haunted the Wa the
way dead Athenians, whose relatives had neglected to place a coin
under their tongues for passage into the Underworld, haunted the
banks of the River Styx. Diet Coke, vitamin-C drops, cookies, peanuts,
breakfast cereal - all these could be easily had. Frequented by
comparatively meek locals, the Wa was a welcome break from the Darwinian
competition of Wu cafeteria, in which size and speed are paramount
in attaining a favorable position in the grill line. Due to the
passivity of the Wa's clientele, I was able to elbow my way with
impunity to the cash register.
Despite the novelty of
procuring daily meals from the Wa, some things remained the same.
Prior to break, I had fondly dreamed of the massive television set
in Frist, monopolized during the scholastic year by the football-and-network-television
crowd. One evening, speculating that the small number of students
on campus would allow us to select the program of our choice, my
friends and I trekked to Frist, only to find that a group of older
gentlemen had already staked out the television set. After watching
20 torturous minutes of a political discussion, my friend Cathy
bravely asked if we could turn the channel. A plump, kind-looking
man in the front row, who had evidently chosen the program, acquiesced.
However, as my friends and I moved to change the channel, another
man, this one wearing an offensive plaid shirt, spoke up.
"Channel 50 is science
fiction," he said loudly. "There are some really good
shows on Channel 50."
1 reluctantly turned
to the desired channel. Instead of space monsters and robots, however,
the program on Channel 50 featured three jive young men in flattops.
I watched as they walked down a sidewalk, slapping hands.
"This is definitely
not Channel 50," my plaid-shirted adversary stated accusingly.
Evidently believing that I was attempting to deceive him, he approached
and began to peruse the various channels. When he had satisfied
himself that the science fiction channel was not available at Princeton,
he chose the Discovery Channel instead. My friends and I left in
With no source of entertainment
save for reading trashy magazines and watching the harried commuters
race to catch the Dinky for Princeton Station, I set about trying
to cultivate an ulcer. I figured that, while I wouldn't come back
to campus with a tan, as would my lucky classmates who went home
to Florida over break, and while I wouldn't drive back in the ubiquitous
Jeep-with-an- Andover-sticker, I would at least possess the pyloric
scars of a tortured poet. Although my soda consumption tripled in
the final days of fall break, my efforts were fruitless. Classes
resume on Monday.