Saturday, February 28, 2009

Struggle With Cylons

Okay, I will be the first to admit it. I have never ever ever been cool. My only pair of skinny jeans I bought at Old Navy for 15 dollars and I wear them because they fit really well into boots. I literally just heard the Circus album for the first time, like, 6 days ago. When the Harry Potter books came out the Hermione Granger references were on the lips of everyone I had ever met. If kids where like chocolate I would have been that awkward coconut one that is always left half eaten. And that's okay, you know, you come to terms, you eat lunch alone or with the kindly librarians and you learn to own that awkward nerdiness, you channel it into something productive, like, you know, getting into a school like not-Yale. And then you start to become a person and you realize, as Nick Hornby said, that it's not what you like but what you're like that matters. Nevertheless, shallow and absurd as the human race is we still tend to see the cool kids in the cafeteria and the sad strange ones eating alone and muttering about dungeons and dragons. It helps that they look like they just knocked over a Hot Topic.

Now, one of the best things about college, apart from the handles of Dubra and the discovery that someone else in the world has read Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is that you get to be a whole new person and nobody is going to fact check you. Unless you go to college with your entire extended family and circle of friends accompanying you, you will get to be someone totally different then you have been for your past 18 years. More if you take some time off or are Canadian. So all of a sudden your conception of yourself as a mathlete or a choir geek or whatever you've had to be for the last four years of high school and beyond has been demolished and you can finally be that chain-smoking hipster you've always dreamed of. Or whatever. Yes, yes, it's exciting and heady, the sense of power, the ability to change who and what you are. No one knows about your collection of antique dolls or your regular trips to the Renaissance Fair. (Though you should TELL them because Renaissance Fairs are AWESOME. ) Yes, finally, finally, you can be exactly who you tell people you are, and nothing more. Right? Right.

Wrong. Sadly, as The Merchant of Venice warns us, "The truth will out". For example, I'm a huge geek who just referenced The Merchant of Venice in a blog post. Even at the old age of 21 I'm a big dorky struggle and I don't see myself getting any better any time soon. I really enjoy some deeply pathetic and/or terribly nerdy things. But, frankly, so do you. And if the process of becoming a person, becoming a person, (because I secretly believe that's all living really is, is figuring out how to be a person), is about exploring the length and breadth of yourself, then shouldn't we all allow those parts of ourselves to come out and breathe every once in a while? Screw it, I'm starting now. So for your amusement and mockery I'm putting the crazy out there right now and giving you several of the things that make me so uncool I could have my picture placed next to the definition in the OED. Uncool has to be in there, right? I mean, bootylicious made it in there.

Some of the many reasons I could never achieve the elevated status of hipster:
1. I watch Battlestar Galactica. And so should you. It's amazing. It's so crazy and awesome and full of cylons and now I am super worried that everyone around me is a cylon, that is, a robot disguised as a human and attempting to end the human race, and it's great.
2. I really enjoy fairly terrible action/archeology movies. Sahara, National Treasure, The Mummy (and the Mummy Returns. And The Rock as the Scorpion King). I even saw Fool's Gold. Seriously.
3. I adore museums. Every time I go anywhere, any kind of vacation, that's the first thing I go. I went to visit my friends Benjamin and Jonathan this past summer who were staying in Washington D.C. and Benjamin was like, hey guys, want to go to the National Gallery? There's an exhibit on the ancient art of Iraq. And we were like, oh my god, why are we still standing here?
4. This morning I woke up and read Hedda Gabbler.
5. I still haven't heard " I am....Sasha Fierce" I have, however, heard " A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All". And I loved it.

So that's me. I'm out of high school, to be fair, but really, is high school ever really over? If it never really ends then, well, hell, I'm just going to own how much of a struggle I really am. Now, if you will excuse me, I have some Battlestar Galactica to catch up on.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Struggle to make conversation

You've been there. We've all been there. You're in a conversation and it's all going well, you're bantering but not in an annoying or overly competitive way, you're feeling good, it's maybe flirty, either in a friend way or a let's share saliva way. And then it happens. You don't know why, or how, but the other person in the conversation is looking at you like you have two heads and you watch your potential new friend/new hookup slide their way out of the conversation and out the door. What happened? Where did it all go wrong? Well, having done this many, many a time, I finally understand where the problem lies. And it's not your fault, well, it sort of is, but it's more theirs. The thing is, you've stumped them. You've used a word or phrase or concept that is just totally alien to them. You've mentioned Hegalian Synthesis, or you've brought up the term Brechtian, or, hell, you've crossed the line between talkative and loquacious and then you have to explain what loquacious means. I used the word cathartic on a date and the boy looked both annoyed and intimidated and muttered "You don't have to do that, you aren't at not-Yale right now". Which, okay, fair enough, but cathartic? Really? Are you serious?

Now, there are a couple of options when this happens to you in the future. One, you can stop, explain the term or syntax (right after you explain the term syntax) and hope they don't run screaming to the hills. Two, you can start editing yourself a little more carefully when you are in mixed company, because, really, must you use "diaspora" like it's going out of style? Three. you can wait for your good friend vodka to sink in and then you wont be ABLE to use any kind of advanced vocabulary or complicated conceptual construction. Or, and this one is the one I'm adopting, door number four. Go on the offensive. Because in fact there are times in a conversation when I myself am stumped or confused about the topic of conversation. All of a sudden it's like a whole new language is being used and I'm like, que? But I cover it up and laugh and smile and wait for the moment to pass. No longer! No longer will I tolerate such a struggle. No, I'm making a list of topics whose emergence in a conversation I will no longer accept as legitimate or interesting. And it is as following:

1. Spring Awakening. I don't know. I don't want to know. Please don't tell me.
2. Vegan products and your opinion on them. I'm happy for vegans, I bear them no ill will. I want them to eat and be happy. But I will not talk about how excellent items without dairy are. I refuse.
3. Fantasy Sports Leagues.
4. Lost. If I haven't started watching it by now I'm never going to.
5. The Kardashians. I saw this ad for these women who all vaguely look alike in an US magazine from a year ago I was reading on the treadmill. And that was the extent of me caring.
6. American Idol. See Number 4.
7. Your dreams. Not, you know, for the future, but the act of dreaming, which wikipedia defines as "sequences images sounds and feelings experience while sleeping". Please stop telling me about them. There's no appropriate way to respond other then "what do you think it means" and frankly I really don't care what it means. Tell it to your therapist, that's what I do.
8. The economy and your plans to do investment something or other. It's not that I'm not happy for you, I am, I just don't understand anything you are saying.
9. Science. See Number 8.
10. Your grades, your gpa, and how that makes you feel. Come on, man, you're killing my buzz!

In other news, my friend Haley and I were eating lunch in one of not-Yale's ten thousand dining halls (I'm kidding, we only have around 20), and as we ate we watched an otherwise charming looking young lady battling with a sheet of aluminum foil as she wrapped up two individual peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. STRUGGLE.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Struggle with boredom

I'll be the first to admit it. Not-Yale isn't all it's cracked up to be. They don't give you a seersucker suit along with your acceptance letter and while our dorm rooms are suspiciously nice, if cramped, they aren't outfitted with scotch and servants, privileges I imagine the original not-Yale class of 1701 must have enjoyed. Sure, we have great food (relative to most prisons) and beautiful grounds (if you enjoy faux-gothic architecture and the lingering sense that you are living in a catalogue). But let me be fair. We have two clothing stores! We have several thai food restaurants! We have a plethora of overpriced coffee shops where you can discuss Werner Herzog with the baristas! We have cheerful (read: very dangerous) locals who pepper our experiences with friendly stabbings and muggings! What more could a girl (or newly emerging gay boy) ask for?

Well, quite a lot, as it turns out. I mean, I don't mean to sound selfish or bitchy here, but where is the wild debauchery and atrociously conspicuous consumption of the era of Fitzgerald and Porter. Where are the balls and yachts and weekend getaways to Monaco? Don't give me this crap about a "recession". If there is one thing the super rich are good at it's maintaining, and perhaps even increasing, their wealth in times of economic and social crisis. To be fair, up until this point in my not-Yale career I have no idea what I would have done when faced with debauchery. With the exception of a few deeply brilliant or astonishingly well connected students the general populous here in not-New Haven can't really afford to be drunk daily. Not when there is Wittgenstein to read, or atoms to split! Not when they could be translating Herodotus and analyzing new ways to create math devoid of numbers AND letters! And how will they ever fit that Chopin concert in! Crisis!!!

But once you get to a certain point, that is, your final year in our hallowed halls, not only are you over academia but the hope is that you are under the influence. And there are helpful little groups that try and make this hope a reality, for example, there is one that I will title "An Organization for the Month between January and March". But the sad truth is that despite these nightly soirees and gatherings nothing really alleviates the deep sense that this place no longer belongs to those of us who have spent the most time here. Our ids are real, our senses of enthusiasm are faked. We barely chuckle when we see a drunk fresh person stumbling home at night. If you're like me, you sigh, take them by the arm, and escort them back to the dorm room they mumble to you as they snuggle up against your shoulder. Then you walk off into the night, letting the cold air kill your buzz.

To be fair, however, I am not entirely above juvenile behavior. For example, I just made a complete fool of myself gushing all over a graduate student from the not-Yale school of drama whose performance I witnessed last week. So it gives me hope, I have a whole new world of wonder, delight, and mental masturbation ahead of me. Thank god.

Song of the week so far? Kate Nash's adorable Foundations. Dancing drunkenly around to it only increases your cool factor.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Struggle in LaLa Land

So, contrary to my deeply held belief system, it turns out the Los Angeles really does exist. I know! I too was floored! It's not just a well kept secret, it's out there! It's real! Well, sort of real. Kind of real. Diet-Real. But kind of sort of maybe possibly real, none the less. And it's prrrrreeeettttyyy. So that's me proven wrong, at least on that one count. A rarity, to be sure, so note it down.

However, what I was NOT proven wrong about was my equally deeply held belief that LA, despite it's bright and shiny exterior, is a huge struggle. For example, people say it's a city. I'm sure they even believe it to be a city. In their sweet, dumb, hemp covered California hearts this delusion comforts them at night as they stare through the haze of smog and pot smoke at the ozone burning up through the atmosphere at sunset. As they gaze upon the sprawling monster of a city, hidden by peaks and valley and gang territories it looks like a game of shoots and ladders, all of the highways and streets bisecting the mountain ranges. But this, my friends, this is not a city, no, no indeed. This is just an obese suburb that wont stop eating. Everyone in LA asked me when I was coming out there to stay, and all I could think was, really, you actually want more people to come out here? So that the traffic can get even worse? Because that's something they aren't lying about, the traffic. It's awful. That's a struggle right there. Millions of people means millions of cars in a "city" where without a car you might as well never leave the house for all the places you can get to. I have never walked less in a city. I honestly can say that my best workout was wandering around the LACMA Art Museum. Plus I had to stretch my neck a lot, thinking all those deeply important and profound thoughts about art. So at least I had that.

Now, I can honestly say that most people in LA actually were quite beautiful, though if you're coming from not-Yale the bar is set pretty damn low. LA has a way of making you feel fat and pasty regardless of your actual level of athleticism and skin tone. My brother, who was a saint and drove me all around the city, took me to Barney's near Rodeo Drive and as I marveled at the 100 dollar plain white t-shirts and 600 dollar sweaters that looked like they had been the bedding for a community of homeless men for more then a year, I realized that though my weight and appearance hadn't changed the moment I walked in the store, my perception of myself had. Dramatically. I hated everything I was wearing, I realized my hair was better suited to one of the witches from Roman Polanski's Macbeth and I never wanted to eat again if it meant I could lose three sizes. Then I got a frantic text from my brother who alerted me to the fact that Kayne West was in the building. I charged up the stairs, thinking, well at least this is some cardio, and hid behind a display to spy at Kanye as he flipped through racks of horrendously expensive clothing and his entourage following from a discreet distance. As I crouched lower behind a Marc Jacobs mannequin all I could think was, what the hell am I doing? I'm hiding from sunglasses-display-model Kanye West in a Barney's in Beverly Hills. I should be doing my homework right now. I should be thinking about Brecht. Instead I'm thinking about just how odd looking this person is and hoping his Entourage doesn't throw my ass out of Barney's.

And that's the thing about LA. Everyone wants to be famous, and everyone wants to be friends with someone famous or see someone famous. People collect brushes with celebrity like trading cards, stories to trot out to underline just how LA they are, how cosmopolitan, how exciting and excellent it is to live in a non-city removed from all normal weather patterns and thought processes. And it may be all those things. Certainly lots of people absolutely adore living there, and if you want to make movies, or money, or a combination of the two, it's the place to be. It's filled with fit smiling well dressed people and beaches. I mean, hell, it's literally called the city of angels, right? Heavenly as it might be, I couldn't help but heave a sigh of relief as I landed in New York and was once again a part of a cold, rushed struggle for my train back to New Haven. Dark, gloomy, crowded and pasty as it might be, with a large coffee and a bagel in hand, that was a struggle I could get behind.

Song of the weekend? Awesome French Pop Princess Yelle. Thanks Alex! See her super cute video on youtube:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Struggle in Transit

Though not-Yale is many things, I will be the first to admit that it is not an easygoing, particularly pleasant or relaxed place. So in my final year of college I made the executive decision, aided my recently converted older brother who now worships all the Church of Our Lady of Los Angeles, to take a weekend on the other side of the country. Now, a person with my level of bitterness and general hateration for the universe is not general the person you would think about taking a weekend getaway to sunny Los Angeles, home of movie stars, pinkberry, thousands of illegal Mexican immigrants and Debordian spectacle all around. But my older brother, Alex, lives here, and works in Hollywood and wanted me to see it, and to be fair, not-Yale doesn't offer too many diversions this time of year, so with my sunglasses on my head and my most expensive jeans I headed off to LA.

Now, when I say headed off to LA I'm actually using a euphemism for "Took a cab from not-Yale to the not-New Haven train station, Took Metro North 2 hours to Grand Central Station, Took another cab from Grand Central Station to Penn Station through cross town traffic, Took New Jersey Transit from New York to Newark (possibly unwittingly deceiving a kind Latin American man on the way) and Took the Newark Airport Train to terminal C and waited for 3 and half hours to board a plane". You know, that common old saying. Upon my arrival in the Newark Airport I was informed by the nice blinking screen featuring departures that my plane would be an hour late. Lovely. So I wandered about the lovely sterile Newark Airport observing roving packs of cheerleaders and Midwesterners gawk and buy New York themed products. Amazing, given that we were in NEW JERSEY. But who am I to judge. I purchased David Sederis' new book and seated myself at what seemed like a fairly decent restaurant. Any by fairly decent I mean it served alcohol. Sure, it was 4:30 in the afternoon, but as my friend Cory assured me via text, it's got to be 5 somewhere.

Now, maybe it was the canned air in the airport, or my lack of hydration through the day, or the stress of all the traveling or maybe even it was my bad habit of working out every day, but two glasses of wine coupled with a salad left me fairly trashed. I looked up from Sederis' hilarious description of his attempts to quit smoking to see several DEEPLY southern ladies drunkenly talking about "Paaaris" and "biiistros" and "Well, I just try and eat at the biiig places and see what looks good, I aaalways have goood chicken when I go there" and could barely keep myself together. Did I mention these ladies were, like, a table away.

And it was this wine haze that made the hours I spent waiting to board the plan and then the HOURS spent on the plane waiting to take off bearable. As I finally landed in LA it was 12:30 at night, so 3:30am my time, it was cold, it was windy, and my wine buzz had vanished along with my good humor and attempts to be positive and laid-back, as I felt befitted a journey to the west. So I've started out super well, here in beautiful California. Wish me luck for the rest of it, it's already going so very well.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Struggle To Improve

I am good at a lot of things. Cooking, planning. driving. I can analyze literature fairly well and I navigate crowds well. I'm a good cleaner, and I garden. But liking myself? Well that is just not one of my virtues. And to be fair, why should it be? This is not something that we are told is important. For every article I read in not-Glamour or not-Cosmo about loving myself and writing lists about the positive aspects of my chin there are ten articles devoted to everything I am doing wrong. I'm too smart, not smart enough, too available, not available enough, too brunette, too curvy, not curvy enough, too much, too soon, too little, not soon enough. Did any of that work for you? Because all of that works for me.

And 90% of the time I can ignore those little spiky voices that aggravate everything in me. But then the weeks come along when everything goes terrible awry and everything you want is denied you and everything seems determined to reject you. And isn't all of that so lovely. Seriously, it's something about this time of year, the light, the weather, the imposing specter of Valentine's Day, that makes everything your do feel like a failure. There is something about the conversion about light and cold and drab mornings that let's you know you have fought the struggle and you have lost. It's over, finito. I might as well resign myself to a life of ill-fitting sweatpants and terrible terrible hair.

And when those devastating moments happen, which they do, after the subtle but terrible gentle increase of disappointment upon disappointment, rejection upon rejection, nothing seems to make you feel worth the effort. And it's totally possible that it isn't. Worth it, that is. But the most excellent thing about being a human being is all these other human beings who, despite your best and most solid efforts, seem to keep hanging around you. So you slowly deal with that fact, and you let them in the best way you know how and try to be nice when you can't. And they stand there and are nice and take it. And then, if they are REALLY nice, they give you that lovely thing called alcohol. And that's when you recognize that no, unfortunately enough the struggle? Well, that's just beginning.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Slasher Struggle

Yesterday was a crisis day. Don't you love those? When I awoke, vaguely hungover and bleary on Saturday morning my plans for the day included brunch with a friend, capoeira class, reading, and attending a production of Harold Pinter's Old Times that evening. Ah the best laid plans. What actually happened was a day of struggle, defeat, terror, mockery and ultimately substance abuse. But Leah, you're asking yourselves, how? Why? What could have possibly happened to you? Oh, my friends, a struggle happened. A deep and terrible struggle.

Also part of my plan for yesterday included having a working computer. But this was not part of my computer's plan for the day, as evidenced by it's refusal to work. While everything seemed to be fairly normal, for example, the machine turned on and appeared perfectly healthy and in working order, as I tried to type in a website, for example,, what the keyboard actually decided to create was ppp.wihaglknjvtuehg./agkopjgv.com8. Which, while interesting, is not ultimately that useful to me. Now, had I the time and energy, I might have spent some time trying to understand what my computer was trying to communicate with me. Was it angry? Was it possessed? Was it going through a dada stage? Who can say? Fascinating as these questions were, they did not calm the overriding panic coursing through my body. Being without a computer as a student, hell, as a person at this point, feels like going without a limb. An awesome limb that connects to the Internet where the youtube lives. I love the youtube. I love the limb. I don't do well with the limb gone, and despite my efforts to be zen about it, I was freaking out.

Luckily for me my friend Lisa, who is a glorious human being, has been forced by her mother to keep a car at school. Having appropriated said car, which is a prius, so good for me, I headed out of not-New Haven with my poor sad computer in my purse and my mapquest directions clutched firmly in my hands. I arrived at the mall with the Apple Store a scant and terrifying hour and a half later, having only gotten lost once or twice, and trotted into the giant building in my gym clothes, hair flying out in all directions, doing the nervous talking thing I do, well, most of the time. Several things occurred to me at the time. One, this mall was fantastic. This mall had a pier one imports. This mall had everything. Two, I looked like crap. Seriously, very odd little outfit which would have been ideal for my gym class, and was in fact utterly a hot mess for my trip to the real world. Three, I was wearing a huge and obnoxious not-Yale sweatshirt. Just in case there were any doubts about where I went to school, the nice people in the mall would have a visual reminder.

After this harrowing entrance, the actual purchasing of a new computer (which I found out was necessary), was actually quite easy. Thank the lord for the kind people of the Apple company, who, bless them, spoke gently and slowly to me and steered me towards the nice shiny machine upon which I am now typing. So, new computer in hand, I left the mall and headed into the car and into the night. Here is where it gets super fun. In my confusion and elation over my new computer and my ability to solve the problem neatly I got amazingly, incredibly, fully lost in the suburbs of not-Connecticut for not one, not two, but three hours. Three hours. Driving around dark, isolated roads like some kind of terrible slasher film with Rhianna's Live Your Life playing over and over again in the background because there are TWO songs on the radio and that is both of them. When I finally stopped to ask for directions I was mocked and demeaned by the liquor store attendant but, more importantly, pointed down the right road. When I finally arrived in New Haven, an exhausted, unshowered, sweat-suit clad mess, it was almost 8pm. Good times.

What helps in these situations includes whiskey. A lot of whiskey. And nice people who hug you and tell you it's going to be okay. And showers. They help too.

But at least my new computer is awesome. And for the time being, it seems to be fairly comfortable staying out the more experimental aspects of the modern art movement.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Struggle with the Weather

February is a useless month. If you are having a fabulous month so far, well, keep that sunny piece of information to yourself you stupid happy shiny person because so far this month has been dreadful for those of us living in the North of the country. Seriously, it's snowing, it's been snowing, it's not planning on stopping snowing until at least mid-March. Everyone looks awful, pasty, chapped, everyone's hair is a mess. It's no one's fault, well, it's some of your faults, but I'm being charitable here, enjoy it, it wont last. Everyone is eating a lot because you can absolutely justify being slightly rounder in this weather, it just makes sense, you need that fat. Somehow this time of year just encourages us all to behave like bears, large, surly, anti-social and sleepy. You add a handle of cheap vodka to a bear cave and you basically have a Yale party minus the vaguely emo music and the diet coke.

And yet it is the midst of this most awkward and unattractive of months that the good people of Hallmark and Hershey have conspired to create a holiday celebrating love and attractiveness. In this month of constant sleet and snow, with most people still in debt from the holiday season and stress eating on account of how stressful they find their bodies, we are supposed to don various shades of red and pink and find someone to trade saliva with by the 14th. The logic, I cannot find it.

Now, before you label me as a bitter single girl spitting venom at the world because I am jealous having not yet found the Tristian to my Isolde or the Avalard to my Eloise or whatever other doomed pair of idiots whose "romance" you find to be most affecting, let me tell you something. 1. That all might be true about me. 2. Shut up, if you have you have someone awesome to be with then you probably aren't enough of a hater to be reading this. And most importantly 3. I'm just being practical here. This is a disgusting time of year. No one I know feels good about themselves. My friend Becca has just gone from being perfectly fine to, in the space of 24 hours, being a black hole of infection. Seriously, send the girl some soup, she has approximately a thousand pounds of work for the week. Now, Becca is an all star. She is going to be over this in no time. But people here at not-Yale? The weaker bears of the horde, shall we we say? They are dropping like flies. And with the cold and the snow and the freezing rain carbo-loading seems not just like a good idea but an essential need.

As for me, well, I'm choosing the wine and sweatpants method of staying warm in this, the coldest of times. I do understand that in theory it's going to have to stop snowing here at some point, and once that happens happy attractive people will emerge from the tanning beds in which they have been hiding and re-populate the northeast. But until that time comes I will be struggling in solitude, and I suggest that you all do the same. That's right, ugg boots and mini-skirt, I'm talking to you.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Coffee Struggle

My friend Becca brought up a fantastic point this morning as we spent the day the way we always spend our Sunday's here at not-Yale, feverishly studying in one of not-New Haven's fine caffeination stations. As I sipped on my third cup of coffee in as many hours and contemplated the way my hand shakes as caffeine hits my overloaded system (this is my concept of a study break), Becca looked out the window and declared one young lady, who under other circumstances is probably a very nice human being, a struggle. Now, her footless tights, ballet flats, strange 90's style summer dress and general dazed appearance may have had something to do with that, and as our friend Haley pointed out, it looked like a morning after outfit that you had planed carefully the night before, so none of us debated calling this girl strugglesome. However, as Becca pointed out, what is strange about coffee shops is that their large glass windows and proximity to well trafficked areas make them the perfect spots to sit and hate on people. Few other dining establishments offer the fuel to maintain a healthy level of hateraide and the opportunity to exercise it so frequently on absolute strangers, and, more importantly, people you know quite well. It's the perfect marriage of window to coffee ratio.

As I tried to ignore the frantic thrumming of my overly simulated heart, I gazed out the window at the strange mix of oddly dressed youngsters stumbling home from their various nights of debauchery. Of course, here at not-Yale that might mean swigging sherry and discussing the stock market, but, hey, whatever floats your parent's yacht. One of the more interesting affects of attending a university situated in New England is the spectrum of outwear, most of which, should you be hailing from the south or west of the country, is totally useless. I am always amused at the doleful faces of freshman from LA or Georgia who, having assumed it could get no worse then December, are less then thrilled to meet January and February. While they continue to deceive themselves that fashion is more significant then frostbite in the face of a New England winter, those of us who live in places with actual seasons are toasty and smug in our fleece and down. Once the Ivy League has driven all hope and spirit from these natives of warmer climes they begin to create some very interesting combinations of skimpy summer clothing layered with wool and puffy North Face jackets which they throw on as they prepare to stumble back to their dorm rooms on Sunday mornings, blinking like moles in the light and shaking their heads in an attempt to forget the awkwardness of the hook-up they had drunkenly engaged in the night before.

It deeply comforts me to see these young people struggling through the snow and ice as they contemplate whether they are over their hang overs enough to face brunch. As I myself am scrambling to complete the oceans of work my professors hope to drown me in and franticly alternate caffiane and water in an attempt to aleviate my own morning-after pain I want to cry out to these poor, poorly-prepared people, to tell them it's all right. I want to tell them we are all in this together. I want to assure them that by next week that pasty, sweaty young man slobbering over your neck will be a comical story you tell at parties. I want to advise them to go to brunch, there's bacon there. But mostly, I want to take them by the hand and direct them to the fine people of the Columbia Company, who will sell them a coat that actually works.