My favorite Swarthmore moments from freshman year back

Impromptu Drunken A Cappella in the Bell Tower: The usual Friday night scene occurs. All of us go to the usual Paces party of the evening and dance up a storm. Nori is a bit more plastered than usual from drinking before the party with Laurel and then continuing when she got to the party. We leave a little after two, stalling to miss the threat of cops that had circulated through the party attenders. To be extra careful, we leave through the side door of Tarble and walk through the Bell Tower. An unusually large group of us too: Amelia, Nori, Jenny, Eve, Andrew, Laurel and me. So we get to the Bell Tower and Nori stops everyone and finds a pitch. Jenny, Laurel, Amelia and Eve all take the cue and a cappella bliss occurs, reverberating in the upper reaches of the Tower.

Sitting on Sappho: The day before spring break, I come out of Sharples to find Nori clad in much orange clothing and her Turkish pants, curled up on the metal sculpture of Sappho just outside the cafeteria, enjoying the sun. So of course I join her, wading across the ivy and daffodils that carpet the flower bed around Sappho (who is it that termed them "Sapphodils?"). I sit on Sappho's knee, perched above Nori. Laurel comes joins us shortly, and not too long afterward, Dave Auerbach. So the four of us sit there, enjoying the company and the stares of people walking by, talking about our spring break plans and anything other than the usual Swat topics. Jenny walks by and I ask if she'd take a picture of us with my camera. She does. And the moment stands recorded.

Impromptu Water Park: Finals week, I'm walking back from Parrish down the McCabe hill. There seems to be an impromptu water park on the left side of Magill Walk, the non-beach side. One of those inflatable kiddie pools, a tropical slip-n-slide, multiple water guns, a badminton net and assorted college kids in very little clothing strewn about the top of the hill have popped up in the last hour, out in the sun enjoying the almost summer weather. I stop to watch for a while and wish I had time to go and belly flop in the inflatable pool and ambush Collin, who is sitting sniper-style in the pool with a supersoaker, stalking some unsuspecting slip-n-slider. No dice, I have three finals in the next three days and a lot of information to absorb for them. So I take some pictures and walk on down the hill.

Guy Sitting on the Roof of Old Tarble Playing Guitar: Finals week again, I'm returning to my room to study more for the impending threat of finals. As I turn toward Willets on the juncture of the path from Sharples and the path down to Mertz, I hear music. Stopped as always by the sound of music, I look around for its source. Sitting on the roof of Old Tarble is a guy with a guitar, singing and playing. I stay for a while and listen, take a picture and then carry on to my finals studies.

Stilts Walking on the Beach: Finals week still, a group of us are walking to lunch on the path from Willets to Sharples. As we pass the "vertical tree," we catch sight of someone dressed in all bright green walking about Parrish Beach on stilts. Real stilts. Stilts that more than double the person's height stilts. Just walking around the Beach.

Ultimate Frisbee in the Snow: The first Thursday back from winter break freshman year it snowed like crazy. Somewhere in the area of a foot of snow blanketed campus in unbroken whiteness. After dinner, while walking back across the path to Willets, there was a large game of shirts and skins frisbee in progress on Mertz field. Shirts and skins in the snow. Ack. Alyssa and I pause on the path to watch Pat Hagan, shirtless, jump around in the cold and look attractive as ever. So the game ends after a while (skins actually won) and a new game of random pickup comes together which Alyssa and I join in on. My first real exposure to Ultimate Frisbee--in the snow, greatly impeded by gloves and layer upon layer of clothing and hats and all things that make seeing, much less catching, a frisbee impossible.

Fertilizer on Mertz field while we eat outside at Sharples: One day in the spring, we were all sitting outside at lunch on the back lawn on Sharples. Across the path, not 20 yards away, was a guy in a biohazard suit complete with gas mask on a fertilizer tractor spraying the field. Meanwhile, we sat eating across the path. Hmmm...

Free finals coffee in Tarble: During finals week, finding new and different ways to keep oneself awake takes up more time than actually studying. i.e. "I'm going to take a ten minute nap, then splash my face with cold water, then study... wait, I'm going to do laundry first". And then you fall asleep anyway. So I was in Tarble for some reason (late night food probably) and got coffee. The Tarble ladies say, oh by the way, coffee is free during finals week. I pause with the look of someone having slapped me. You're kidding right? Well heck, I'm going to get a bigger cup!

Paul and Roban in spandex: Freshman year, a few weeks before GenderFuck, Paul is rummaging around my closet looking for something fittingly skanky to wear to the dance (why my closet you ask? I'm not sure either.). We tell him to try on my flame suit, so of course he does. Six foot four Paul emerges from his room covered in my spandex suit of fire with a big grin on his face. Roban then attacks my stash of spandex that usually clothes me for ballet and puts on my cranberry unitard. The two of them flounce around the hall, allowing compromising pictures to be taken of them. Then they decide that Akira, who lives two floors above, needs to be abducted. I follow the exhibition with my video camera, recording the abduction (grab a strikingly resigned Akira by feet and arms), and following them downstairs to where they dump him on the hall couch. Laughter and changing into normal clothing.

Closer to Fine: Freshman year, Nori, Megan, Alyssa and I would oft find ourselves in the same room (more often than not accompanied by obscene amounts of laundry or macaroni and cheese) and usually someone's mp3 playlist would inevitably start up with Indigo Girls' Closer to fine. So the four of us would break into song along with it, Megan, Nori, and Alyssa taking harmonies because they can hear them and know how to sing harmony, and me on one of the melodies, but an octave lower. Always when the song gets to "spent four years PROSTRATE to the higher mind, got my paper and I was free" all of us yell PROSTRATE, frightening small children and other Willets occupants. This phenomenon recurred numerous times throughout the year and maybe a few times since, but less often with all of us together in the same room and rarely with the volume of mac and cheese as exhibited then.

Day Story: Thursday, May 3, 2000
Alarm on my desk at the foot of my bed goes off at 8:17 or so. In one movement, I sit up, slap the alarm and lay back down and am back asleep without opening my eyes. The entire movement takes less than 2 seconds. I hate alarms. This is a much-rehearsed activity. 8 minutes later, repeat. 11 minutes later (the clock is a little random) repeat. At 9:22, I finally heed the buzz and turn it all the way off. My roommate has slept through the entire thing. She never wakes to the god-awful sound of my alarm. I envy her that.
I get up, shuffle to the other end of the room, put on my gigantic navy blue men's robe with a hood, take off the boxers and t-shirt I slept in, put my keys in the robe pocket and put on my "xhilaration" soccer slides that serve as shower shoes. My phone rings. Odd. It's not even nine yet, no one I know is up at this hour. Answer the phone. It's my Italian prof saying that I should get the bill from her for the class sometime today. We set up a time and say goodbye. Sorry, arrivaderce. Exit the room. Shuffle down the half-lit hall of Willets first south. An empty beer case and a soggy pizza box ornament the hall. The housekeeping staff are conversing in the lounge, talking about how their kids are doing. Make it to the shower. An empty beer bottle, bandaid, and used razor are scattered around the corners of the stall. Sigh. Turn on the water, wait for it to heat up, turn it back down after scalding my chest. Shave and shampoo (yes, this is a daily, unbending ritual). Get out of the shower, brush teeth, wash face, shuffle back to room.
Roommate has arisen, and is looking bleary-eyed at her computer, the first thing she does every morning. I change into clothing and brush out my hair.
Breakfast commences after she gets dressed. Sharples. I can count the number of times I've been to Sharples for breakfast on one hand. Ate a sad excuse for a honeydew and cereal: Captain Crunch. Sugary cereals are a new one on me, who grew up with plain cheerios and rice crispies.
Breakfast over with, we walk back to Willets. I read bio notes for my final tomorrow, make it through leap year day in them. Close to noon, so I head out to my prof's house to pick up the bill. Walk up (whatever the street name is, I still don't know my way around the neighborhood), knock on her door, she answers: "ciao!" and then lapses into English, knowing how much Italian I actually learned in the 2 months we had class. I get the bill and walk back to campus for lunch.
Sharples again. Substance that can only be loosely described as food.
Walk up to Parrish to drop the bill off to the dean's office. Still closed, not yet one o'clock.
I walk back to Willets for a bit, see my bio prof on the way, say hi and have a brief discussion how gorgeous it is outside. There seems to be an impromptu water park on the left side of Magill Walk, the non-beach side. One of those inflatable kiddie pools, a tropical slip-n-slide, multiple water guns, a badminton net and assorted college kids in very little clothing strewn about the top of the hill. How I wish I had time to go and belly flop in the inflatable pool and ambush Collin, who is sitting sniper-style in the pool with a supersoaker. But no, I have 3 finals in the next 3 days. So I take a couple of pictures and carry on.
I get to the bottom of the hill where the paths cross and turn left toward Willets. I hear a guitar playing and look for its source. There is a guy sitting on top of Old Tarble, on the roof, strumming and singing. It dawns on me that this is why I love Swarthmore. The weird little things that people do to make it an increadibly unique conglomeration of people. I take his picture too, and he smiles at me. Wish I knew who that was.
Continue on to Willets. Get back, email my bio prof whom I just saw to see if he can look over my lab write up. Get an email back in 2 minutes saying yes, if I come now. So I leave again and take myself up to Martin and talk to him about it for about 30 minutes. Then back to Parrish to drop off the bill, they are there now that it's around 2.
Check mail. Nothing. Sigh.
Walk up to second and into Parrish North to pick up a shirt from Bill which he borrowed about two weeks prior when he spent the night in my room, but in my roommate's bed when she was spending the night upstairs. Weird. Knock on the door and wait. Finally hear the acknowledgement of "Come IN!!" so I open the door and poke my head in to see Bill, shirtless, sitting on his bed with the sheets up to his waist, staring at his laptop which is next to him. I say hi and I've come to retrieve my shirt. He says he hasn't washed it, I say that's ok, don't worry about it and find it under a pile of clothes on his chair. A bit of chatting, good luck on your paper, see you later and I leave again.
Back down the hill, past the water park which has added a few frisbee players tossing nearby (that much more enticing) and I go back to Willets, pour myself into the bio book and promptly fall asleep for an hour.
Upon waking, there seem to be a few of my hall mates outside throwing a frisbee, so I join them for about 45 minutes. The draw of a frisbee is much too great for me.
Dinner time. Sharples for the unfortunately third time today. Something resembling food only in a very distant third-cousin-four-times-removed sort of way. Leave saddened by what food has become these days.
Actually study some when I get back till my roommate's poetry reading at 7:00. Go and listen to her be too cool to know me with her rendition of who an aquaintance really is. And is mostly right. Grab a few of the cookies she had baked earlier and walk to Martin again to copy the answers to the past semester's quizzes to study.
Study study study study. Learn that I actually know some biology. Cool.
Midnight. Primal scream!!! My hall all vacate the dorm and stand in Willets court yard waiting for the sound of dozens upon dozens of fellow Swatties scream their frustrations out into the slightly chilly night. The sound comes and we spend five minutes of our precious time screaming the heck out of the side of the dorm. People are going to KNOW we're screaming. Fun stuff.
Twelve thirty (the earliest I've gone to bed in weeks, maybe months) I get into bed and zonk out.