Welcome to the Jungle
Have you ever been tackled by a speed demon on all fours? Have you ever had an appendage or two almost completely taken off by a mad bicyclist? Or, more excitingly, have you ever come close to being lifted 30 feet up in the air by a non-driving, mindless, dare-devil behind the wheel of a car? No?
If you have ever dared to risk your life by walking in Harvard Square, you must have had at least 10 people bombard you, one right after the other, with petitions, bad street corner music or coupons to stores not within a 50-mile radius. This has all happened to me--all in one lucky day--while I ventured across Mass Ave. into the ever so busy, never-resting Harvard Square.
Who said college would be the best time of your life? Well, whoever said it should have had a few of his toes flattened while going on a little stroll.
If this is what college life is really going to be all about, I don't want it. I don't need it. Besides, I only have seven toes left.
One seemingly quiet day, I decided to do one of the most dangerous things in my life--walk to the Coop. If I knew then what I know now, I would have worn an armored suit.
The best part of my walk was when I left my dorm and I got attacked by a Yard squirrel. But that was quite all right. He just left a few scratches and dirt patches on me. Besides, he was cute. Sometimes it seems that these little creatures have adjusted to campus life better than most students.
I thought to myself, "Hey, this day can still go my way," so I continued to walk. From my dorm room, I can look right onto Mass Ave. It only looks a bit busy, not life-threatening. With this in mind, I figured that not much, if anything, could happen within such a short time span. Wrong.
The next thing I know, some guy on a bike rides by and bumps me as if he wanted to see if a bike could do as much damage to a person as a Mac truck. Almost.
He didn't even attempt to excuse himself. Even the squirrel had more compassion. I am sure that if he were able to speak, he would have apologized...or laughed.
But I managed to survive both incidents. I only had a few scratches, dirt patches, a chrome bar imprint in my side and tire marks on my once gleamingly white, one-day-old sneakers. I could manage. So I went on my way, watching every step.
I must have been pretty silly to think that a sign with the words "WALK" lit up actually means that drivers are supposed to halt and pedestrians are supposed to...yeah...walk.
What was I thinking? I just must not have been using the same mind that got me into this school. Of course, a driver, whom I had the audacity to call wreckless, reminded me that I was in an area that not only never rests, but gives licenses to every nut who wants one.
So after digesting my heart, I proceeded further into the trap of that abysmal Square. The day was getting better. Much better.
Harvard Square is the Grand Central Station of Cambridge. I had forgotten what it felt like to have people shove items in your face and say, "Take it! Take it! I said take it!"
But now the memories of the brute-like attitudes of strangers and the mediocre performances of U2 wanna-be's will remain embedded in my mind.
By then, I had almost forgotten why I was foolish enough to be in such an unruly place. Oh, that's right. I wanted to go to the Coop.
Ah, thoughts of Christmas. Light snowflakes, family gatherings and an angel on top of the tree. Ah, yes.
But do you remember those insatiable, obnoxious shoppers, knocking you out of the way to get the last Cabbage Patch in the store? Well, inside the Coop it gets worse.
Picture this: Five rows of 10 stacks of notebooks on the floor for your convenience. One would think that this would make Coop shopping easy. Or at least I would.
No. People still push you out of the way. And for what--a notebook with an extra sheet of paper, mistakenly put in it?
After a long wait in line with impatient, complaining individuals, I returned half-dazed to my room. I was tired, famished and hot, but I had felt worse, like when I had the flu, stomach virus and bronchitis simultaneously. I will admit I did look beat, but not dead.
So when some guy I don't know walked by me and said, rather arrogantly, "Gee, cheer up. It's a beautiful day," I merely mumbled a few things that my mother would have pinched me for thinking.