Life's Best If Served With a Thin, Flaky Crust


Life is like a cherry pie. Or at least that’s what the over-stressed but blissfully happy writer Cathy Hanauer likened it to in Glamour’s November “life tune-up.” She then proceeded to divide her life pie into the segments that defined her 20s, 30s and current lifestyle. As an over-stressed but blissfully happy college student, I could relate to the “but there should be 44 hours in each day” feeling I got from the article. As expected, my Harvard life pie has changed over the years as well:

Freshman Year

Sitting in Annenberg—35 percent: The knowledge that Domna’s bark was worse than her bite and that there would always be a lukewarm chickwich waiting lulled my blockmates and I into spending hours at Annenberg getting worked up about the work we didn’t do, going back for more pink lemonade and flashing our newly minted Harvard status with ridiculous conversation. “Obviously, beer is a food and not a drug, you idiot. It’s made out of barley.”

Store 24—12 percent: As a Straus D-er, once the ’Berg’s doors were closed, I had an equally distracting food source in the sketchy, slightly smelly, super qwikie-mart with its pre-wrapped “meat” sandwiches, continually empty, greasy “bakery-fresh” shelf and checkout guy whose hair color changed with the days of the week. Silly freshman Antoinette, if only I could talk to her, keep her from the nightly trips to Twinkie central! The freshman 15, remember the freshman 15!

Staring at my chem textbook—15 percent: There I was, one of the lemmings, with my pipet dripping toxic “substances” and the frustrated members of my study group explaining why my problem set answers weren’t only wrong, but also defied the basic principles that define life…again.

Chasing upperclass parties—38 percent: We’d convene after dinner and construct a game plan: there’s a party in Mather, but I’m not sure which room it’s in. There might be something going on in either Adams D or Eliot H. Ahhh, the days when a neon sign taped to my forehead blinking “freshman, freshman” couldn’t have been more obvious than my 23-to-a-herd traveling habits or 9:45 arrival time.

Sophomore Year

Walking to and from the Quad—28 percent: Oh, Fortuna! Must I bear the trek for three long years? Yes, my child, what better way to rid yourself of the freshman 15?

Bond—7 percent: Our conversation skills exhausted, my group quickly discovered Bond. With my not-so-great spatial orientation skills, I can successfully maneuver my character into a corner on each maze-like level. Though I am frantically pushing all the little buttons, I manage to keep him on his knees in a prostrate state of anguish, writhing like an epileptic chicken, while those more skilled than I laugh because the constantly moving screen really does give me a headache. Bastards.

Weekend recap—39 percent: Almost as important as the actual weekend, the over-brunch recap vigorously scrutinizes outfits, who left with whom, sick reports and crushed expectations. If you’re suffering from a too-much-fire-water brain pounding, then sit somewhere else, because this conversation is going to get loud.

Phillips Brooks House van antics—26 percent: any PBHAer who had to ride to Dorchester in the red-12 will remember the Jammin’ 94.5 packed trips that somehow never ended in disaster. Tales of the monsters we tutored filled the three-bodies-over-capacity clunker, while the driver prayed the van would soon respond to his repeated brake pedal pumping and the 101-year-old lady swerving in front of us would just go away.

Junior Year

Bathroom strategizing—22 percent: Our finicky halogen had to be bullied, cajoled and finally finessed into staying on for the duration of a bathroom visit. Five or six quick flicks then a gentle flick and you’re not stuck in the dark feeling for which toothbrush is yours with this hand while trying to keep your towel from falling into the beer-bottle filled, dust bunny-turned-buffalo and empty conditioner bottle corner with that hand.

The chase—20 percent: The flirtatious laugh over a cup of peppermint tea, the “accidental” arm brush in section. Looking for more than a dance-floor grind but less than a mortgage and talks of future children, I finally concentrated on the chase my junior year…with absolutely no success, of course. No, my boy toys were named Ben and Jerry, and they knew how to give me all the drippy-slippy, this-chunk-is-such-a-hunk, chocolate-covered sexual healing I needed.

Whining about not being 21—29 percent: (monologue delivered while very drunk) “This country is so stupid because it limits the innate freedoms of rational people who it can then force to do other things like fight and vote and go to school and stuff. I’m so sick of not being able to decide when and where I get trashed and stuff. Yeah, this sucks.”

Whining about not going out though 21—29 percent: (monologue given in a hushed whisper in Lamont) “Yeah, this school is so stupid because it limits the innate drives of fun-loving young adults who it can then force to study and care about grades and compete and stuff. I’m so sick of not being able to party on the weekends and stuff. Yeah, this sucks.”

Senior Year

Worry—50 percent: I couldn’t tell you the first thing about Goldman Sachs, the LSAT or resume stuffing. All I keep thinking about is how I’m going to deliver my lines: “Yes, you can super-size your drink. Would you like fries with that?”

Reflection—50 percent: Where did the time go, do you remember the time we…

Oh dear, it seems that a large rabid T-Rex named “thesis” has eaten my senior-year pie, dripping warm cherry filling all over my new winter white corduroys! “Shoot him! Shoot him!” I cry to no avail. The beast, unsatisfied with having eaten my pie, moves on to its next victim with that “no summa for you” grimace and “overdue library book fine” growl.

Antoinette C. Nwandu ’02 is an English concentrator in Cabot House. Her column appears on alternate Mondays.