NEW YORK, NY – While I set up the shot for the final assignment of my internship I glance again at the sunset. As the sun dips below the New Jersey buildings across the Hudson and the sky dissolves from a dazzling orange into a dark starlit tapestry, I suddenly realize that I’ve hit the twilight of my summer vacation. It’s almost August. My internship is basically over. In a week I will be heading to Europe for one final summer adventure before school starts up again in the fall. After I complete this assignment, for the first time in a while, I will have absolutely nothing to do.
Which is why after we wrap I bid farewell to my former co-workers and, being single myself, decide to wander around the white party for Jewish singles in Riverside Park that I have been filming. After taking in the scene and mingling for a few minutes, however, I come to realize that in the midst of these hip denizens of Manhattan, I’m the perhaps the only person here who is still in college.
And this scares me. It is a glimpse of what my summer nights will one day begin to look like.
To be sure, people in their late twenties to early thirties are far from elderly, but in my myopic, adolescent outlook on life these young professionals can no longer be considered young. They have already entered the real world. They are at least somewhat self-sufficient. Most of them have officially chosen their career paths, and the ones that did not pick academia have thus totally eschewed the concept of a summer vacation.
As a twenty-one year old still incubating in university, I soon find myself as the center of attention of the older women at this party. But this is a curse far more than a blessing. An encounter with a cute girl six years my senior that begins with an epic Twizzler swordfight quickly devolves into a career counseling session after I divulge my interest in attending law school. (“Divorce law is depressing,” she says, referring to her own profession. “Don’t do divorce law.”) A gaudy middle-aged woman in an ill-fitting white blouse asks for my sign and gets far too giggly when I reveal that I’m an Aquarius. (“I’m an Aries!” She shrieks. “You’re water and I’m fire. We go together perfectly!”)
After numerous painful and hilariously awkward moments like these, I come to discover how truly lucky I am that I do not have work in the morning. The mixer is slated to end at 3 A.M. but most of the guests will be out of here long before then. Yet I could stay here for hours, flirting with the graduate students and the unemployed women as they discuss their ex-husbands until dawn. I need to relish everything I feel at these moments of aimlessness, I realize, because, quite simply, moments like these are ephemeral.
I find an iron railing to lean on at the edge of the party. From there I watch as a few intrepid singles make their way down to the playground with their new romantic partners. They take off their shoes and swing like children from the monkey bars in their white shirts and dresses. I stand above them and smile as I look to the buildings lit up like fireflies across the river and savor the taste of the evening air.
Avishai D. Don ’12, a Crimson editorial writer, is a social studies concentrator in Adams House.