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In middle school I had a free period during my second hour, and so I applied to become a library assistant.
Chances are if you’re reading The Harvard Crimson, you’ve never heard of Peace Love Unity Respect. The acronym is a silly combination of sounds—a feline’s pleasure with an extra letter snuck in—and the cliché it stands for wouldn't last a minute in college classrooms. But since the ’90s, PLUR’s been a credo and a life philosophy for rave subculture. This summer it became my personal mantra. This fall I’ve decided it was Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger’s as well.
It’s mid-fall. The leaves are somewhere between dull brown and brutally orange on the last afternoon that it is not too crisp to walk by the river. We wile our way down past Darwin’s, the coffee shop we have yet to discover; across the crosswalk with the lights that never change to walk; and next to an unending row of fencing and hedges. The cemetery is still open for an hour this late in the day…is it six or seven?
There are only a few things, less than I imagined there would be, from my pre-college years that remain present in my thoughts. I have lost interest in the chaos of my city, Istanbul, in the “mosaic” of its culture, in the nebulous (substitute: sketchy) politics of my country. Only a few characters from my past follow me around Harvard Yard as I pace from the two opposite edges (and intellectual spheres) of the campus, from Northwest Labs to Emerson Hall.
Though I’m red-green color blind and will never understand the obsession with chromatic foliage, I hear Walden Pond is beautiful in the autumn. If you catch it on the later end of October, the drying air heightens the borders of faces or the edges of each watery ripple; everything has the sharp sense of coming into focus. Unfortunately, I went in July.
As she tries to wrap her lips around the hard consonants of the English language, my grandmother fumbles with my small Nike garments. Turning them over and over, she attempts to enunciate the lone word in her English lexicon without much success.
My most recent haircut was in New York City. I went in by myself and ducked into the basement of the huge Astor Place Hairstylist like I was trying to lose a tail.
He opened the door to reveal a tiny room cluttered with ski waxing benches, oversized duffels, rainbow clusters of racing skis, and scattered posters of Olympic skiers peeling off the stark white walls. I could tell right away that this wasn’t the latest in ski technology: this was a home.
I have a confession to make. It might, perchance, be conceivably possible that I have potentially developed a slight dependence upon the product known as Netflix. To be clear, I tell you this only because I fear for your safety and well-being. I divulge this story in the hopes that it will make you aware of the fate already befalling you; perhaps then you will be better equipped to handle the consequences.
Residents of Tel Aviv have ninety seconds after the alarms sound to locate the nearest public shelter. It happens once a day, maybe twice, timed before the morning or evening news.
I saw my first fireflies in the blue light of the equatorial dusk. But between the hikes and organic food and endemic species, we also were given an idea of the larger issues looming over this ecosystem.
Two weeks ago, to the amusement of seven of us at the time and many more since, I paid for my roommate to get a face tattoo.
I awoke at 6 a.m. on March 13 to the hiss of my radiator and the loud, excited chatter of my blockmates in the hallway. It was Housing Day morning, my first as an upperclassman in Cabot House. I debated with myself whether to get up at all, anticipating the faces of freshmen—ranging from (hopefully) indifferent to (probably) teary-eyed—whose fates I would soon deliver.
The ice crunches beneath my feet as I follow my roommates out into the middle of Eliot courtyard. It’s surprisingly bright out for 6:30 a.m., and some combination of adrenaline and the traditional Housing Day mimosa I consumed in one of the party suites robs the frigid wind of its sting. We stand with our backs to each other and shout at the surrounding walls. “Good morning Eliot! It’s Housing Day! It’s Housing Day! Get up, get up, get up!” We stand still for a moment, watching as lights start to pop on in the windows that line the courtyard. Eliot is waking up.
The Bracket Boys emerged one March in my sophomore year of high school, wearing the same sweaty jerseys for days on end and trading wrinkled dollar bills under the lab tables in chemistry class. Or maybe they had always been there, furiously scribbling on those all-important flowcharts, and I had simply never noticed them before. After all, I had only just realized that March Madness was not, in fact, an insanity-inducing disease brought on by a seasonal resurgence in bacteria.