Waiting for the bus at 1 AM
Sunday. 3.27.11 4:05 pm
I stop rubbing my hands together long enough to wave off the bus driver slowing down in font of me. "He's a good guy," I say to Ephraim as the bus driver nods at me and drives off. "A bit .. odd.. what, with his asian fetish and all.. he keeps asking me about Anhimal, but whatev--."
"Listen, man," Ephraim interrupts. He turns his head and looks me in the eye. "Real talk... don't think you can trust these people. They'll sell you out in a heartbeat, man -- that's just how they are."
"Lets say your best friend robbed a bank. Would you turn him in?" I turn my head away from him and toward street that lays before us: Massachusetts Avenue. A block away lies Arlington street.
"No. I wouldn't."
"See, that's what I'm talking about. I ask other people here that and you know what I get? 'Well, I'd have to, right? Otherwise I'd be an accomplice!', or 'well, yeah, they broke the law. I'd have to.' These people, man.. they're individualistic, ambitious, success driven.. fuck everything else You know I asked my Korean grandma that question, man.. sweet as shit right, you know what she said?"
'I should....' You know what that means, man?"
"Yeah. It means your grandma is a part of the "No Snitching" crusade."
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Wednesday. 3.23.11 7:35 pm
“Have you been? It’s absolutely amazing in the Spring. I lived there, specifically Barcelona, for a few years during undergrad. Stayed in this converted cathedral – you know, they’re all over the…” Although her words continued, my paying attention to them did not. I’m out with a girl at my school, listening to her tell me about lands I’ve only visited in Assassin’s Creed. With staccato-styled orchestration, she enunciates her life story : a castle there, a that cathedral here; a fiesta in Barcelona, a siesta in Greece; a life on the lower east side of Manhattan, studies at various ivies, and finally the climax of her life: Harvard Law School.
“And that’s me. What about you? Where are you from?”
Rather than a crescendo like hers, the lifestory I chose to tell her al niente:
“I grew up next to a farm in a small town.”
She looked at me like I'd just slit a kitten’s neck.
We haven’t been out since.
To be fair, just about every encounter I've had up north has been pleasant. My classmates are all that one would expect of an HLS student: varied brilliance, grand ambition, and frightenly intelligent. They are nearly all pleasantly pleasant, steadfastly studious and exceptionally engaging.. even me to a surprising extent.(minus the brilliance, ambition and intelligent part. Varied, grand, and frightenly can all stay though.)
That said... I'd be lying if I said I did not feel a sort of disconnect between myself and the majority of the folks I've encountered up here. The school -- hey, perhaps even the town I reside in, -- has proven to be remarkably homogenous. Politically, racially, geographically, educationally, etc and with that homogeny comes certain customs that I was either not privy to throughout my upbringing or have simply rejected.
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Thursday. 1.13.11 8:25 am
Sunday. 1.9.11 9:13 am
She cocks her head to an angle, fights back a smile and interrupts my stammering. "Are you asking me if I want to go to breakfast tomorrow?"
Red has spent the past few days at my place... she leaves in an hour to head back to New York. I thought about waking her up... but I'd rather keep her here, in my apartment, for as long as I can before she heads back up north to resume her life without me.
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Thursday. 12.16.10 8:00 pm
"You? Giving speeches? I can see it now -- you walk in with the hoody and the t-shirt and maybe the Dallas fitted." He lowers his hand, postponing the demise of the nacho chip in his grasp. “I bet you don’t even remove the headphones either,” Francis continues as I eat my bland taco in silence.
We're across the street from the law school campus, eating what passes for Mexican food in Cambridge, hours removed from completing our first final exam. Of the 80 students I have in my class, he's the one I'm closest to. Granted, I haven't attempted to get close to any of them so far. Partly because of my racism and classism (don’t worry: I’m getting over my distrust of rich, white people. More on this later.)
Sometime around the middle of the 10th grade, probably around the same time I joined NuTang, I had an epiphany after a girl broke my heart.
(PEEP THE ZANZI COMMENT YO! Ah, to be young and full of hope.. well, okay, to be young?) Ever since then, I’ve actively made it hard for people to get to know me.
“See, the thing about me is that when I’m in a new place, surrounded by new people, I don’t go out and try to form bonds like normal folk.”
“While other people, people like you," I continue, "try to talk to people and make friends, I don’t engage. I observe. I'm not like you -- I don't do small talk and shoot the shit with people just for the hell of it. When I talk to people though, I try to make sure it counts."
"I get that,” Francis says between bites of his flavorless nachos, “but I really can't see you talking to kids."
I wait for his chuckle to subside before putting down my insipid chicken taco. "Code switching is all it is. I mean, when I was doing that -- recruiting for my undergrad, or working at the Department of State, I just had to act accordingly.”
I've donned enough hats over the past six years that I could challenge Mario for most versatile superhero. There's advocate Jon who worked with rape victims at a children's hospital for a few years, Big Brother Jon who mentored an 8 year old, State Department Jon who loved his work and Justice Department Jon who hated his work. House builder Jon, President Jon, boyfriend Jon, student Jon.. you get the picture.
“So yeah, that guy you said seemed apathetic to everything – being at Harvard, taking these courses, making new friends, all that… I suppose that is the real me. When I’ve got shit to do where I have to behave a certain way, such as giving a speech to an auditorium or talking to a four year old victim, I know how to behave. When it comes to sitting in classes about property law or administrative law, I honestly don’t give a fuck so if it seems like I don’t care about being in that class… I don’t. Check with me next semester though when I’m taking interesting classes like Criminal Law and human rights.”
Three finals down, one more to go. Hopefully tomorrow?
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Sunday. 12.5.10 2:26 am