This week, the Nass reads Sontag, sprains an ankle, and learns how to curl.
The Nassau Weekly Volume 44, Number 4 October 10, 2019 In Print since 1979 Online at nassauweekly.com
A Shroom of One's Own
October 10, 2021
Masthead Editor-in-Chief Peter Taylor
4 6 7 8 10
Mika Hyman Anika Khakoo
Once Kin By Alexandra Orbuch Designed by Hannah Su
Alumni Liaison Gina Feliz
Sontag and Ancient Egypt Managing Editors
By David Chmielewski Designed by Melina Huang
Juju Lane Mina Quesen
Bedside Manner By Emma Mohrmann Desinged by Melina Huang
Only Curling, After All By Lara Katz Designed by Melina Huang
A Sprained Ankle and Two Princeton Plagues
Business Manager Jane Castleman
Only Curling, After All
By Lauren Aung Designed by Cathleen Weng
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Nassk Me Anything: Eating Clubs
Lauren Aung Sam Bisno Lara Katz Sabrina Kim Sierra Stern
By Beth Villaruz, Hazel Flaherty Designed by Cathleen Weng
Head Copy Editor Andrew White
Gingko Leaves By Lucia Brown Designed by Mika Hyman
“Sweaty, Loud, and Not a Little Tipsy” By Sam Bisno, Charlie Nuermberger, Beth Villaruz, Lara Katz Designed by Hannah Su
Senior Editors Abigail Glickman Meera Sastry Elliott Weil
Night-Blooming Flowers By Nathalie Charles Designed by Mika Hyman
Read more on page 8.
Copy Editors Isabelle Casimir Noori Zubieta
Design Editor Melina Huang
Assistant Design Editor Hannah Su
Art Director Drew Pugliese
Web Editor Allie Mangel
Social Chair Bethany Villaruz MIKA HYMAN AND ANIKA KHAKOO
Volume 44, Number 4
8:00a Firestone Being: Monday Morning Yoga
11:00a Murray-Dodge Peace meditation
10:00a Zoom Democratic Governance and the Question of Self Determination
6:00p Firestone Piranesi Exhibition
8:00a Frist FLU FEST!!
12:30p Zoom Judging Truth in a Fake News Era
10:00a MOMA A day with Tim Leyendekker
3:00p Baker Rink Women’s Ice Hockey vs. Metropolitan Riveters
8:00a Frist Last Day of Flu Fest!!
4:00p EQUAD Building an Engineering Discipline for Biology
1:30p Murray-Dodge Hallelujah Church @ Princeton
2:00p Grad College Live Music Meditation Outdoors: Joshua Roman
12:30p Murray-Dodge Mindfulness meditation
6:00p Chapel Afternoon Concert Series with Emily Amos
Email Mika Hyman at firstname.lastname@example.org with your event and why it should be featured.
For advertisements, contact Jane Castleman at Jcastleman@princeton.edu.
Overheard after the Béla Fleck Concert Junior ARCA: I have never been in a room with so many fedoras. Overheard in Wilcox DSL: J Street will not be open next year. ARCA: Where will all the math majors sleep? Overheard at Quad Annoyed math major to gleeful French major: Stop laughing about eigenvalues, you don’t even know what that is! Overheard in Frist Introspective Sophomore: I enjoy being de-personified.
Overheard in East Pyne Lesbian: This fanny pack is making my nipples hard Overheard after Precept Young Democrat: You dated someone who wasn’t even registered to vote! Overheard in Scully Junior to friends about Junior Academic Honor Code renewal: Can we take it together? Honor code police friend: That’s cheating. Overheard at Murray Dodge Cookie enjoyer: I know a few public school kids, I’m familiar with people of that background, I guess.
Overheard outside of Frist Philosophizing girl talking to her friend: It’s so much easier to assume that everyone is wrong than it is to assume that anyone is right.
Overheard outside Bent Spoon SPIA major after eating a sugar cookie: There should be a section in Wikipedia called “controversy”.
Overheard in RoMa Confident male junior: Women don’t poop.
Overheard in Wilcox Birthday Party: *sings Happy Birthday* Director of Student Life: That is not an a capella group.
Overheard at Dinner Concerned friend on children’s TV: You become a different person with Caillou. It’s a toxic relationship Overheard at MOL Junior Tutorial Conflicted Postdoc: Mice are so cute to work with, but in the end you have to kill them, which is annoying.
Overheard in 1901 Complimenting friend: Boss. Power-hungry girlboss: Yes. Friend: Dictator. Girlboss: Yes. Friend: You’re a little too comfortable with that one.
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Nassau Weekly is Princeton University’s weekly newsmagazine and features news, op-eds, reviews, fiction, poetry and art submitted by students. Nassau Weekly is part of Princeton Broadcasting Service, the student-run operator of WPRB FM, the oldest college FM station in the country. There is no formal membership of the Nassau Weekly and all are encouraged to attend meetings and submit their writing and art.
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October 10, 2021
PAGE DESIGN BY HANNAH SU
ONCE KIN KIN ONCE BY ALEXANDRA ORBUCH
when she used to smile at me hazel irises dancing now she shrouds her in oversize d sweatshirts. arms so crackable. I don’t have
clawing out of her skin ribcage, an inmate violently ramming into the rusted door of its cell Stop lying. I see through her
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around her form shrunken shadow edges blurred out of existence slit by healthy. by her nutrient lacking emotion. she I her sister no
lips cracked pursed shut hazel irises retired from the ballroom floor once kin now a redcoat scarlet sleeves tainted and dis mem bered musket
October 10, 2021
SONTAG AND ANCIENT EGYPT Upon a visit to the Met, a Nass writer considers the notion of experiencing art without analyzing it. By DAVID CHMIELEWSKI
“To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world… By reducing the work of art to its content and then interpreting that, one tames the work of art. Interpretation makes art manageable, conformable.” In her 1964 essay “Against Interpretation,” Susan Sontag critiques the very practice of critique. As she states, modern scholarship devoted to ripping a “meaning” out of a work of art perverts the actual lived experience of encountering art. To consume a work of art is to have a deeply personal and subjective reaction and to mediate that experience with excessive interpretation is to weaken art’s magical ability to provoke. “The modern style of interpretation excavates, and as it excavates, destroys.” To speak from the realm of the subjective, students have experienced firsthand the interpretation-obsession and its ability to destroy. From middle school English class onwards, students are forced to analyze-to-death works which they might have found deeply meaningful. You can’t talk about how you felt and what you thought about while experiencing Hamlet’s agony; instead you have to drive yourself crazy analyzing how Shakespeare’s comma placement proves Horatio is actually a perfect representation of Freud’s theory of irony. Tragically, it is a
common occurrence that I reread a book I was assigned for class and discover, much to my shock, that I actually enjoy it when not forced to obsessively take notes. Since reading Sontag’s essay then, I have been doing my best to turn off any programming from my education and simply experience art when I encounter it. Whether it be TikToker Addison Rae’s film debut in He’s All That or the most celebrated work in the Western Canon (well I just repeated myself), I have been striving to turn my brain off and let myself react to art. So, on a recent trip to the Met, I saw a piece of Ancient Egyptian art that deeply compelled me and decided to engage in the Sontagian challenge of writing down my thoughts and feelings about the piece as they came to me, unmediated by any intellectual theories. Below are my notes on the piece, written while standing in front of the piece for longer than is socially acceptable and lightly edited after-the-fact for clarity.
t first I’m drawn to the funky-looking guitar— or maybe that object the third woman is holding is not even vaguely related to the guitar family. Frankly, I’m no expert in Ancient Egyptian musical instruments. At any rate, I’m immediately hooked. The flatness of the figures on the “canvas” is striking; it took Western art a long time to get over its obsession with realism but here’s Ancient Egypt already realizing that things don’t have to look fully like things to be compelling. The color is also applied flatly and with incredible vibrancy—which is cool
but also vaguely reminds me of Instagram infographic design. Basically, despite there being a several thousand year old and full-scale temple the Met stole from Egypt to my right, I am struck by how this work could easily slot into any contemporary gallery. But most of all, I’m stunned by just how average the work is. The piece is displayed in a room with dozens of other works of Ancient Egyptian painting that look exactly like it; as far as I can tell, nothing makes it exceptional except for the fact that I personally was most drawn to it. When thinking of past eras, the way history is framed as the story of great people with their great ideas leading to great events often makes us forget the average. Only the exceptional can stand the long test of time; we learn about Nietzsche and world wars and van Gogh
masterpieces, not mundane paintings of every-day people doing every-day things. However, next to the elaborately decorated sarcophagus of some long dead aristocrat, this painting, its anonymous creator, and its subject matter, which appears to just be normal people enjoying music, appear average. The painting could easily slot into the contemporary art industry because it would fit right into the churn of content which merely exists and is not celebrated which is released every single day. If you cast your mind back to the 40s in film, you think of the classics of Hitchcock, Welles, and Chaplin. But in our contemporary moment, we have to wade through Netflix’s catalog of forgettable content because time has not done the heavy lifting of filtering out the just okay. Fundamentally, this
is what looking at this painting is like; standing amongst its peers that all look roughly the same, it’s much more Addison Rae’s “He’s All That” within the over-saturated rom-com industry and not so much Guernica. Somehow, this makes me feel more connected to the people of Ancient Egypt; they also had to consume plenty of content and distinctly average content at that. And, for that reason, my distinctly average gaze is drawn to the work.
David Chmielewski could easily slot into the Nassau Weekly because he would fit right into the churn of content which merely exists.
PAGE DESIGN BY MELINA HUANG
Volume 44, Number 4
PAGE DESIGN BY MELINA HUANG
By Emma Mohrmann
October 10, 2021
PAGE DESIGN BY MELINA HUANG
Only Curling, After All “There are three types of curlers: the competitive, the prepubescent, and the beer-drinking. I have played with all three types in roughly equal measures.” By LARA KATZ
here are three types of curlers: the competitive, the prepubescent, and the beer-drinking. I have played with all three types in roughly equal measures. The beer-drinking curlers are the variety most non-curlers are familiar with, assuming they are familiar with curling at all, and the prepubescent curlers are largely indistinguishable from prepubescent participants in all sports, with the caveat that a higher percentage of them would be categorized as
“the weird kid” in school (I was the weird kid in school). But the competitive are different. They filled the Denver Curling Center—the location of the trials for the Youth Olympic Games—with a mysterious energy: the energy of people who know they are very good at what they do but are also aware that the majority of society does not know, let alone care. They filled that building with expressions of confidence—throwing stones Manitoba-style, wielding brooms splattered with Olympian signatures, nodding at skips last seen at Nationals in Bemidji. But the fear is palpable as well, if you know where to look for it. So it’s a Sunday in October in Denver, Colorado. What time is it? I have no clue. What’s the weather like? Probably cold and sunny; it’s always cold and sunny here. The ice is slower than it should be. That I do know. It’s especially swingy, too. We’re playing for our spot in the Youth Olympics. No one expected our team or George’s team to be here; my team had never
even played together before the Trials, due to geographic challenges. Tuma and Wendling were the favorites, and yet we’d beaten them in the semis; we were third seed and George’s team fourth. My skip (which roughly translates to captain— think the skipper on a boat), Brendan, used to play vice-skip for Chris, who’s playing second on George’s team. Brendan and Chris grew up together in Wisconsin, where high schools have their own curling teams and playdowns for Nationals are almost as exciting as Nationals. Chris acts too nice. He’s shaking my hand as though he actually knows my name; Brendan’s Midwestern decorum has stopped him from talking shit about Chris, but I’m wary of him anyway, because there are only a few people I know more sensitive and empathetic on the ice rink than Brendan, and Brendan stopped playing with him because of “personal disagreements.” After shaking hands we get on the ice. I have a wobbly first
practice slide, which is not typical for me, but George wobbles more (also not typical for him), so I feel better about it. We all slide again and this time no one wobbles. I get in the hack to throw my first stone; I play lead, which means I throw, then our seconds, then the vices, then the skips. I hog it—meaning my shot’s too short to be in play. I can’t get ahold of my weight; the ice is so slow and I’ve spent all week trying to throw light and easy. My second stone is actually nice. A biting centerline guard—meaning we control the center of the target, called the house. Our second, Philip, hides his rock behind my rock, the shot called the draw. I remind myself we’re doing well, everything is going great—Philip doesn’t look like he’s slept, but he’s making shots. Julia falls short on one or two stones, the first time I’ve seen her make mistakes that week, but she’s still playing okay. Brendan’s quick on the skip calls. His expression is unreadable from
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150 feet away, but I want to believe he’s smiling. When he takes his first skip’s shot the hand holding his broom is shaking. Shit. He’s not going to make the shot. He makes the shot. When we trained in Minnesota together over the summer—just Brendan and me for over six hours every day for five days on competition-standard ice right next to Olympic wheelchair curlers, nationally ranked mixed doubles teams, and drunk corporate team-building participants, who watched us from the Chaska Curling Center’s restaurant—we played mixed doubles. Before Chaska, I coached myself. I played as many adult leagues as my parents were willing to drive me to—which was Wednesdays with middle-aged women, Fridays for the couples’ league with my friend Evan (people like to joke we’re married, but usually we just try not to kill each other), Saturdays for mixed doubles with Evan again, and Sundays for the junior league with the “junior league coordinator.” I call her the junior league coordinator, not the coach, because she doesn’t coach, and because I’ve been playing longer
than s h e has, so I’m hypothetically more qualified anyway. All the kids I played with on Sundays were younger and less experienced than me on the ice; when I first started curling, I was nine years old, and all the other junior curlers were at least fourteen. The current junior league coordinator was hired when I was eleven; the old coach had decided to leave because all her students (except me) had graduated high school. In any case, our current junior league coordinator, who began coordinating only a year after learning to curl, definitely hates me—other teams we meet at bonspiels often ask why I’m not a skip and why her son, who’s been playing half as long as me, is. Every year she gives out participation awards, and while other people get things like “best delivery,” “best at hits,” “best sweeping,” and “most improved,” I always get things like “team spirit” and “friendliest.” What’s more, she addressed my participation award last season as “for his best team spirit,” and
somehow—who knows how because it sure wasn’t my typo—my name was everywhere at the Nashua Curling Club Junior Bonspiel as “Lard Katz.” So I’m not used to playing against people who are considerably better players than me, nor am I used to having the time to actually train—that is, practice the same shots over and over and over again. My shot of choice that week in Minnesota was the tick, a somewhat niche curling shot that has since been outlawed because, despite the incredible difficulty of making it, it is highly effective. The first time I made it was an accident, but I realized it really made Brendan get worked up. I realized I could beat him if I made ticks, because then he would be forced to guard, and if his guard wasn’t perfect, I could hit out
counting stones. Now, I didn’t always make those hits, and he often made those guards, but it was the best strategy I had and it won me more than a couple ends (a.k.a rounds—literally throwing all the stones from one end of the rink to the other) against a nationally ranked son-of-an-ex-professional. Exactly why this particular shot is useful is a bit more complicated curling strategy. If you’ve ever watched a game you’ll know that the first couple of stones thrown aren’t usually in scoring range. This is on purpose. If you put a stone in scoring range, the other team will usually just hit it out. If you put a stone outside scoring range, then you can put your scoring stones behind it and it’s much more difficult—if done right,
CONTINUED ON PAGE 18
Volume 44, Number 4 PAGE DESIGN BY CATHLEEN WENG
A Sprained Ankle and A rumination on campus culture and personal pain. By LAUREN AUNG
first injured my ankle in 6th grade. 100 lbs of prepubescence at the cross country championships, I pumped myself up into finishing second. A short, balding man in a white polo looped a medal around my neck, the ribbon soaking up the sweat of a 13:58 2 mile run. My PR before that race had hovered in the high 14-minute range, but by some miracle of the cross country gods, I was now the second-fastest girl of all homeschoolers and private school students in the greater Austin area. That race stayed with me, and not because of my standing. As a product of pushing the limits of my scrawny body, I unknowingly strained my Achilles tendon, causing a zip of pain to bolt through my ankle whenever I walked. The pain wasn’t sharp like the slice of a knife or bombastic like the shattering of a bone, but the
kind that pulled apart seams. The kind of pain that persisted. My first tactic in addressing this problem was to ignore it; even at that age I was too stubborn for my own good. “Don’t be a hero”, said my cross country coach when she asked about the state of my ankle, “You are allowed to hurt”. But admitting the extent of my pain meant I would have to swallow my pride and stop running, so I continued to push through it, until one day, I found my neglect had caught up to me. My mother brought me to a physical therapist. There, too, I went too hard, overdoing the stretches in order to quicken the healing process. But healing would come on its own schedule, and in the meantime, I had to learn to be patient. It would be 9 months until my ankle finally healed. It’s funny how the threshold of healing means experiencing the absence of feeling, and when I went to bed I was struck at times with a sense of wrongness, only to realize that I had become so adjusted to the pain in my ankle that I missed it
when it was gone. I injured the same ankle for the second time this semester. After missing a couple of stairs on the way to meet my friends one night, my body wrenched one way and my ankle decided to not follow, planted firmly to the detriment of its integrity. I landed back-first in the grass, my ankle throbbing. I woke up the next morning unable to walk. My ankle looked like a giant cyst, alien, fleshy, and swollen. At UHS, a kind nurse gave me an ACE bandage and one order I haven’t been able to fulfill: rest. “Don’t walk, if you can avoid it”, she said. I asked if I could go to aerial arts practice in a couple of days because well, climbing up silks and hoops isn’t technically walking. “No” was the firm response. But by the time practice rolled around, I was able to walk without too much pain, so I went anyway. Balancing the checklist of my day with my throbbing ankle, the former seemed to me much more weighty. The alternative of pausing life would lead me
Volume 44, Number 4
Two Princeton Plagues to fall behind, I thought, in friendships, classes, extracurriculars, and memories. Ever since the day I fell, I’ve woken up hoping that my ankle healed magically during the night. I swing my leg over the side of my bed and grimace as the weight of my body strains the joint. The persistent pain and my lumpy ankle are nobody’s fault but my own. I could choose to pause for a couple of days, not go to that club meeting or lunch across campus. But I’ve been a runner my whole life in more ways than just the physical, a Type A workaholic, overextended and overworked, and as always, I haven’t been able to figure out how to tap out of the race. The choice between taking care of one’s body or continuing to work is a difficult one for many Princeton students. Take as an example the campus cold that has been making its way through the student body. Just as I know that the quickest path to healing my ankle is rest, those who
are unlucky enough to have that persistent cough and scratchy throat would recover faster if they also rested. But I’ve rarely met a Princeton student—who’ve all had to run the race of college admissions to get here—that prioritizes their own well-being over their work and social life. There is a sense of false scarcity, of time and opportunity, that tells people to push through the pain, whether it’s the physical kind like the campus cold, or the mental kind, the fallout of which fills up the CPS waiting list and Tyga San’s Tiger Confessions inbox. There are two sicknesses on campus, the one of the culture perpetuating the one of the body. Putting together 5,000 overachievers generates a culture that uplifts toxic values, primarily, elevating the sacrifice of one’s mental and physical health as good and noble. This culture, rather than seeing students as inherently and indelibly whole, defines them through what they do and how they perform. The result? A
campus cold that won’t stop spreading until we’ve reached herd immunity, persistent burnout, and the harrowing feeling that giving one’s all is never enough. But what if campus culture prioritized the body and mind over action and achievement? If the norm was to stay home the minute your throat feels scratchy, or to value being rested and happy over getting an A on that paper? Such a culture shift requires reckoning with the way we define ourselves and the sources of our value, introspection into 6th-grade memories and recent injuries. It also requires two things that I’m still learning: the practice of patience, and rest.
The choice between taking care of Lauren Aung or continuing to work is a difficult one for many Nassau Weekly students.
October 10, 2021
PAGE DESIGN BY CATHLEEN WENG
Nassk Me Anything: Eating Clubs By BETH VILLARUZ Dear NasskBot, I’ve been trying to get into an eating club for weeks now. After the Terrace Trample, the Colonial Crush, and the Quad Clusterf—, I live in serious fear that I’ll break a bone before I ever taste a sip of watered down beer. And forget about a list pass—every time I ask an upperclassman, they tell me to go loiter in Campus Club before spitting in my eye. How do I stop pregaming nothing without getting murdered for a spot in line? Sincerely, Troubled ‘25 Dear Troubled, Wow! Sounds like you’ve had a hell of a time these past few weeks. I hope your black tube top, medium-wash skinny jeans, and white-people Air Force 1’s are okay after all that. TOTALLY sucks that you couldn’t get in—we had SO much fun without you! But to make sure you make it in next time, I’ll give you a few tips. Classes upon classes of frosh just like you have found ways to get around the line. And however strong your newfound combined inferiority-narcissist complex may dictate, this is not a uniquely freshman plight. Even I, a sophomore who has had access to eating clubs for literally the exact same amount of time as you, have to wait in a line from time to time. However, I’ve heard my fair share of war stories. Some previous frosh have crowdsurfed their way to the front. Others have dressed as bushes to try and sneak their way up to the door under the cover of leaves. Some go straight into fight mode by weaponizing their cough, while others fly through the crowd with a subtle army crawl. You could try to emulate the success of the infamous Eisgruber Impersonator, who tricked a set of Tiger Inn officers
into thinking that he would shut down the party due to fire code violations if they didn’t let him in. Many have tried to replicate the masterful disguise, but none have succeeded—whether this is due to smarter TI officers or inferior prosthetics, I don’t know. But before you attempt your own disguise, beware: False impersonation of the President carries a sentence of capital punishment with no chance for trial by Honor Committee. You could also try the method of a certain member of the class of 1986 and simply buy the eating club their liquor license. Raise the money through a tried-and-true baking sale, or by embezzling funds from a student club. If you bestow the gift of being able to serve Something Other Than Beer, no club will be able to turn you away. One caveat, though—this path has been known to transform innocent Princeton students into bald, psychopathic leaders of megacorporations. But whichever method you decide, I’m confident that you will make your way into one (1) non-exclusive, non-capacity-limited, likely lame eating club... eventually. In the meantime, focus on pregaming in as many different dorms as you can, and revel in the fact that your odds of getting McCoshed are significantly lower. And when you’re finally dancing your sweet little ass off on one of those sticky floors, all I ask is that you remember all I’ve done for you. Wishing you many a long night, Nasskbot P.S. You can always just sneak in the backyard.
EATING CLUB LINE HACKS CROWD SURF
IF YOU ARE UNDER 5’6”, YOU WILL LIKELY DROWN IN THE CROWD. PLEASE CONSIDER CROWD SURFING TO THE FRONT INSTEAD.
FEELING PARTICULARLY SNEAKY THIS FRIDAY EVENING? TRY A SNAKE-LIKE SLITHER THROUGH THE FEET OF YOUR CLASSMATES. JUST HOPE NONE ARE JUMPY!
CHANCES ARE YOU ALREADY HAVE THE PRINCETON PLAGUE— SO LET LOOSE AND HAVE FUN WITH IT!
NO EASY PATH INTO THE CLUB? MAKE YOUR OWN! YOU MAY ARRIVE WITH A SCRATCH OR TWO BUT AFTER A FEW BEERS YOU WON’T NOTICE.
CARTOON BY HAZEL FLAHERTY
Volume 44, Number 4
13 PAGE DESIGN BY MIKA HYMAN
GINGKO L E A V E S By LUCIA BROWN
I want to live in a house with a wraparound porch or an apartment where I can stretch from the kitchen to the couch. All Cicero said we need is a library and a garden, so I’ll keep little brown pots on the windowsills. Did you know that it wasn’t until 1915 that a post office employee designed the standard American mailbox? Once upon a time we sent letters back and forth that I signed with “Hugs!” when really I meant “Lots of love,” so I hope you took it that way once or twice. What do you think of your new hometown? The days pass like weeks here, the months like days. Pain flares through my lower back and I melt into child’s pose, the wood cool against my forehead. I want to sit on an aluminum stool and eat kalamata olives with a fork, right out of the jar. A faceless stranger paints over my brother’s bedroom walls, so I tell him to stop getting taller. When did you outgrow your mom? I dropped a watermelon in a grocery store a few years ago and felt a shot of adrenaline that I mistook for shame. Like watching a misspelled word autocorrect to a name I’ve been trying to forget. Does that happen to you with L? Pittsburgh tore up the yellow brick road in front of the house, called that progress. Gingko leaves impress into soft pavement; I push red cedar through the basement table saw. I want print editions of the local news so we can read the Sunday comics and stockpile them for wrapping paper. The birds will wake me up in the morning and if I leave this tea here long enough, I can pretend I meant to drink it cold.
Volume 44, Number 4 PAGE DESIGN BY HANNAH SU
“Sweaty, Loud, and Not a Little Tipsy” Four underclass students reflect on beginning and continuing college.
By SAM BISNO, CHARLIE NUERMBERGER, BETH VILLARUZ, LARA KATZ
Sam Bisno “Incremental” is the word that springs to mind when I think of my transition to college. First at home, then on campus but with remote classes, and now about as close to what I envisioned when I applied as I think we’re likely to get for some time. That incrementality has afforded me convenient opportunities for self-assessment. At the beginning of each semester, I’ve said to myself, somewhat obviously, “This isn’t like last time!” In most respects, that change has been positive. Connecting with peers is a lot more organic and fulfilling now than it was last year, when every pre-planned FaceTime and stilted dining hall conversation was tinged with a sense of obligation, almost as if it were a chore. And in-person classes
are nice, even if they’re not as transcendent as I had imagined them. This view of my first three semesters as discrete rather than parts of a cohesive “college experience” has also helped me identify what I need to feel okay. In my first-year fall, I was grounded by the meals I ate with my parents each night; now I know to give them a call around dinnertime whenever I’m coming unmoored. At the same time, incrementality has made me acutely aware of the safety net slipping away. Before, I could fall back on the vague notion that it was an abnormal time to be a student to excuse unhealthy habits like staying up all night to work or holing up in my room because socialization was scary. This go-around, I’m forced to look inward and challenge myself to grow. Charlie Nuermberger The process of orienting to Princeton campus and commencing my studies compares better to a deluge than the languid spit of quarantine. That’s not to say it hasn’t been
enjoyable: it has been, immensely, and there’s nowhere I would rather be than here, in my First College suite. It’s just been a lot. In all honesty, this is the first time I have paused my Princeton experience in order to practice introspection. I have, intentionally, floated along this torrent of activity without real attention to how I am faring. And that’s something I’ve never been great at, but here in particular it’s difficult to get a bearing. In a spatial sense, it took me longer than expected to find my way on campus; I never received a tour, never visited campus before landing here in August. Temporally, the density of this last month seems to expand its duration: it has felt like a long time. This is all to say I am fumbling through this incipient experience; one that has been distorted from an altogether more whole experience with which I am also unfamiliar, as a first year, as the oldest brother. In general, I think this practice of constant acclimation without real introspection can yield some benefits: I am more maneuverable; I’m not
October 10, 2021
homesick in the traditional sense; I am unimpeded by issues that might have otherwise flung me into a vortex of discontent. Moments like this, though, when I can take a moment to absorb that idea— drink that rain—are incontestably valuable to orient myself towards a more conscious river through Princeton. Beth Villaruz The crowd outside Colonial is sweaty, loud, and not a little tipsy. I can hear music blaring from inside, but we’re all trapped on the lawn wondering what the hell is going on. It’s a mix of sophomores and freshmen, all members of the underclass with no eating club of their own to patronize. I feel as young as I have ever felt, a kindergartner thrust into the chaos of the school bus after the last bell.
It’s almost like being in a pack of rabid animals, people nearly scratching at the windows for a taste of the party. Everyone is itching to make up for the lost year. I hear later that there was a riot, that I made a good choice to go home at 11:30 instead of 3:00, that dancing in a haze of beer and sweat is not all that fun anyway. I go to sleep at 1:00 and wake up with an intense fear that I’ve missed out on something fun. I am constantly afraid that I have missed something, now. Every class and gathering is treasured, purely because it is happening in person. I dread what will happen if I miss a minute of it, take a moment for granted. I also dread what will happen if anyone gets sick. This is the new normal, stuck between dread and delight, exhilarated at the promise of Real College and frightened of the
consequences thereof. What if it all goes wrong? Waiting for the other shoe to drop is pretty boring, though, so for now I’ll keep clawing my way into terrible parties with anyone and everyone else. This is what we have, and this is what we’re doing.
Lara Katz To put it bluntly: I feel like I have entirely lost control, and yet I’ve never had more freedom in my life. Due to word count, I’ll stick to two issues: sleep and time. Firstly, sleep: I sleep a lot. I can be a monstrous person when sleep-deprived and a delightful one when well-rested. Last year, doing Princeton from my childhood bedroom at my desk rotated 90 degrees so that only my wall and window were visible from my Zoom box, my
time was my own. I woke up when I wanted and I slept when I wanted. My only source of noise pollution was my brother, who often plays video games at night and loudly yells at his online teammates and opponents, but if I yelled back at him enough and banged on his door, then I could be reasonably certain of silence. Here at Princeton, I have no such guarantee—my roommates generally go to bed far later than I do, their alarms (which sometimes are snoozed ten or fifteen times) make my brain rattle (I hate waking up to alarms and avoid it whenever possible), and on Thursday and Saturday nights, my sleep is often disrupted by Street pilgrims—my First College room is on the ground floor and perfectly en route from all the other res colleges. Secondly, time. I never used to use Google Calendar for anything other than birthdays and
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Zoom calls. Now it rules my life, because my poor little paperback day-journal cannot send me notifications nor handle the amount of fluctuation that my schedule undergoes on a daily basis (i.e., there are only so many times you can cross out a handwritten event before the new event is entirely illegible). Every week my Google Calendar looks like a dozen Mondrians layered on top of each other, and I have a new notification— whether it be to go to my COS precept or brush my teeth—at least every forty-five minutes. The chaos is unruly; I’ve always been bad with numbers, and it seems that dates are no exception. The number of times I’ve misread my calendar in just the past week is at least seven. And yet there’s also freedom, and the new experiences that come with that. I’ve done mundane things like buy myself a vegan gingersnap cookie and spontaneously canoe for an entire morning with people I’ve
just met. During the past year I forgot how to form memories—i.e., by engaging in memorable experiences—because part of how I kept myself sane was by keeping my life predictable. No, I can’t control how much sleep I get. But there was something delightfully serendipitous about my 12 p.m. nap yesterday, which led me to run into someone I met at a summer camp three years ago, because I uniquely happened to be going to my next class from the direction of my dorm. And my calendar is not bursting its seams with mind-numbing Zoom webinars or identical walks around the same block I’ve lived on my entire life— instead, every single day has enjoyed something unpredictable—whether that something was enjoyable or not. Each of these experiences, in other words, has forced me to adapt, something which, after the first few months of the pandemic, I completely forgot how to
do. Now it’s a skill I’m gaining again, and I’m glad of it, as challenging as it may be—because that’s, after all, why I applied to Princeton: I love a challenge, whether abstractly academic or profoundly personal.
Volume 44, Number 4
Tonight, I think of the sad, side-long embrace of fading moonlight, a tragic arc of formless desire, before the sun rises and the last honeyed words of midnight candy dissolves on my tongue.
by NATHALIE CHARLES
The sharp tenderness of Night’s long sigh leaves the drunken hawk moths dizzied from delight. The pollen is sweeter at this hour the pollination, an untraceable translation. All the craft is in the catching of these moments; stumbling towards Daylight’s warm grasp there is nothing sweeter than a Lover laid in night gladiolus who does not know how to name the crooks of your body but knows that they are just the same: who knows that morning is coming and that you will collapse into yourself yet again and does not rush to devour the unnameable: who only whispers in no language at all the nature of love as it comes to an end.
Only Curling, After All
October 10, 2021
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9
essentially impossible—for the opposing team to hit out your stones. Then, you may ask, why wouldn’t the other team just hit out these guards (i.e., the stones just in front of the house, or target) before you can put a stone behind it? There’s something called the “five-rock rule” which mandates that until five stones have been thrown, no stones in the free guard zone (the area outside of the house but inside the area that counts as “in play”) can be removed from play. If one of those stones does go out of play, the stone is replaced and the offending rock is removed. But, if you gently shift that guard over to the side so that it’s still in play but essentially useless, then you can get by the five-rock rule. The only thing is that it’s a tough shot and doesn’t even occur to some skips. However, it also happens to be my specialty, and it messes with the opponent’s expectations. By the fourth end we were feeling great. I put up a neat centerline guard, we drew and drew behind it, and we
managed to take three points thanks to Brendan’s excellent hammer takeout—meaning he removed the opponents’ counting shot with just one of his own after it was too late for them to do anything about it. After the fourth end break, in which our coach—Brendan’s dad—told us to play the same strategy as before, mainly because George’s draws weren’t strong and ours were, we did indeed proceed to do the same thing. Except that George did make his draw, so he got a point. We took one point with the hammer in the next end. Then, fearing a high scoring end would bring our precarious lead down, Brendan decided for us to return to his favorite strategy: hit and hit until there’s nothing left, and hope George wouldn’t make his draw. But then George did make his draw again, laughing bizarrely as he did so—I swear he only stopped smiling during that game to yell alternately “SWEEP” and “UP” (i.e., don’t sweep)—and even though his vice missed about half of her hits, George’s follow-up draw was good enough to let them take another point. The hit game was making me nervous. This was the point in the game when I started hating
it—there’s so little room for error when making hits, and we were doing well at the draw game. Every time we had hammer, we scored, and more than they did. Also, in a hit game, positions are swapped. Philip and Julia are throwing the hits and Brendan is drawing. In the draw game, Philip and Julia draw and Brendan guards with his first stone and hits with his second. That Brendan is better at hits and Julia better at draws is indisputable. Brendan’s draw in the eighth end was heavy. Like, way too heavy. The ends were flying by with all of these thick, fast hits. We were in a tie, thankfully with hammer (meaning we got to throw the last shot of the end), and we just needed to hit everything out and then draw for a win. Easy enough, right? I missed my hit. The opposing vice finally made a few shots and now we really had no room for error. By the time it came to Brendan’s hammer shot, George had a stone biting—just touching—the eightfoot ring, and no protection. So throw a draw closer to the center, or hit it out, and we win. Brendan could hit anything he wanted whenever he wanted. He chose to go for the draw, figuring it safer. Strategically, it
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was. As he slid out of the hack, smooth and graceful in that textbook delivery of his, I saw his broom hand trembling. It wasn’t just trembling with fear, though. It was trembling as his broomhead ran over the ice. Why was it shaking so much? And the rock was rumbling. Rocks rumble and brooms shake when stones are hit weight, not draw weight. I flashed back to the moment when one of Brendan’s stones had picked, in an earlier game—picking means the stone shifts significantly off its trajectory due to an imperfection in the ice, the stone, or some miniscule debris lying in its path—and so spooked was he that I agreeably threw stone #7 every end afterward and let him throw #2, even though #7 is usually a skip’s rock and #2 a lead’s rock. Maybe this stone was cursed too. No, it wasn’t the stone that was cursed, and neither was #7—I’d never had an issue with it when I threw it anyway. “3, 2, 1,” Philip muttered, the first audible phrase I’d heard from him in about ten minutes. For a moment I didn’t understand. Then I realized that he was reading the numbers off his
stopwatch. Brendan had just thrown a 3.21-second rock, which meant that the time it took for the rock to move from the backline to the near hogline was 3.21 seconds. On speedy competition ice, even when it was unusually slow, 3.21 seconds is the speed of a double takeout. As in, able to hit out two stones completely out of play. And Brendan was not hitting any stones. I registered somewhere that we had lost the final, we were not going to qualify for the Youth Olympics, and it was because Brendan threw hit weight for a draw. It was like he’d brought a backhoe to plant daisies. “WHOA! No cleaning!” Julia was begging us not to sweep even for debris that could throw the stone off its trajectory because our only hope, at this point, was that some dirt would appear. We were now praying for a curse. No dirt appeared. The rock cooked along through the house and bounced off the backboards. Brendan dropped his broom, walked to the sidelines, stared at his feet, went back to get his broom, shook hands with the other team, and then retired to the men’s locker
room for a good 45 minutes. Julia and I went and sat at our team table and peeled clementines that we didn’t want to eat. Brendan’s dad was walking around shaking hands with everyone and smiling a small, sad smile. Philip’s mom kept saying how it was “still our game,” whatever that meant. Meanwhile, Philip sat in a dark corner and, head in hands, cried. Julia and I listened and pretended not to watch as the other team huddled around an adjacent table with the Olympic officials, their parents, and their fancy Olympic coach to sign important-looking papers with all kinds of seals. At some point, I roused myself and brought my broom over to George’s table, so his team could sign it, and then I found my teammates to sign it as well. Julia did so readily, chugging her third energy drink since the game. Philip at first refused, said his handwriting was bad, cited his weak grades, told me he was mentally slow, asked me to help him with his college essays (he never sent them), and then acquiesced, tearful, putting his head back in his hands after I walked away. (I did not find out his college plans until his mom told my mom.) Brendan’s dad had to get
him from the locker room. Brendan’s eyes were red—but I felt like we locked eyes for the first time. “Thanks for playing all those ticks. In mixed doubles.” “No problem.” He signed my broom. “I’ll get better at losing, I promise.” In the airport at bag check we ran into Mr. Olympic Coach. It was two o’clock in the morning. “I didn’t expect to get to the final,” I told him. “And I didn’t expect to end up with a bronze. You can’t expect anything, my dear.” The bag check woman interrupted, “Sir, your bag is too heavy. What do you have in here, golf clubs?” I felt strangely protective of Mr. Olympic Coach. “He’s an internationally ranked curler. Those are curling brooms!” “I don’t care what they are, I’m charging you for an oversize bag.” As Mr. Olympic Coach paid for his oversized bag I couldn’t tell if he was smiling or grimacing; all I knew is he wouldn’t look me in the eye. I wondered how it must have felt to win—but only bronze, and only curling, after all. Curling is a mind sport just as much as an athletic sport. People often laugh at curlers. I’m fairly used to it by now, because yes, there are a lot
October 10, 2021
of “out-of-shape” curlers (although only rarely at the top levels). And yes, way back when, when Canada was the only country any good at the sport, Olympians would sometimes have beers on the ice. But it’s also much more than that. Because now it is competitive, no matter where you go, and yes, the balmiest nations will likely always have players that look like they don’t know why they’re sliding around on an ice rink, but there are Olympians like that in every sport. And yes, at my curling club there are usually beers on the ice. But no, it isn’t easy. And yes, it requires skill, and yes, it requires athleticism. If it were only a mind game, George, with his almost offensive jubilance in the face of both successful and unsuccessful shots, would be king of the curling world—but he’s not; I don’t know an American curler who wasn’t ashamed of our poor performance at the Youth Olympics that year (we only beat Latvia and our creaming by Japan was a true embarrassment). If it were only athleticism then Jared Allen and the other derpy ex-NFL players trying to get to the Olympics right now (incidentally, their coach is the same Mr. Olympic Coach as George’s team) would have already gotten a gold medal at Worlds (funny story, they came
to a cashspiel—a curling event where you can earn a lot of cash—at my curling club, and lost to a bunch of experienced but undeniably middle-aged, only semi-athletic men whom I play with in the Saturday afternoon league. So much for the NFL and Mr. Olympic Coach.). And if curling were only skill then Brendan would always beat me in mixed doubles and wouldn’t have missed that shot in the final. It’s not just teamwork, either, because then Team Wendling, who we beat in the semis and have been playing together for years, wouldn’t have lost to my team—who had never played as a full team before the Trials. The fact is that it’s all of these things—mind, body, and teamwork—and that’s the beauty of the sport.
Exactly why this particular Lara Katz is useful is a bit more complicated Nassau Weekly strategy.