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Life & Other Drugs

Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill"

Pop-Culture Lessons for Deprived Intellectuals

May 11, 2017

In keeping with the theme of Brown’s community being incredibly varied, quirky, and unique, one of my best friends that I’ve made this past year, Sofia, has a tendency to make jokes about topics HIGHLY disparate from the normal college-aged American millennial lingo (cue one of her infamous supply and demand jokes), as well as generally not understand the references of her peers.  Her characteristic joke repertoire comes from the relatively distinct way she was raised: without much, if any, TV, specifically not American programming.  While I interspersed playing outside, devouring books about insect species, and plopping on the couch to watch a good ol’ Reading Rainbow episode, she was likely reading an actual book, probably about the legitimate meteorological principles behind rainbows.  (This is not to say that I didn’t read books, [@ Brown: I swear my admission wasn’t a flaw!!] but to say that she REALLY read books.)  As well as her TV-less childhood may have prepared her brain for college and intellectual discussion, it inevitably deprived her of full conscious understanding of the wonderful jokes that her incredibly funny friends (me, obviously) make.

Approximately 75% of my jokes hinge upon another person’s familiarity with The Office (likely due to the fact that I’ve watched the entire show 5x).  So, since Sofia is an Office-hater, despite my ceaseless pleas for her to love the show, a large majority of my jokes swoop right over her head.  “That’s what she said?” “Did I stutter?” “Do you think that doing alcohol is cool?”  Being a little stitiousOccasionally hitting someone with your carCLARICE?  Nope, completely unrecognized comedic genius from me.  Somebody isn’t laughing at my jokes??

Not only does she lack understanding of my Dwight jokes, she also has very little knowledge of Family Guy jokes.  Maybe this isn’t the most ‘couth’ or ‘worthwhile’ show, but it certainly provides a surplus of joke fodder.  I’ll admit it, it “really grinds my gears” when she doesn’t catch my jokes.  Some of you pick up on that one?  Good for you guys.  If you didn’t, do your sense of decency a disservice and watch some Family Guy episodes.  When we eat anything with whipped cream I FIGHT back the urge to incessantly repeat cool whip in Stewie’s voice.  When I stub my toe I overdramatically imitate Peter’s knee injury incident.  And, whenever I make any sort of joke about how Brian went to Brown, she definitely thinks there’s some guy she doesn’t know.

Sofia does try her best to throw some TV lingo into her daily language and sometimes her efforts aren’t entirely fruitful, as evidenced by her referring to a cookie-monster mug as “the Elmo cup.”  But, that’s what I’m here for!  Sofia: I hope these extremely (in)significant skills I’m teaching you make this friendship worthwhile.  If not?

Image via, via, and via.

Life & Other Drugs, Satire

The Ethics of Magic in Sabrina the Teenage Witch

May 10, 2017

Sabrina the Teenage Witch is the best television show in the history of motion pictures, the moving image, and humankind. It’s the best show because it combines teenage girl problems (studying, sneaking out, what to do when your boyfriend gets two cartilage piercings) with young witch problems (getting your Witch’s License, traveling through a vortex in your linen closet, what to do when your furniture starts talking during your Halloween party), thus making it highly relatable.

If this premise doesn’t convince you of Sabrina’s excellence, let me remind you that the school mascot was the Fighting Scallions, and that Ru Paul, the Violent Femmes and Jerry Springer were guest stars, and that in one episode the family’s talking cat Salem dons a suit stuffed with dollar bills and orders sushi from two very confused chefs.

I rest my case.

I just finished re-watching the first two seasons of the show, which accounts for how happy and into 90s fashion I’ve been lately. And even though I’m totally into all the puns, flying vacuum excursions, and inter-realm drama, there are definitely some glaring issues and inconsistencies that lie within the show.

I would like to take this up in an academic manner, seeing that all of my thoughts during this time of year are academic. Not wanting to step on any toes, I searched the web to see if this field had already been pioneered. This is what I found:

Thus, I present to you my totally original, totally well-researched, totally holds-together, totally not-done-at-the-last-minute Rib Thesis—The Ethics of Magic in Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Even the Other Realm Needs a Moral Code.

Part I: The Economic Implications of Magical Use

Sabrina and her aunts live in the U.S., which operates under a capitalist system, but Sabrina and her aunts, being witches, have any material good they desire at their literal fingertips. Are witches really not paying for anything? And what does that mean for the world economy?

In one episode, Sabrina and her BFF Valerie go shopping for school dance dresses. Valerie sees a sporty little number she likes but, since it’s out of her price range, Sabrina secretly zaps a 20% Off Clearance tag on it. It is later revealed that Sabrina’s theft was not without repercussion, as 20% of her aunt’s sweater disappeared due to the work of a figure called the Equalizer. This may seem like the answer to our economic predicament, but the Equalizer only appears in one episode and is a grown-ass man who wants to coerce Sabrina into marriage as payment for her debts. This definitely discredits him.

Thus it seems that witches are stealing from the hands, mouths, and pockets of mortal families, or they’re participating in the economy in very inconsistent ways because Sabrina still pays for her pizza at the local Slicery. All I have to say is: what gives?

Part II: Manipulation Through Magical Means

In the first two seasons alone, Sabrina’s magic turns her Vice Principal into a monkey, makes her perpetually nervous best friend unwillingly ask her crush out, and transforms her nemesis Libby into a jigsaw puzzle. These are all regular ol’ human beings who definitely did not sign any claims of release saying “yeah, it’s okay if Sabrina Spellman transforms me into the barn animal of her choosing, or changes my personality, or makes me feel like a deranged loon when I wake up after passing out in the backseat of a flying car, that’s fine.”

Where is the consent? Where’s the respect paid to her peers and neighbors? She is rarely punished for her spells that go awry, and when she is, the punishment is doled out by a council of wig-wearin’ witches who honestly couldn’t care less and usually reverse their decision. There is simply no order.

 Part III: A Witch Could Change the World…So Why Hasn’t One?

Salem the Cat became a cat as punishment for almost taking over the world, so witches clearly have a lot of power. Why aren’t witches using their power for the common good? What I’m really asking is, how come Sabrina let Bush get elected?

Yes, I am assuming that the political system of our world is the same in Sabrina’s—there’s nothing to suggest the contrary. The school’s sexist Vice Principal makes it clear that Sabrina’s world is still governed by the patriarchy so you gotta wonder—what’s stopping witches from brewing a potion that makes people respect consent, and also reverses ice cap melting and also fixes the criminal justice system? I guess I just want my witch idols to be socially responsible feminists, seeing as they literally are the means of production.

Overall, it’s clear that the witching world has no concern for the repercussions of their exploitative actions, probably because they are too busy skiing on Mars and getting serenaded by the Backstreet Boys. I love this show so very much, but let’s just say that if I were its writer, I’d keep the lunch room banter and velvet crop tops and crazy special effects the same, but make Sabrina progressive.

In conclusion, witches be crazy.

Images via, via, and via Sarah Clapp.

Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill"

Perkins, A Place of Few Perks

May 1, 2017

Here at Brown, we determine housing through — if you’re not familiar with it — a blood-sucking, battle-to-the-death type lottery, which any campus tour will define as super “fun,” “random,” and something that “always works out!”  I unfortunately fell prey to this tricky rhetoric and genuinely believed that a fairy-tale housing selection process was the way it was all going to be.  So, when I saw my housing selection time was 6:20 p.m. I figured, okay, that’s right in between the start and end of the process so my odds are pretty good!

A friend asked how I’d fared with my lottery number and I explained my fairly average pick-time, to which he responded, “On which day, though?”  Panic ensued. Extreme fear. Disgusting lower back sweat. Bulging eyes. The prospect that there was more than one day for picking had not even dawned on me.  I frantically searched and realized I was picking on the second day, meaning on the 7-page long list of picking order, my housing group fell on approximately page 5.5.  Page 5.5 means a ridiculously high and unsettling likelihood of living in Perkins.

PERKINS.  Are you unfamiliar with it?  Let me tell you a bit about what I’ve learned about this hell-hole via upperclassmen: small, brown water, far, smelly, defunct showers, very far, rats, and did I mention, FAR.  Upon realization that my fate was likely a residence in Perkins, I began my journey through the 5 stages of grief.

First up: denial.  I counted my spot in the housing lottery, counted those before and behind me, realized my likelihood of living there was incredibly high, and continued to act as though it was not.  Those in my housing lottery group would bring up the topic and I’d immediately change the subject, refusing to acknowledge that PERKINS would be our fate.  I’d see sophomores hopping onto their bikes to begin the strenuous trek back to their unfortunate housing, and I’d pity them, confident that I’d continue to be able to comfortably walk home to a lovely spot on Wriston.

Eventually, I came to realize that as much as I may hope for it not to be the case, living in Perkins would likely be an actuality.  And, that made me REALLY mad (i.e. those “now I’m mad” vines, #ripvine).  Friends who fared well in the housing lottery would make lighthearted jokes about me living in Perkins, and I did not take them so lightheartedly.  I was already more than a little bitter.

Then came bargaining.  What if I had entered the lottery with other people?  Screw living with my friends—I’d live with my worst enemy in Hope in lieu of side by side dorms with my BFFs in Perkins (does that make me a horrible person?? Yeah, maybe).  What if I had studied a liiiiiiitle harder for that last midterm?  I bet THEN the housing lottery gods would’ve spared me.  Was there anything now I could do, any move I can make to change this??  I’d exclusively eat ratty meat if it meant I’d be spared–which is a big step because I’m a pescatarian, but then again is that stuff even meat?

The housing gods never bargained with me, and thus came the sadness.  It’d be 3:00 p.m. on a Thursday and I’d lay in bed, already missing the convenience and specialness of my Wayland dorm.  But, self-generated sadness wasn’t enough.  I’d plug right into my sad Spotify playlist (I know I’m not the only one with one of these) and Mad World’s melancholy melodrama would spew softly out of my ear buds.  Essentially, my life was this meme:

Is this extra of me?  Entirely.  Is this necessary?  More than.

After all of my days of blues I decided to look for some potential benefits and accept the inevitable.  I took a run to check out Perkins, which I’ll admit did not take as long as I thought it would.  I ran into some current residents who explained that it had recently been renovated, the supposed rat problem was largely malicious rumors, and the slight seclusion made for an incredibly close and bonded sophomore community within Perkins.  I finally came around to the idea that living in Perkins wouldn’t be THE worst thing.  So, I waited expectantly to see my options in the housing lottery, at peace with the prospect of a home in Perkins.  But, at 6:20pm I saw a room left in Sears and screamed, loooooudly.  Here’s to hoping the lottery works out again in my favor this time next year.

Image via and via.

Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill"

Dear Seniors, Please Don’t Leave

April 30, 2017

As this semester wraps up, many of us on campus are getting ready to say goodbye to the Class of 2017, which sounds like fake news if we’re being honest, because 2017 sounds like a fake year. 2010? That sounds more real. That’s more like it. I’m not sure why I feel this way, but I honestly believe that Justin Bieber’s “Baby” came out yesterday. Why the release of that one song seems to have frozen time for me I don’t know, but it doesn’t change the fact that I genuinely feel like anything that has happened after the Biebs bowl cut epidemic has either happened a) way too fast to actually be real or b) as part of one of those very weird, long, too-vivid dreams I used to have in middle school.

BUT, if I learned anything from 2016, it’s that this is all, somehow, real (!!!!!). It’s actually happening. Our friends are going off to grad school. They’re finding apartments. They’re getting jobs. They are moving cross country, or abroad, or even staying in Providence, (but getting the hell outta here, they say).

To this I say: how… fucking… dare you?

And I say this because I am furious. And no, it’s not because I’ll miss you. (Though I will). Mostly, I’m angry because what are we supposed to do now? What am I supposed to do now? Because, newsflash, the seniors leaving isn’t about the seniors at all– it’s about us, the people who they are leaving behind. Especially soon-to-be seniors, like yours truly.

Don’t get me wrong. I am kind of excited for senior year. But I can already tell that it’s going to be both great and awful at the same time. Perks? Living off-campus, for one, so that I don’t have to deal with noisy neighbors and, even more importantly, a cappella groups. Disadvantages? HBO, which all Brown students now have, is only for people living on campus. So to answer your question, yes, I highly considered giving up my off-campus permission because I love Game of Thrones, Insecure, and Veep. But, also I hate a cappella. So, priorities.

Granted, priorities are one of the many reasons being a senior is going to be amazing. The elders get priority! We’ll finally get first pick for a bunch of things, most notably, capped classes. But then again– what does that matter? Aren’t we all taking classes like Ghanaian drumming and Public Speaking anyway?

Plus, as an “old,” we will never really feel intimidated by anyone. And from what I have witnessed and gathered, we will also stop caring about what we look like when we head to class.

Actually we’ll just stop caring about class. And work. And productivity and ethical consumption under capitalism.

And we’ll care about other stuff we never really cared about before. Like, finding time for our “real friends” instead of party hopping. Or staying in on weekends with our housemates, because we’ve realized we’ll never see them again see them mostly at weddings or reunions.

Maybe we’ll discover there is someone we wish we had gotten to know better. We’ll even senior scramble. We’ll think about all the things we wish we would have done, and remember the things we said we don’t regret but kind of do, and suddenly it will register that we already had our last snow day at Brown, and one last Ratty lunch, and we’ll wonder if we really took it all in before everyone is off on their next adventure.

Isn’t that just a little depressing?

I don’t want to go to there! I want to stay a junior forever! (Lol, depending on finals, I just might!) I desperately want to keep feeling older than the other munchkin freshmen/sophomores, all while knowing I still have a whole year of fuckery ahead. I looooove knowing that I’m part of the age group where I can go to the GCB and see ~some people in my class, but mostly, I just see seniors who I’ve admired from afar and who are willing to buy me overpriced popcorn in one last attempt at flirting with a stranger.

I looooove using “but you’re leaving me!” as an excuse to make plans with cool seniors while I ditch underclassmen under the pretense of “but we still have time!”

And I especially like sharing stories with these geriatrics all these old timey tales that make us both feel special. I’ll bring up some whacky story that happened to me my freshman year and they will stare at me with a look in their eyes, like the one your grandpa gets when he speaks of The War. The Gate? I haven’t heard that name in years…

Ah, Seniors. Who is going to fill your pretentious hipstery shoes? Certainly not me. That’s just too much work. And while I certainly like power, being the “wise one”/the person others look up to? No thanks. That’s a lot of pressure, and I’d like to keep being able to fuck up constantly and consistently forever, thank you very much.

In any case, I’m also just not cool enough to be a senior. I can’t be the senior who is a chill recovering scene kid with an edgy nose ring and also plays ultimate frisbee. I can’t be the senior who pulls off the “granny-toddler” look on one hand and pulls off hooking up with a guy she’s literally bled on (nosebleed blood, for clarification) on the other. And I definitely can’t be the senior who can look hot AF dressed like Marty freakin’ McFly and who once piqued my interest with her heart-shaped manic pixie dream mole.

When I’m a senior, all I’ll have to my name will be like, oh Daniella, the one who wears a superfluous amount of beanies and flannels and is obsessed with going to concerts and also, her Congressman?

I guess what I’m trying to say is –as with most things– perhaps best said with a Queen B lyric. You’re irreplaceable, seniors. What can I say to make you stay? Hmm… Real world? Rent? Student loan refinance plan? DONATE TO THE BROWN ANNUAL FUND? IN THE REAL WORLD, IT’S ACTUALLY KIND OF DIFFICULT TO FIND MOZZ STICKS?

Hit me up if any of these worked ‘cuz then maybe someone can use them on me next year. Because ya girl is planning on straight up denying the inevitable passage of time until the fat blue lamp/bear sings.

Image via Sarah Clapp.

It's a Girl Thing, Life & Other Drugs, The Tabloids

The Dangers of Online Bikini Shopping

April 27, 2017

I hate online shopping. I don’t understand how people do it. The clothes never look as good as they did online, or they don’t fit, or they arrive two weeks later than they were supposed to, or all of the above. I avoid online shopping at all costs, and would much prefer to waste hours at the mall in order to find several items that I am 100% sure about buying, than to spend 20 minutes accidentally spending crazy amounts of money on 4 pairs of shoes that I most likely won’t be able to squeeze my feet into and will consequently have to return. Also! I hate returning things. Why has no one invented a high-tech solution where you can just snap your fingers and get your money back and be freed from the object you don’t want taking up space in your room. Like are you seriously telling me I actually need to repackage and re-mail this thing I don’t even want all by myself, in order to get my own money back??! The inhumanity.

Well, recently I discovered there is something even worse than online shopping, and that would be online bikini shopping. Last month, with spring break around the corner, I joined many college girls across the country in making the horrifying realization that I have absolutely zero bikinis. (Yeah, yeah you USC/Tulane people don’t have these problems and the rest of us losers in the arctic tundra are not at all jealous of you). With barely a week until break, I was up to my neck in midterms and knew that I wouldn’t have time to make the dreaded trip to the mall. So, I began the endeavor of scouring the world wide web for 2 pieces of polyester that would rack me up (ha ha punny) some Instagram likes, because as we all know likes are the only thing that matter in defining self-worth.

Well, enter a certain bikini website that shall not be named, but may or not be an incorrect spelling of a geometric shape. After identifying my favorite $90 bikini, I proceeded to checkout only to find that they were out of my size. More specifically, they were out of my size in the top but not the bottoms, which somehow made it a much more annoying, glass-half-empty type of situation. Now, I was about to do the normal thing and “X” out of this page and move on to a new website, when I noticed a little “chat” box in the bottom left corner. I could chat with a customer sales rep! Right now! And they would help me! So exciting.

So I did. First, I was asked to enter my first name, and in a really weird and semi-embarrassing moment, I decided to use a fake name. I use my real name on literally everything I do all day long, so I could not tell you why I felt that the one time I should protect my ~sacred identity~ was on a bikini website that only asks for your first name.

So I said my name was Kylie (I told you this was embarrassing) because I thought it sounded like the name of a girl who might buy a bikini online from a company named after a geometric shape. Like can we be honest for a sec, any name ending in -ie or -ee or -ey or -eeey or -ieie is like def better bikini material than my really generically spelled name.

“Kylie” was soon connected to a rep named Maggie, who followed her script by apologizing profusely for not having my size, and then asking me if I was sure about my size. It occurred to me that, never having tried on one of these mystical bikinis, I was not in fact totally sure about what size I would be. I relayed this info to Maggie.

Maggie asked me if I had a tape measurer that I could measure myself with. I said yes! Of course!

Disclaimer: I do not own a tape measurer. After 30 seconds of texting my roommates I learned no one in our house did either. But not wanting to disappoint my new friend Maggie, (I mean had already lied to the poor girl about my name – I needed to redeem myself somehow), I proceeded to scour my apartment for anything I could measure myself with.

Ten minutes later I found myself wrapping a piece of floss around my body. Meanwhile, every 3 minutes Maggie would message me “Are you still there?” “Hey Kylie – still there?” as if I was a victim of a deathly accident, on the verge of losing consciousness, instead of a girl standing alone in her room trying to determine how many inches a piece of dental floss was.

Eventually, I came to terms with the fact that a piece of floss could not tell me what my bikini size was, and I had to bid farewell to Maggie. Maggie told me she would email me if my size arrived sooner, and asked for my email, which I gave her. My email definitely contains the name “Abby” and not “Kylie.”

Maggie did not comment on the discrepancy.

A few days later, I found myself rushing to the mall in between classes to find a suitable (ha another pun) bikini. The irony, I know. I could have skipped lying about my name and wasting all that dental floss.

Lo and behold the only acceptable one was designed by KYLIE Jenner. Am I psychic?? Yes, obviously. I clearly predicted my fate. Everything in my life was supposed to lead up to this moment. So I bought the bikini and brought it to spring break. Also it was like $30 instead of $90 so thanks @ kylie jenner.

The moral of this tale is to avoid online bikini shopping, and floss, and overly eager sales reps that you meet via a chat feature, and also maybe lying about your name.

Images viavia, and via.

It's a Girl Thing, Life & Other Drugs

Always A Text Away!

April 25, 2017

Staying in contact with family and friends is an objectively good thing.  It’s nice to know a bit about what shenanigans your family is engaging in while trying to subsist without your lovely presence, and to receive advice on why you NEED to binge-watch Westworld right now, c/o your friend who stays up to date on Philo’s capabilities.  Occasional back and forths like these are informative and allow you to feign a bit of closeness, even if your family is thousands of miles away.  But group chats can spiral out of control (i.e. Britney circa shaved head phase).

Group chats in general have some irritating (to say the least) consequences.  They eliminate any possibility of ever leaving your ringer on again if you don’t want to consistently receive glares from everyone around you.  And leaving your phone on vibrate isn’t much of an option either, unless the prospect of having a vibrator in your pants at all times is something you’re into—in which case, to each their own.  Group chats also make it incredibly dicey to be a dodgy asshole.  You’re placed in a tough spot when someone from a group chat has individually texted you, you need to text something in the group chat (planning when you’re departing for chyken finger Friday obvi), and you also are attempting to ignore that individual text.  Now, you are faced with the horribly hard decision of either being a decent human being and texting the person back, or staying true to your asshole tendencies and clearly indicating you’re ignoring that text by texting in the group chat.  Tough stuff!  Sometimes group chats can even make you sad.  When nobody responds to your carefully crafted text in the group chat, it’s a tad disheartening :’-(

Group chats with your friends have their own particular set of issues.  Somehow, induction into one has come to symbolize some form of friendship—don’t you love the way us millennials do things??  I have heard horror stories about how in the middle school game these days, getting kicked out of a group chat is the ULTIMATE in petty girl drama.  And I thought the Google Buzz days were wild…  Perhaps an equally shitty experience would be catching your friends texting in a group chat without you out of the corner of your eye and having to act like you didn’t see it while actively fighting back the tears–stay strong.

Family group chats have niche problems as well.  You probably feel an obligation to be a good kid and laugh at the things your parents send in your group chat.  But you can only fake laugh so much at the Mr. Krabs meme your parent discovered approx. 4 months late in their quest to be ~hip~.   Maybe your best bet is to just mute all of your group chats.  But, let’s be real, inevitably you will cave and this will be you:

Image via, via, and via.

Life & Other Drugs

The Very Real Fear of Being Invited To Very Fake Parties

April 25, 2017

I have a lot of fears. Most are rational – failure, nuclear war, going to the doctor – but there’s one fear I have that I’ve never been able to justify. I’m afraid of being invited to fake parties. Specifically, I’m afraid of being invited to a party and then showing up and nothing’s happening and it’s like, “Haha, you thought.”

It’s hard to pinpoint where exactly this fear started. In my youth, I was never really invited to many parties. It wasn’t like it is now where everybody obviously loves me and thinks I’m great and wants me to be at things. No, no. I was a genuine Loser.

I don’t have a specific memory of the first time I experienced it. Probably in middle school? It was, after all, middle school. But again, here’s the thing – I was actually invited to a few parties in seventh grade. I was brand new at a school in an area I’d just moved to, and immediately fell in with a group of girls who constantly had sleepovers. Every time I was invited to one, it was always real. Eventually they decided to outcast me, as they did with every girl in the group at one point or another, but they didn’t do any mean pranks or anything. Just stopped talking to me. This might explain my low self-esteem or my reluctance to trust people, but it doesn’t explain my very specific fear of fake parties. So. Moving on.

After that group, I became friends with a different group of girls. They were and are terrific and are my best friends to this very day. They never invited me to fake parties. Sure, they were much more social than I was and got invited to many things I didn’t, but that was never a thing between us. Everything was great; nothing to worry about. And yet…..

I remember there was a point, sometime around high school, where my fear expanded a tiny bit to a general fear of showing up to fake events. I would come to school on field trip days and suddenly worry I’d made the field trip up and I was the only one who didn’t bring my books/notebooks that day and everybody would laugh, which on its own is hilarious, because nobody at my high school gave a fuck what you were doing in class. I would go to people’s houses for the first time and worry they’d given me the wrong address. I had nightmares about thinking an exam was one day when actually it was the day before and I’d missed it already. Just a constant, anxious, nagging feeling that I was destined to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, likely by malicious design.

I still have this fear a little bit today. That’s why I have precautions in place. For example, I never go to an event if I don’t have someone to go with. I’ll lock down an attendance buddy and not leave my room until they text me like “Where are you?” Does that make me kind of an asshole? Yes. But it’s better to be an asshole than to be humiliated. If my attendance buddy insists on “meeting there,” I’ll scope out the nearest bathroom before I go. That way, if I show up and nothing’s happening, I can just continue walking to the bathroom and pretend that’s what I was looking for all along. If there actually is something happening, I continue to the bathroom anyway, because that brings me to my final point – once I’m at a party, I make sure to never be alone in a room, not even to pee. I’m not allowed to pee at parties. You never know when everybody will decide it’s time to pull a disappearing act on you.

Over the years, I’ve gotten better at managing this fear, but if you ever invite me somewhere and I don’t show up, now you know why. I’m onto you.

Image via Annie Warner.

Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill"

Presenting: The Mailroom

April 24, 2017

Brown can be a self-selective place. If you’re a freshman, you’re probably hanging out in Keeney or on Pembroke. If you’re involved in Greek Life you can be found on Wriston, if you’re an athlete or an otherwise ~athletic~ person you’ll often be in the Nelson, and if you’re a senior who’s like “so done with college” you probably can’t be found because you’re holed up in your off-campus apartment.

Even the most popular spots on campus are self-selective. The Ratty is made up of mostly underclassmen, the Blue Room is full of people willing to spend too much money on a breakfast sandwich (me), the Sci Li is full of sciencey people and the Rock is flooded with Humanities kids (also me).

There is one, and only one, place on campus that is a total intersection of everyone who attends this fine university. It is mystical and unique, and there is no other place quite like it.

Presenting: The Mailroom.

Figure 1: Actual Real Life Image of the Mailroom

Everyone gets mail (shout out to moms and Amazon!) so everyone must go to the mailroom. I moved off campus this year, and I still use the mailroom because of the sheer familiarity of really bad music, extremely long lines, and most importantly, the convenience of being able to “forget” to pick up your package for several days with the knowledge that it’s being held safely in your campus box.

On a side note, has anyone ever seen these elusive campus mailboxes?? How do we know we really each have our own mailbox? Mine is 8720 (subtle call to send me ~fan mail~ guys) but how can I know if it even exists if I’ve never seen it?! Seeing is believing, as they say.

Anyway! Going to the mailroom is a multi-step process. The most exciting part, (in mine and everyone else’s opinion), is the ID swipe before you enter the mailroom, in which a v modern and cool screen informs you of how many packages you have to pick up. After you swipe, you can press “pick up now” and then enter the main room.

However! There are two catches here. One is that there is another v modern and cool screen inside the mailroom, which performs exactly the same operation, yet people seem to be unaware of its existence, causing the line for the first machine to be longer than necessary.

Second, is the underrated devastation of swiping your ID only to find out that you have “no packages at this time,” and the following sense of despair you feel as you walk out of JWW instead of through the mailroom doors.

Figure 2: Another Genuine Photograph of the Mailroom

Assuming you do in fact have a package, you make your way into the mailroom. You join the other couple dozen students in the room who are standing silently, facing towards the front desk, and waiting for their names to be called. During this time, you jealously watch other students who arrived before you receive their packages, while simultaneously listening to the worst playlist you’ve ever heard (we’re talking Taylor Swift circa 2011).

And also during this time, you can’t help but observe the students that surround you. Last weekend you and your friend complained (for the umpteenth time) that this school is too small and you know like everyone. Looking around the mailroom, however, you feel the exact opposite way. How do you know zero out of the 30 or 40 people standing here? Who are they? Where did they come from? Where have they been hiding? Is it possible that ~gasp~ you only think you know a lot of people, when in reality there are literally hundreds of students at this school you have never met?  Has the mailroom – the one and only true intersection of students on campus – caused you to have an identity crisis and question everything and everyone you have ever known???

The true magic of the mailroom lies in this moment: each one of these students takes different classes, are part of different organizations, have different concentrations, come from different cities –and yet: we all use the same mailroom. Guys, if this isn’t beauty I don’t know what is.

Images via.

Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill", Satire, Uncategorized

My Story: I Got a Record Deal from Humming in the Ratty

April 21, 2017

My trip to the Ratty started like any other. I got up from my table and started humming a tune the second my foot hit ground because I can’t stand to be alone with my thoughts for more than a moment. I shamelessly continued to showcase my vocal talent at the peanut butter station. I know what you’re thinking, and no, this wasn’t a teeny tiny hum, audible only to me and to dogs with enormous, floppy ears. I was humming from the heart, and the people around me definitely heard. I mean, it’s just humming. I wasn’t full out SINGING like a weirdo; I was merely producing a wordless tone through my nose with my mouth sealed shut like that time capsule my middle school buried. When are we gonna open that thing, anyway?

I guess I’m kind of weird like that, but I love humming! I did choir in high school, so it comes really naturally. I also tried out for a cappella at Brown, so, like, duh. Just one of my quirks, I guess!

Not everyone shares my passion for the art form. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hummed a ditty while in line for an omelette. In those moments, I am in my own little world — until the person in front of me says, “What?” and I have to explain, “I didn’t say anything.”

But last Tuesday, I didn’t have to do any explaining. I had just finished my meal, so I got up to bus my plate. I fell back on one of my favorite melodies: The “Five Dollar Foot Long” song on repeat. As I scraped rice pilaf into the compost bin to the beat of the tune, a woman approached me. I steeled myself for a trash-related insult, but when I looked in her eyes, I saw tears of awe.

Image result for tears of joy

“I heard you humming, and I recognized your immense talent. I’m so glad you shared your gift with every single person you pass by in here,” she gushed, laying out the paperwork.

And then I signed a deal with Interscope Records!

I know, I know, it’s crazy. What are the odds that a talent scout would compost her food in a student dining hall just in time to hear the musical stylings of a virtuoso like myself? All those years of friends and family begging me to stop humming at “inappropriate times.” All the accusations of humming loudly for the attention — I mean, yeah, I occasionally work a riff into “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” but I do that for me. I thought my biggest contribution was my ability to get songs stuck in the heads of all who cross my path… Turns out, my greatest strength is my angelic voice that has been dying to come out this whole time.

I’ve been with my label for a week now, and recording is going really well! The sound engineers don’t love that I keep humming during the instrumental intros, but like, that’s my brand, ya know? I know I’m going to be a big star — even though my vocal cords only work when I’m holding a plate from the Roots and Shoots line.

Image via and via.

Life & Other Drugs, Love & Romance

On Making the First Move

April 19, 2017

I am a young, empowered, millennial woman, who no longer has the time to wait around. It’s 2017, so why shouldn’t I make the first move when it comes the opposite sex? I’m trying to find myself a man! Or at least a consistent hook up. Or a one-time hook up. Or honestly just some male attention.

Even dating apps are encouraging women to take this first step. Take Bumble, for instance. These are changing times and I’m just flowing with them! I mean seriously, what’s the worst that could happen– they say no? I’ll just shrug it off and move on to my next potential man.

I’ve managed to send some texts on these apps, even suggesting possible hang out situations that could turn romantic. What I have failed to factor into the equation upon sending these messages are both my sensitivity levels and my emotional capacity.

I learned that the worst that can happen is not that these men say no, but that they just don’t respond at all. When this happens, I feel horrible – unwanted and not sexy. And I love feeling sexy! But for some reason, each time I make the first move, “the worst” always happens and it keeps happening.

Why would this be the case? I’m cute. I’m fun. Right… right? But these silent rejections have forced me to make some speculations as to why they don’t want to give Allie G a chance!

For some that I’ve reached out to, I’ve had previous romantic-ish encounters with him. Maybe he fears that if we do meet up again, he’ll realize he’s in love with me, but he’s just not ready for that type of commitment right now. And, I get it. I’m a lot, but I’m worth it. So if you’re not ready for the challenge, it’s understandable. Your non-response to my text hurts, but I understand your silence.

Or maybe this match has his heart set on someone else. And uh, first off, who is this chick that I have to compete with? Second, what does she have that I don’t?! I am then forced to reconsider these initial reactions, and realize that I can’t keep him from his true love. He must be ignoring me just because he can’t tempt fate. Your non-response stings… a lot, but I understand your heart.

These non-responsive and non-reciprocated feelings have nothing to do with me, right? Guys would love to date me! My mom tells me that I’m perfect, even though she thinks I might have a slight anger management problem.

Still, I do feel slightly defeated. My inner feminist wants to say “fuck those boys, there is someone out there for you. Keep putting yourself out there!” But my ego is screaming, “Allie, stop now! You’re just going to get more hurt and I literally don’t know how you’re going to take it. Save yourself.”

Making the first move seems great in theory, but in retrospect, it just reminds me that boys prioritize their self-interest. In doing so, they fail to get to really know me. They may not want a relationship with me right now or they may like someone else, but they should at least respond to my texts and tell me the truth. I don’t need some bullshit answer. And I don’t need to be ghosted. We’re all adults here. As I said, I am an empowered female who can handle the truth! And if they don’t have the decency to respond, I deserve better. Both my inner feminist and ego can agree with that.

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