Today felt a little odd. First, it snowed a little bit – not really measureable but definitely white on the ground. Second, the shuttle didn’t come to my knowledge. I waited until 9:05, 10 minutes after its alleged arrival time, and then set off walking through the freezing wind and along slick sidewalks to Clark. Even at my slow, cautious pace, I traveled faster than many of the cars on the road. Traffic was completely awful, possibly because as snow hit the road it melted and quickly refroze as ice. Lots of backups and minor accidents, even on Park Ave.
As I mentioned, the day has been positively horrendous. So when I arrived at Clark I hastened into the Science building in time to see Prof. Brenner, a nuclear chemist who taught the first semester of our Intro Chem last year, hurrying OUT in just jeans and a flannel shirt. I’m not knocking flannel shirts, but honestly: the wind cut through my two layers of pants as if I had no pants at all. It moved fast and cold, swirling the dry snow up into fantastic shapes that dissolved back into tiny drifts as the wind died down. Beautiful, but bitterly cold. Anyway, Prof Brenner went out and came back, bringing with him a gust of freezing wind, but bearing triumphantly a cup of Bistro coffee.
That made me wonder: how much is a cup of coffee worth? Jess and I trooped all over Park Ave in (happily a successful) search for good coffee, under similar but less icy conditions. Tiffany can hardly stand the coffee they serve at RISD and dreams of introducing “real” coffee-making skills to a small coffeeshop thereabouts. Nearly everybody from the West Coast who lives out here acts as if New England is a desert of terrible coffee with small oaises like the Starbucks here. Of course Easterners think Dunkin Doughnuts coffee is “gourmet,” and that amuses even me. Something about the idea of actual good coffee coming from somewhere other than Tully’s or Starbucks or even SBC (?) – particularly from a place that specializes in mediocre doughnuts. Not being a coffee-drinker, however, I’m not really sure what a cup of coffee is worth. People spend thousands of dollars at home on gourmet coffees shade-grown by well paid (alright that’s questionable) farmers in Brazil; will wait in the longest lines ever in coffee shops just to get their drink; will put up with all sorts of outrageous conditions just for a drink. Is it worth it? To coffee drinkers, apparently. I personally cannot understand the compulsion.
I’m feeling rather sad all of a sudden: it struck me that Jess is actually leaving tomorrow at 1:00 and I’m wasting nearly the entire morning going to class! Usually on Wednesdays I get back to WPI at 1:00 and that’s just when she leaves. All because I have that one lame math class in the morning, my last precious hours with Jess here will be squandered! This visit has been full of ups and downs for me; I did spend the whole time worrying that I wasn’t doing the “right” thing, but on the other hand I think it strengthened our friendship. Being in person, even if we’re not doing anything special, is so far superior to even talking on the phone. I forget that, having the phone as the most personal link to everybody at home. Yet having a honest heart to heart while in the presence of your friend is an unduplicatable, absolutely priceless experience (for everything else, there’s MasterCard). I wish we could spend more quality time together like this, but I also know that this has been very hard on Jess, the suddenly being thrown into a Social Situation from seeing few people and spending most time alone in her room. What I’ve really fretted most about, really, is that going home she will regret having come: I can’t even say how glad I amshe was willing to fly out for this less than a week.
Now, sadly, I have to bury my head in architecture books such as The Master Builders, Architecture: 19th and 20th Centuries, and The Details of Modern Architecture.
– KF –