Every Friday, the dining hall puts out grapes at exactly 7 a.m. You have to understand that we usually only see apples, oranges, and bananas, so getting a glimpse of grapes on Friday morning at 7 a.m. is sort of thrilling. What can I say, I get my thrills however I can, and it doesn’t take much.
Of course, as with anything in life worth obtaining, there’s a strategy for eating the grapes.
- Go to breakfast by 7:30 a.m.
- Grab a large bowl.
- Fill the bowl with grapes.
By 8 a.m., all the grapes are gone. The poor shmucks who wake up past 8 don’t even know that the grapes were ever there. Ideally, the dining hall would put out enough grapes for everyone to fight this tragedy of the commons.
Or, the dining hall would ration out grapes, 1970s style.
Either way, I’m not bothered. I have a full ziploc bag of grapes on my desk for the drive to New York tonight for our race at RPI.
The point is, my view toward many issues when it comes to “fairness,” “rationing,” or resolving a tragedy of commons–holding opportunity constant–is one of, “If you want grapes, get up at 7.”
Think about it.
In a lot of ways, spring break was a big platter of grapes. When Andrey asked me how my spring break was, I replied that it was the most incredible spring break I’d ever had. He asked why. Well, two reasons.
- It actually felt like spring.
- I actually took a break.
“It doesn’t take much to satisfy you, does it?”
Like I said, I get my thrills however I can, and it doesn’t take much.
I woke up at 7 a.m. and got my big bowl of grapes.
I fixed things that were broken and ran other Friday errands.
Anna drove us to New York. I got to know Chewie over cold pizza in a dark minivan. Eileen got smacked several times while I slept.
Amanda arrived for her first race of the season in the morning. She finished with the pack. I raced dumbly and did not.
I got angry and decided not to race dumbly.
In the afternoon, I won my category. Then I crashed. In that order.
Monica and her friends came to watch, which was great. Harvard must have had the largest cheering squad out there. They were positioned perfectly around the course so every time I thought, “dude this freaking hurts and sucks,” I’d hear Eileen or Amanda or Monica or Ian or… So of course I felt like a DANG lucky goose.
I must have had the most vocal and obnoxious finish out of any of the racers that day. Well whatever, I was happy, and when I’m happy, I get expressive. Even after I crashed literally on my face, and the paramedics poked and worried and asked questions and rubbed off my blood and asked me to walk in a straight line on one leg backwards as I recited the Cyrillic alphabet, I was GRINNING. Even as my teammates walked me back to the van with a cockeyed look, convinced I’d had a concussion (I hadn’t), I was GRINNING.
Then I waited 11 hours while Amanda got her hair highlighted and treated and cut and [verb]’ed. Sana called. I called Holly. I ate a banana. It took forever. We dinnered with her buddies and then drove to spend the night in Jersey.
We picked up a girl named Jill that night, too. She looks remarkably like Amanda. More on her later.
Diner’ed. Brunch’ed. Tir’ed.
Amanda, Jill, and I set out, two bikes in tow, optimistic that we’d get to D.C. in four hours and maybe have time for a ride. NOTHING could go wrong. We had a GPS. We had an iPhone. We had Jill, who claimed she was from D.C. and knew exactly how to get us home.
At one point, the GPS told us to turn.
“VETO!!!!!!” said Jill. What with her confidence and D.C.-ness and blond-hair blue-eyed-ness, we HAD to trust her. Gaywardly forward we went.
Well, she was wrong. She wasn’t “slightly” wrong and we didn’t make a “small detour.” Jill flat-out took us the wrong way.
I mean, this is the route we were supposed to take.
This is the route we actually took.
Jill pointed out that at least I could say I went to the beach for spring break. We tied Jill to the top of the car for taking us the wrong way. Then I, me, the Texan, the only non-D.C.-ite, navigated us to D.C.
So there we were, Amanda in the driver’s seat, me as navigator, Jill strapped to the car roof, hanging on for DEAR LIFE. We trucked through the backwoods of Jersey, or Pennsyltucky, or who knows which state. We passed things that one passes in the backwoods of Jersey, Pennsyltucky, and who knows which state.
We rolled into D.C. several hours after our original ETA. After Amanda re-helmeted, re-fed, and re-watered me, the awesome folks at Conte’s fixed my crash-scuffed bike.
D.C. is sort of awesome. We met Amanda’s friends. We met my friend, the other Amanda, who does amazing work with Teach for America. She pointed out that it was unacceptable for me to have another Amanda in my life. What am I supposed to do??! Blame Jill.
I explored for hours on my bike. Explored for hours on foot. My only rules were:
- Keep going.
- Never ask for directions.
I made friends with a squirrel.
I made friends with humans, too–the first was Carlos, the Columbian World-Traveling Mountain-Biking Martial Artist.
“What’s the point of a beautiful yard if you can’t even walk in it without getting ogled by Asian tourists?”
The next day, I ran into Henry, the Unicycling Computer-Genius Actor. He taught me how to unicycle. I fell a lot.
The day after that, I ran into Eric, the Engineering Consultant Small-House and Antique-Books Expert. We went to Kramer’s because everyone and their husband (I guess just Emily and Paul) had recommended it.
And, of course, Amanda and I rode a lot. Amanda wore her usual accoutrement of three balaclavas, layered one on top of the other, with thick lobster gloves and several fleece jackets. I wore my usual accoutrement of “not much, dude don’t worry, I’ll warm up as I ride, stop looking at me like that!!!”
We ate lots of burritos. We drank smoothies. We cooked pasta.
And then we drove up to Philly. Since Jill was still on probation, we locked her in the boot this time. Oh wait, Americans say “trunk.” Well, we locked her in the trunk. She escaped. I hear she returned to Amanda in the form of a blue orchid.
Chris and Rika almost killed us in Philly traffic as Byron mediated. Besides that, they were incredible, selfless teammates that weekend, and I love them both… even if they do bicker like hens. As per usual, to express my love, I whacked Rika during my sleep.
We finished our bowl of grapes. Our grapes of wrath. Race wrath.