1. I was out on Killian Courtyard earlier, soaking up the fact that it's probably the nicest day thusfar this year. Killian is a massive green surrounded by the older buildings, the ones with famous scientists' names engraved up on their friezes. It leads up to a colonnaded entrance in front the great dome on Building 10, meant to echo the Pantheon. There was a picnic to celebrate the end of the year. There was free food, so everyone came, grabbed their turkey wrap and bag of chips and either scurried like rodents back to the lab or sprawled out in the sunshine.
I stayed and ate, and came back a bit later to study. Only I found myself unable to -- as soon as I sat down, I caught the sound of guys with guitars and cheap bongo drums playing songs about Jesus. If you've ever been around Southern Baptists, the sound is unmistakable. And really, the only thing worse than That One College Guy playing guitar on the green is more than one, and more than one playing earnestly. Even when I was a College Guy With A Guitar, I kept it inside.
2. So I rode the bus to New York on Thursday. On the Interstate I mostly listened to the iPod and stared out the window, my usual travel practice and the reason I will do anything to keep from having an aisle seat. The only car that passed by that I remember was a silver Lexus SUV -- the blonde teenage girl in the pink hoodie texting like mad while her mother drove the Lexus. The chilling distance was clear in the next lane over. And I thought, "Well, if that doesn't say 'Connecticut,' I don't know what does."
3. This was actually the first time I had really, truly been to New York. I think we had a layover at JFK when I was a kid. I've made a habit of flying Continental, whose hub is in Newark, from which one can see the New York skyline. But never been. It had always existed in my imagination and in bad TV. As we came over the Manhattan Bridge shortly after sunset and all the lights of the city shone, I felt an steady feeling of nothing but pride for Western Civilization. If our industrial splendor destroys the environment, I thought in that moment, it'll have been worth it.
4. I am become an East Coaster. I'm not sure how to feel about this. After a decade or more of only rarely leaving the "flyover states," I realized I have quickly become one of those people who lives out here and works out here and gives little regard for where I was before. Though I've always wanted to become some version of what I see in myself now, it's still a bit...unsettling that it just happened, and that's it.