Friday, March 31, 2006

The Suitcase Incident

My friends’ freshman dorm room looked like a tornado stormed through, spitting up not only clothes and shoes, but a TV, microwave, toaster oven, and even a suicidal fish (excavated days later). If the National Weather Service had to publish a report on the conditions of 640 O’Shag, they would probably refer to weather systems as Tornado Katie.

I’d never met anyone with more bathing suits, tube tops, halter tops, colorful preppy pants, and in general, random crap than Katie. She had a serious online shopping habit that was with fueled her mom’s credit card number, which she had memorized. So when Katie was packing her suitcase for a weekend in Texas, I wasn’t surprised by the size, it was as large as the suitcase I would eventually I take for a semester in Italy. The size the salesman said was for a family and was too big for me.

Katie arrived in time for the 6th floor of O’Shag’s Sunday night procrastination ritual, and we had packed ourselves on the futon between Katie and Sable’s lofts for the Texas trip details.

Although, Katie had gone to see a pseudo-boyfriend, I couldn’t help, but ask, “How much of that stuff did you actually use?”

“I needed options!”

“Like three purses? Did you actually wear all those shoes?”


“I bet I could fit in that suitcase!”

I did. And Katie zipped me up.

“Leave a little room for air,” said Jackie with a laugh. At lease I thought it was Jackie, but I had become a little disoriented, not being able to see what was going on around me, and yet a new-found confidence had surfaced.

Next thing I know Katie is wheeling me down the hall, howling with laughter as I wave to my hallmates. And she parked me in front of RA Steph’s door.

“Hey! Check this out Steph!”

“Hiii!” I said with a wave. I always enjoyed her reaction to our crazy antics, she obviously enjoyed them while telling us we were idiots, which made me feel pretty cool.

“Oh my god! What are you guys doing? Who’s in there?” she said.

“It’s Bridget!”

Being a practical jokester Katie thought we should mess with the 5th floor boys, so about ten girls, RA Steph even joined in, followed the suitcase in the elevator. Katie parked me in front of Dan and Nate’s door and the girls hid around the corner trying to keep their composure, I would only hear stifled giggles as I knocked on the door. Of course, the buggers weren’t there.

I was feeling brave. I was concealed. “Put me in front of some random door!”

Next stop: study-lounge-turned-dorm-room.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

No answer.

I wasn’t going to take no for answer. I didn’t care if this guy was in the middle of beating his best score on his PS2, making out with his girlfriend, or wacking off, we were going to have a conversation. Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock.

“Uh?” that’s all he could manage to say to the waving hand from the big black suitcase.

“Oh hello!” I perked up, “How are you doing this fine evening?”

“OK. Do you need some help?”

“Oh no.”

“I’ll unzip you.” Abort. Abort. Ceasefire.

“NO! No, just go back inside. And shut the door.” I said. And when I didn’t hear him move. “Now!”

I wondered if he was cute and that if he hadn’t been making out and he was cute, would he have made out with me? I was being wheeled again.

“Heeeey RA Dan,” said the girls. I waved.

The butthead grabbed the suitcase from Katie (at least I think it was Katie) and wheeled me into the boys’ bathroom.

“AAAAAAAH! Get me out of here right now!”

“Let’s go into the shower.”

Getting into the shower stalls involved going over a painful bump. I could hear my friends’ laughter. Assholes. Then he parked me. I cringed, waiting for Dan to turn on the water. If he did I would have to find a way to unzip myself and run out of the bathroom barefoot. Oh the fungus! The athlete’s foot! And that was just the beginning, in a college dorm at Virginia Tech, remnants of virtually anything gross and disgusting could probably be found on the bathroom floor of a boys’ bathroom.
By the grace of the dorm gods, Dan either didn’t think of turning on the showers or he knew that if he did, Katie would drop kick his ass to Wednesday and he would have to watch his back for the rest of the year.

Then, we head to the lobby because everyone decided it would be really funny for someone to get on the elevator with me in the suitcase.

Cucooned inside the suitcase, inside the elevator on the first floor of O’Shag I was imagining my friends strategically positioned around the lobby pretending nothing was going on. Of course, who walks in, but Dan and Nate. When the elevator door opened, the suitcase fell over. Thud. Then a simultaneous gasp, squeal, ohmygod and as the elevator door closed, shrieks.

“Aw, fuck.” Luckily, I didn’t go anywhere.

Once I was rescued from going nowhere Katie unzipped me and expectantly looked at me as if I was suppose to get out. But it was Sunday night, I thought about the peeing, the puking, I had heard that went on in this very elevator very weekend.

“ Zip me back up. I’m not touching this elevator with bare feet!”


Crazy people, one of the staples of New York City, they are everywhere. Crazy New Yorkers, think cabbies with a death wish, homeless leading solo sticking-it-to-the-man protests, women walking miles in four-inch heels, men with tupees, but people never think of the man using the internet at the computer next to him or her viewing old lady porn. Such an innocent bystander may be trying to mind his or her own business, not ignoring, just not even noticing what the man is viewing, until he brings attention to himself, by coughing, mumbling or making other strange noises in response to the old lady porn. At first notice of the troubled soul, the IB might go into ignore mode until old-lady-porn-lover drops a Kleenex under her desk, which if he does, she continues ignoring the situation by averting her eyes from his Kleenex-fumbling near her legs to an inevitable first glance of crazy man’s computer displaying thumbnails of the old-lady-porn brings. Trying to quell my fears that this was not happening, that I was in fact hallucinating I took another glance and yes, that is an old lady seductively staring back at the mumbling stranger and me.

What to do in such a situation as this? I adjust my baseball cap to block the view, but he is still murmuring, coughing, enjoying. Has the librarian behind me noticed? At least not yet, or she has and doesn’t want to deal with it. And I can’t ask her.

With 32 minutes of internet time remaining at the 67th Street Branch of the New York Public Library, I click done, end now, and run, far, far away.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Diiiiiiiet Coke

Diet coke commercials have always been better the coke commericals-Cindy Crawford, that sexy worker guy. I clearly remember trying to hold the "diet" note as long as the guy playing the piano in a jazzy uber-90s-cool commercial. Yes, you know which one I'm talking about. Or, not. And I coudln't really tell you, I just remember singing diet till I lost my breath.

But these Diet Coke drinkers are in some kind of secret cult, so secret that some of us belong and don't even know it. Think about how you feel when the waiter says, "We have Pepsi, is that ok?" I am not even big soda drinker, but I always have to supress the urge to yell at the poor guy, "No! No, It is NOT ok. Give me my COKE!"

In 3rd grade I gave my Diet Coke-addict teacher a 6-pack (she didn't drink coffee) and holiday coaster as her Christmas present. It got my A's the rest of the year.

In several of my college marketing classes, professors and text books discussed how the Pepsi Challenge threatened Coke to develop the New Coke, which bombed despite marketing research that said it would blow Pepsi out of the water. The only catch was that Coke was already doing this.

Here's the deal: in blind taste tests, Pepsi was also favored over Coke, so Coke developed a formula that was as good as Pepsi's and replaced their old formula. As luck had it, people (this was in the 80s of course) protested this new formula, and Coke brought the less-tasty, but better selling formula back.

A nice little history lesson for why many of us are devasted when we enter a Pepsi institution. Myself included, who actually picked RC Cola (which I have never purchased) during a blind taste test in middle school.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Coffee While I Work

I have finally discovered a reason to get out of the windowless intern office to get up and walk around, the coffee machine. Yes, Questex, finally got one since moving offices over a month ago (on my birthday) and more importantly, I finally discovered that it existed yesterday. It’s been around since last week and I didn’t even know it! Best of all, it is from Flavia, the same liquid stimulant company that Bain had, which is really exciting because I like to play with the machine. The final product is not great, but it has caffeine and it is an excuse to recharge with a walkabout.