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MIT student blogger Vincent A. '17

An Evening With Pizza, Constipation and Hell-Sucked Villains by Vincent A. '17

Written in the style of TWoP’s recappers, to mourn the website’s closing. Weird things may or may not happen.

I’m fast asleep, probably snoring lightly and elegantly. My body’s shut down. Why, you ask? Why, you really ask? Why not? I’ve just had all my rights violated by the Massassassachisetts Institvte of Technology and the Arts, passing through a 3-midterm, 1-pset, 1-mini-paper week. It’s finally the weekend—a four-day weekend at that—but MIT has another thing coming if it thinks giving me four days off will be sufficient bribe to calm my fiery sense of injustice.
So I’m probably just having some meandering, semi-psychopathic dream that will no doubt trudge its way into the dreary stew of words I’ll call a story when my alarm goes off. The stupid thing begins blaring and blaring and oh please shut up! Anyway, I manage to rise and after mumbling a couple of sleepy words no doubt filled with infinite wisdom, I realize that it’s nearly five p.m.

I mumble an expletive I can’t use on this blog, because cats read it or something and they lose a life for each such word. I’m supposed to meet up with my advisor. It’s Saturday, and he has a nice outing planned. It’s one of those things where MIT tries to compensate for beating the crap out of everyone by offering nice dinners, and I was actually looking forward to eating something that couldn’t crawl out of my plate or didn’t seem to be having heart palpitations (yes, this is a not-even-slightly-veiled reference to the varied assortments of muck and dredge Maseeh Dining serves).

Cue to me walking down Mass Ave, where Boston’s accursed weather is actually kind of nice for once. Maybe too nice. I’m suspicious, but I can wear a T-Shirt and that’s fine. I’m supposed to meet up my advisor, Saif Rayyan, in his car, with his wife and some of my classmates from Concourse. After a few minutes of texting and jaywalking and all manner of things that form the basis of Youtube ads, I finally lumber past the lumbering Stata Center (and can we please just talk about Stata! It’s like concrete someone chewed, swallowed and regurgitated. What gives?!). And there he is! I tumble into the backseat of his car, where my friend and classmate Ava waves ever so nicely at me. You rock, Ava. Saif’s wife is in the front seat beside him.

Next comes the question of where to eat. My brain is still mostly fried from sleep so I suggest somewhere in MIT. We also debate other places, like Legal Seafood, which is just a fancy place you willingly let steal your money. But when my advisor calls, we find that it’s been fully booked, and that the restaurant is unable to steal from us at this time.

Thus, we head to Woody’s instead, a nice, picturesque (yes, that is a pretentious word, stop judging me!) restaurant a walk away from the Boston University Theatre, where my advisor has bought play tickets for us. But to get to Woody’s, we have to go through All That Is Wrong With Earth And Life that is the Boston traffic. This at least allows for decent chatter, where we talk about exams and home and the meaning of life.

In Woody’s, we need to decide what to eat. After much deliberation, we settle on the sole hallmark and signifier of America’s achievements—the Pizza. We add all sorts of things to it—mushrooms and onions and pineapples and a few things that should be made mandatory at every meal. I show initial concern about how much to get, but my advisor does his marvelous job and advises me to let MIT have it! It’s on them after all. And so I descend into a travesty of near-gluttonous abandon, ordering all the things.

This evening, crimes against the stomach are at an all time high, starring such villains as—
***3 20 oz. glasses of orange juice

***six or seven or nine slices of pizza; after a while, you lose track and the world around you just glows with the pepperoni hue of pizza-induced hallucinations

***crème brulee! Because why not? Though it came riddled with a bunch of fruits I could have done without.

And before your glaring eyes furl up in mortified consternation and all such politically correct reactions, you should realize that I spent the past several hours, from before eating to the previous evening mostly sleeping, and had pretty much eaten nothing since then. That said, by the time I was done, my stomach had swelled to epic proportions, and I sat there feeling like I’d eaten a couple of Santa Clauses. Hee. But mostly eww. But mostly hee. Wut?

Anyway, with everyone else done eating as well, we rise as one and head to the Boston University Theatre. The weather is still nice, and nope, I’m still not buying it. Something’s up. At the Theatre, we meet one more Concourse student, and Saif’s wife retreats somewhere backstage. She’s a classical pianist and will be one of many contributing to the opera’s beautiful music.

The opera by the way is titled Don Giovanni, and after the execrable atrocity that was Paranormal Activity (how did that drivel get so many sequels), I’m confident that this will be much better. I struggle through a bunch of people all standing around and talking, and walk into the dimly lit theater where I take my seat. My advisor is two seats away and he seems happy. I remember some stories his wife told us of him falling asleep in some of the past operas and giggle. Hee.

Soon enough, the curtains rise and we begin with a dramatic flashing of lights, red and blue and orange against a heavy musical backdrop of swelling piano notes and grand trumpeting. Pretty quickly into the opera, there’s a murder. Some random old dude is stabbed. He sings and moans and sings as fake blood squirts out, and I know I’m gonna enjoy this.

It’s a three-hour opera though, three hours, and I’ll be honest. I had a few issues with the pacing of the story, but the songs were really enjoyable, the actors extremely talented and a lot of lines pretty funny. Don Giovanni is one heck of a Lady Magnet, maybe too much, and that’s pretty adorable. When he’s not, you know, running from girl to girl or proposing to a woman with her fiancé just barely out of earshot. He’s a jerk, and that’s the point. A funny, lovable jerk in his own right, but a jerk nonetheless. And you can tell something’s gonna happen, retribution-wise. He’ll get beaten to death or stomped on or stabbed or shot or—are you kidding me? That’s how you decide to do it? Large sounds and flames and him falling backwards and a crack of hell and well, okay, this was a fun show so I’ll accept.

After a pretty enjoyable time, the opera is over, and the curtain falls. We get to clap hard for all the actors and actresses, and I see something pretty interesting. I see Saif, my physics teacher and advisor, cheer for the actors, which is fine, but he’s really cheering, with great energy and stuff, along the lines of: “Wuuuuuuuu! Yeaaah! Wuuuu! Wuuu! Wuu! Wuuuuuuu! Wuuuuuuuuuuuuu! WUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!

It’s really nice to see and I’m having laughing fits all over the place, as we leave the Theatre and stumble out into—

The outside! And aha! I knew there was something most foul (I just watched an opera! I get to say things like “most foul”) about the weather’s niceness. It was a trap. Now, it’s pretty cold and I’m shivering like a Course 18 about to see their HASS grade. (P.S. I’ve actually seen a Course 18 see his grade for a HASS class. It would seem they don’t shiver so much as bite their lips all serious-like and mumble a good number of “Hmms”).

Saif drives us back to our respective dorms and we bid him adieu.

So all in all, it was a pretty nice day, and I’m willing to concede that MIT does a nice job of trying to connect students and faculty whenever possible. I hear you all screaming cop-out, but I’m typing this post on the heels of a fugue-like, barely conscious state (psets, programming, enough error messages from Python to scar me for several lifetimes, don’t ask) so I’ll just tell you to deal with it.

And after things like the evening with my advisor, the doorway to sappy sentimentality opens up. A bunch of thoughts flash through my head. Exams and psets and friends and complaining. And I realize that yup, I absolutely love this place.

See you guys on the other side. Other side of what, you ask? Good question.