At the end of my last entry, I was sitting in the Tampa airport waiting to board my flight to Philly. The flight was uneventful, and I landed in Philly around 10PM.
After getting my luggage, I took the shuttle to Budget where my rental car was supposed to be waiting for me. I’d reserved a low-profile Taurus or somesuch. After hitting it off with the Budget guy, he remarked “the car you reserved isn’t ready at the moment, but I’m going to hook you up with something better for the same price. You’re in spot A-12.”
Okay, I thought. A midsize instead of a compact? Great, whatever.
Then I reached spot A-12.
Sitting in said spot was a brand new, gleaming silver Ford Mustang GT, which I was getting for the price of a subcompact.
I opened the door and was flooded with “new car smell.” Delicious. I got in, turned the key, and heard that throaty roar that makes the Mustang V6 famous. Bliss.
And then I thought about all of the places I’d be traveling in the next five days, some of them not the most car-friendly spots in the world. And I’d be leaving this car for hours at a time on busy city streets, where dings and scratches are practically inevitable. And truth be told, somehow I just don’t trust myself with a ~$40,000 automotive masterpiece.
“It’s not you; it’s me,” I said to the car. “This just isn’t going to work out.” I think she understood.
I turned the car off, shed a tear, and headed back into Budget. I can hear all of you collectively booing me. It’s okay, I deserve it. My 5-year-old Pontiac Grand Am and I are feeling more secure on the streets of PA and NJ, however. And the story isn’t over – the Mustang GT and I will meet again someday. When I’m a little older. ;-)
My mom lives in Philly so I’m staying with her to save MIT some money (and sleep in my old bed). I got to her house around midnight and she’d made dinner for me – aren’t moms awesome?
Sunday night was the Philly central meeting. I had dinner with two of the Philly EC’s, Mark and Steve, at a nice mexican place close to Germantown Academy (where the meeting was taking place).
We were in Germantown’s Arts Center theater, and thank heaven we were, because 500+ people showed up. The theater holds 514, and there were an additional 65 folding chairs there, and still I could barely find an empty seat. The EC’s were enormously helpful (we had six in total) and I think that generally folks had a good time at the presentation.
My mom came to see her kid in action and really enjoyed herself. She gave me some good feedback on my presentation – two things to be exact. I’ll clarify them here in case any of you Philly folks are reading this.
1) When I’m talking about MIT athletics and I show the pic of the cheerleaders, I say something like “MIT cheerleaders are beautiful and smart.” My mom thinks that this makes me sound like a dirty old man. For the record, I include this in my presentation because I am still annoyed by the CC thread from last year in which someone said that MIT cheerleaders must be unattractive because MIT students are smart, and that smart and beautiful are mutually exclusive. Grrrr. I denounce that statement every chance I get, and that’s why I bring it up during central meetings – not because I am a dirty old man.
2) At the end when I talk about the advancement of women in science and engineering fields being a big priority for MIT, and then talk about Susan Hockfield embracing this, my mom thinks it could be misinterpreted – that people might think that I’m saying Susan Hockfield was chosen foremost because she is a woman. No no no no no no no no! I wholeheartedly apologize to anyone who misunderstood me. To clarify, the point I was trying to make is that Susan Hockfield was the best candidate by a landslide, and the fact that she also happens to be a woman reinforces the fact that women overwhelmingly belong in science and engineering fields as much as their male counterparts do. The world simply needs to do more to encourage them at a younger age. And what better place for that movement to start than at MIT, under the direction of Susan Hockfield.
The reason that I feel compelled to address this issue at my info sessions should be obvious, but in case it’s not: (1) MIT has a history of being male-dominated, and though this has changed in the last couple of decades (class of ’09 is 47% women), the negative stereotype persists, and (2) frankly, women are (in general) not encouraged from an early age to dream of places like MIT in the same ways that men are, and I think that is criminal.
So hopefully I’ve cleared those two things up a bit. (Thanks mom for the feedback!)
Woke up early this morning and had three great school visits in Philly today. More on those in the next entry – I think this one is long enough. :-)