Meh. My last, like, three or four ideas for entries have not quite panned out. Oops. However, I am finally going to write this entry, which I intended to write a week ago, between now and the party tonight!
I don’t remember if I have ever told this story here before. If so, it was long enough ago that few of you were reading my blog.
A little bit of context: Last weekend I walked out to an apartment in Cambridgeport for the party of Peeto ’01 and his lovely fiancee Meaghan. He’s one of our zanier alums, and that’s from a hall that has a lot of them. I hear, in the stories told by people who were around back then (including him) that when he showed up on campus as a freshman, he was very different. Clean-cut Pete ’01, who lived in New House. According to him, they were nice people, but he didn’t have much in common with them. Then he got a little crazier, started calling himself Peeto de la Noche, and moved to 5th East, into the smallest room in East Campus.
There were three different parties going on that night, and the other two were a lot closer, but I didn’t want to miss the chance to go say hello to Peeto. You see, Peeto is probably the reason that I ended up on 5th East, which has changed my life in all sorts of profound ways.
When I was a new frosh, I was temped on 1st East with Crystle ’07. I seriously considered transferring to Random Hall, but in the end decided to stay at EC. Then came hall rush. We had decided we wanted to stay roommates, and our top choice halls were 3rd East and 1st East. 5th East was, I think, 9th on our pre-hall rush list. But we wanted to do hall rush the way it was supposed to be done, not to mention get to know the halls of our new dorm, so we decided to visit each hall. We went through them in an orderly progression – 1st through 5th West, then 1st through 5th East.
When we got up to 5th East, we started walking nervously through the dark hallway. We had entered from the Walcott side, which is not where people tend to concentrate, so we didn’t see anyone at first. Right before we got to where Walcott changes into Bemis, we came upon a short, stocky young man with a black tank top, long pretty blond hair (I’ve always thought Peeto looked slightly like Legolas from the Lord of the Rings movies, with the long blond hair and elvishly-shaped face, only much shorter and more muscular. Elf meets wrestler meets punk rocker), and a big grin.
He started chatting with us. I remember that we talked about musical tastes. He had already said that he played in a band and was a big punk rock fan, so Crystle was afraid that he would think she was a “poser” because she liked Weezer. “No, I love Weezer!” he exclaimed, and they started talking about their favorite songs. He talked about a few of his experiences on 5th East. We talked about how we’d enjoyed Dorm Rush and the other halls, and he gave us some “practical” advice about life at MIT, only one tidbit of which I remember clearly. “If a guy offers to install Athena on your computer, he’s hitting on you. If he offers to install Debian on your computer, he’s really hitting on you!”
Then Beth ’05, who is awesome, joined us in the hallway. “Wow,” we thought. “We misjudged this hall! It has the coolest people!” Of all our visits to the different halls during hall rush, 5th East is the only one where I remember more than about a one minute segment, nearly two and a half years later. We still weren’t sure about living on a “smoking” hall (this turned out to be not nearly as big a problem as we’d expected), but we moved 5th East up from 9th to 5th in our rankings. It was the only hall that moved more than two spots in either direction from where we’d originally put it.
Now, these days, we’re popular, and no way would anyone who put us 5th get us. But back then, we were not popular, and nobody put the hall higher than 4th. And there were tons of empty rooms that needed to be filled. So that’s where we ended up. They wanted us, and it turned out to be the right place for both of us. But if it weren’t for our encounter with Peeto, I doubt we’d have gotten it, because we would have put it so far down that there’d be no way we’d have been put there. And my life would have been very, very different. I’m glad that it turned out the way it did.
I like some of the older people, the ones who went here years ago, because they have really interesting perspective, or they’re very supportive, or they accomplished huge things in the activities that have become my hobbies, or they’re just nice people. Or something else. Or some combination of the above. I like Peeto because (in addition to being nice) he’s wild and crazy and spontaneous and unexpected and doesn’t hesitate to say “Screw you” and laugh at people when they’re being ridiculous and is in general a breath of fresh air.
I wonder if he’ll show up at the party tonight and try to ride my unicycle down the hallway. I always put it out at parties, and like many, many, other people, he’s never gotten beyond the “Crash promptly into the wall” stage of proficiency, which is one step beyond the also-popular “Fall off before getting on properly” stage. :)
I hope you guys enjoyed my story. Next one will (I hope) have pictures! Cute pictures! Stay tuned…