In the heat of the “March Madness”–that is, what I call the abnormal, global warming-inspired, upper-70′s wave of confusion that has hit campus, we attempt to do nothing (and what we consider “nothing” is actually something: we participate in the inevitable rigorous activity that we call day-drinking and playing music outside. Until the depression that hit this morning, SLU has been blessed with seven days of spring fever. Amidst that fever writers like ourselves find not only repose (because we strategically use the weather as our vice against entering doors to Richardson on a Thursday after 12 PM) but we also find a respite of exhilaration that results in our art.
Having enrolled in Paul Graham’s “Cooking the Books” SYE this semester, I witness myself reflecting on my quirky habits intrinsic to my familial and cultural background, on which I would otherwise, probably, not even remotely try to consider. In a rambunctious American lifestyle I have going on here, little do I want to take a second look at it to really ask myself the meaning of it. (Nor would I further investigate how food, itself, intertwines with my lifestyle and, thus, the purpose of it in the confusion that I call my daily routine.) BUT… so we have it: Paul has encouraged/borderline demanded that his students take the said second look at the way food sneaks itself into our lives, and more specifically, into our culture, and finally try to make something of it down on paper.
After a brooding winter in which I have popped more melatonin into my system than the cumulative amount throughout my 21 years, I have been more affected by the spring than usual. Both the sedating (intoxicating-ly sedating) and euphoric sensation of the glowing sun’s rays bouncing off your pale-as-hell, glowing-in-the-dark skin evoke aesthetically inspired ideas, and interestingly convert themselves into a decent grade. It’s charming how after four months of hibernating in our stuffy dorms and townhouses we feel the slightest temptation of the sun from a minute or two of exposing ourselves to outdoor light. And from here, we witness a gleam of hysteria, as people don’t know how to handle this change of pace– we begin to hear echos of massive sound systems reflecting off the buildings on campus as students open their windows and/or take their drinking outdoors. What’s most significant about this, I think, is the contagious element of this new-found “harmony;” the moment we hear the intimations of music bursting through the windows of Dean Eaton as we pass by them, we, too, want to set aside our rigorous personal agendas and embark in the bliss of bronzing ourselves under the sun with a cold one in our hands.
And here is the result: the “madness” of the “march” has concluded for a (hopefully) brief period of time, and we find ourselves in 40-degree weather today. We ask one another what to do about this unfortunate situation, as if we had not expected this spring weather to dramatically fluctuate like it does every year; and so we have it: time to reflect. As the rising temperatures have quit rising, but rather have considerably dropped, we can redirect our duties of playing in the sun elsewhere, and make something of our experiences this week. Not only can some of us perhaps try to graduate in the next few weeks to come before the sun comes out again, but we can also look further back into our lives to write down something meaningful. Since I do not resent working indoors now, due to the absence of the sun, my mind can center itself around the link between food and culture, which I progressively find more interesting each time I write about it…because I am not only thinking about laying my body under the steaming, glorious sun.