As friends of the Foreign Devil may know, I've been feeling under the weather these past few days—a bit of bronchitis or something like that. It's nothing serious, just coughing and lethargy, but they tell me I need plenty of rest. Now finals week is never the best time to need rest, especially when one spent one's reading week with very little reading, but readers of this blog need not despair that Yalies will fail to overcome a little problem like the need to study. Perhaps in an attempt to add sloth to the list of vices she coddles among her students, Yale has given us the venerable institution of the Study Break. Ice cream, Chinese food, Mexican food, Korean food, Indian food both Subcontinental and American—for the past few weeks campus has become a free buffet almost every night, for those who know where to look.
Last night, however, there were as far as we knew no study breaks on offer, but where Yale would not provide a way, we would make one. To be fair I can't say I had been studying—I had been seized after dinner with a sudden urge for some extracurricular reading and had wolfed down Decline and Fall. (In retrospect, Waugh was probably among the most dangerous authors I could have chosen to read.) By the time I finished, the Russian Peasant had been bothering me for some time about going on a study break; now she reminded me that I had bought myself some peace by promising to go when I had finished the book. And for that matter I was a bit hungry, so we went through the by now familiar ordeal of rousing Mr. Fang from whatever numerical business he was engaged in, and set off.
Before we had even left the depths of Bass Library, an epic spiritual drama had begun. At first I would have been happy to grab some dirty and dirt-cheap noodles at the place down the street, but after another proposal was made (perhaps by me, far more likely by Evelyn Waugh), we found ourselves as if inevitably on the way to Samurai, over our better judgment and the Russian Peasant's protestations at every step that "We are not going sake-bombing!"
And before you, O discerning and perhaps parental reader, pass judgment on this story, know that our conversation at Samurai was mainly on Mr. Fang's religious crisis and temptations by Evangelical Ice-Cream, on our good memories of the past, and on the terrifyingly fast onrush of a future in which we will no longer be freshmen. And of course a good time was had by all.
Not so much of a good time, however, that we did not return to our books in the depths of Bass. Mr. Fang returned to his calculations, I drafted a few philosophical notes, and the Russian Peasant assured all gathered that the Study Break would not—would definitely not—cause her to do badly on the final exam that she's taking just as this post goes online.
(photo credit: YDN)