Saturday, March 29, 2008

Reflections on Spring Break

And so, even though there be a few days left before classes start, I would say these indeed be the twilight hours of Spring Break. The carefree attitude has worn off, replaced by cold, bitter reality that there is no significant break period betwixt now and when finals begin. People are coming back to the residence halls like salmon to spawn (sans actual spawning). And all those memories of saying “I can’t wait until Spring Break,” are but an echo, followed ever so closely by the new student mantra, “I can’t wait until Summer.”

I find myself actually somewhat...resentful when I see people come back in. It's almost like they're invaders to my space. During the break, it was not uncommon to have as few as 10 people occupying an entire building. For those that were there (by which I mean me, as I can't really speak for anyone else), we felt privileged. As if, it was no longer this room which belongs to me, but this entire hallway. You could leave your door open when changing, you could have your music up a bit louder than normal, you're basically free to do as you please.

In a way, I really see Spring Break differently than most people. When I said I was staying the whole time, they would respond with, "Man, you're so unlucky," or "That sucks," or "You're going to get sooo bored around here."

But really, it was the opposite. I enjoyed this Spring Break quite a bit. It was like living in a huge clubhouse, with a very exclusive clientèle. You see, for about 80% of there break, there were - for all intents and purposes - three RAs still in the halls, including myself. There would be another coming and going for duty's sake, but they wouldn't really be considered a mainstay.

Well, we three RAs, we were our own little super-secret-handshake club (except, with no super-secret-handshake). We went shopping together, we went to lunch together, we went to dinner together, we went on rounds together, and we just hung out together. A lot.

You see, at any point in time, one or two of us was on duty, and so we had to carry pagers and be ready to respond to anything at a moments notice. Which normally means we cannot leave the Unit. However, we decided pretty early on that nothing happens. Ever! Proof? Look at the actual text of my day duty report for one of my days (on day duty, your only responsibility is responding to pages):
There once was a man from Nantucket.
Absolutely nothing happened today. Ucket.
And it's true! Nothing did happen. It's like I always say: "When there are no people, there are no problems." So, we were admittedly quite generous with the one-hour time gaps provided for meals. It's somewhat of a tree-falling-in-the-woods argument; if nobody's here, do they care if we took an extra hour or so?

Of course, had anything happened, we would have had to get back within a reasonable time. That's why, when we met up with an associate who had a car, we were home-free! We first had lunch (my first time eating dim sum), and then drove to a (2.3 miles away) to do some shopping, and then to Fenton's Creamery (an additional 0.3 miles) a place with exorbitant ice cream prices (I didn't eat any). And had we ever gotten a page for a lockout, we could have driven back within 10 minutes, easily within our 30-minute window of response.

And so we kept on doing these kinds of trips. We ate dinner at new places (I introduced the other two to La Cascada, my favorite taqueria in Berkeley) and just had a good time overall.

I even went one step further. I wanted to have a get-together for all the people who were staying (I didn't know it would be so few), and so I bought a big fruit platter and a couple bottles of sparkling cider, and swiped a box of unused cookies from our staff office (which we didn't use), and we just met up for a mini-party on Wednesday. We toasted to our good fortune, health, wealth, etc, as well as my personal toast,
"To us, who show that fun is not about where you spend your Spring Break, but who you spend it with."
Since the party was in my room, I showed off all my secrets (more on this at a later time). I lent them both a copy of my book, and we asked the security monitors if we could delay their breaks a half-hour so that we could have more time to enjoy ourselves before having to work.

Even after that was done, the night still wasn't over. I spoke with one of my two companions for near-on 4 hours, from 1am to 5am. It's kinda funny; before this week, I had almost never spoken with him (and he admitted that he used to actually be scared of me). And yet, here we were, spilling out our souls like some sort of mutual hara-kiri. And we were basically drunk. We hadn't touched a drop of alcohol, but I think the slight drowsiness that comes with staying up that late makes one a bit less inhibited, as well as a bit more slurred. Whatever the case, it was a long, good talk.

It actually made me almost miss having a roommate, if only for our "lights-out conversations."

Unfortunately, our little triage had to disband the next day, as they were both heading out for the weekend. And though other people came in to replace them for their RA duties, they couldn't replace them as members of the clubhouse.

So that's Spring Break from the human perspective (a definite twist for me, I know). Here's some other niceties about the time:
-The weather was, for the most part, gorgeous!
-Because of said gorgeous weather, I actually went tanning for the first time in years. (Admittedly, it was only one day for less than an hour, but still!!!)
-I was able to complete a story for my Star Wars class (though, you already knew that).
-I was also able to finish an essay that's due in two weeks. I much prefer this to pulling all-nighters for essays.
-I was able to be here to witness the beauty of the dozen cherry blossom-like trees of Unit 2. As far as I know, no other residence hall at Berkeley has trees like this, and compared to the usual fare we see most of the year, it's quite breathtaking. Here are some camera phone pictures:
Because of their petal-falling penchant, I enjoyed calling them "snow trees."

But alas, it's all over. The clubhouse is closed. In it's place, the residence halls are opening again. C'est la vie. But at least when somebody says, "Wow, it sucks that you had to stay here over Spring Break," I can just smile, knowing what they missed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, now that's great start to a normal college social life! just a couple of years late.

Damn-It-Owen! if you were thinking letting me due some more work, you should've just asked me to, instead of letting me read it in a blog. You know I don't read these all the time!