Imagine that on a warm, bright day in whatever month they usually do this sort of thing, the United States Congress tables all other bills and pushes through, unanimously, one that prevents all legal residents of non-contiguous states (that is: Alaskans, Hawaiians) from being anywhere within the contiguous 48 for the entire month of, oh, let’s say September.
Let me tell you: I commiserate with our hypothetically misbegotten Alaskans and Hawaiians. In fact, I’ve never felt so close to a hypothetical group of people in my life. I can’t stop thinking about them. I blush to admit this: I have fallen in love with a nice, hypothetical Alaskan girl, to whom I write gushing, hypothetical letters and send large, hypothetical fruit-baskets—though she’s yet to send me any hypothetical replies. This leaves me hypothetically depressed.
The reason I love these people so much is that I see in their plight a little bit of myself. I live in the Quad, and so the new community dinner night—all Thursday, every Thursday—is, more or less, a rocket-powered slap in the face to all those who would deign participate in weekly extracurriculars down by the Charles.
And what are their reasons? They tell us it’s meant to cut down on confusion, which is preposterous, because it assumes that under the old system the following scenario played out on a fairly regular basis:
I walk into Adams House. I try to swipe in. They turn me away. So bemused am I that I barely manage to wend my way out of the House, back into the street. On the street, I immediately trip. I spend 20 minutes trying to retie my shoelaces, before realizing that my shoes are Velcroed. This is too much. I abandon my shoes. After banging my head against a brick wall to help gather my thoughts, I realize there is nowhere for me to go. I shall go hungry tonight.
They tell us, too, that it’s meant to “build a sense of community.” But what if I don’t like my community? What if I have vaguely hashed out reservations about the whole grander concept of “community” itself? What if I was left scarred by a particularly rough stint in a biodynamically-minded commune when I was but a tender youth, and consequently begin to heavy-breathe when anyone so much as mentions the c-word?
What if my House just smells weird?
All in all, it’s a terrible idea, and you have to hope it’s going to change. But until that glorious day, when the gleaming doors of dining halls everywhere are thrust open to the hordes of huddled Quadlings, when we realize that even those who live on the outskirts of society must eat to survive—well, until then you’ll find me on the corner of Plympton and Bow, biding my time til 7 p.m., clutching my gurgling gut and repeating to passersby that timeless mantra of the Quadling: “I ain’t hungry. Who, me? No siree!”