I cannot overstate the dread I feel when faced with four weeks of mental languish in my small hometown of Chesterton, Indiana. The frigid weather, desolate landscape, and, quite frankly, idiotic people combine to create my own personal hell as I, like Jesus, descend from the high citadels of Manhattan to the land marked by the devil himself. That’s right, I speak of winter break. It’s a cold time of unhappiness for me, one that emerges just as the rest of the world seems to be at its most exuberant. Here are seven people I saw during this trying period who only added to my misery.
1. My ninth grade bio teacher–I ran into her at the supermarket as I was buying cauliflower to make a nice hot cauliflower stew, because that’s all we do in Indiana. She asked me if I still intended to major in Biochemistry. I laughed in her face and told her that I’m Econ now. I have abandoned everything I once loved, but I still know how to analyze the low levels of serotonin barely getting me out of bed in the morning.
2. My summer boss–He asked me if he would be seeing me this summer. I said, “God, I hope not.” I know I will regret this in a few months when I will call him and beg for the honor of once again donning a lifeguard suit and baking in the sun at the Chesterton Public Pool, a place known for the pubic hair that gathers in the gutters, among other places.
3. My highschool boyfriend–I spotted him and his more-attractive-than-me girlfriend at the mall. He placed a singular Auntie Anne’s pretzel lovingly upon her tongue, totally oblivious to my horrified gaze from a crouched position behind a pillar. Pretzel-tongueing used to be our thing. So, as a consolation, I bought a large cup of pretzel bites and guzzled them in my solitude thinking about how he’d never amount to shit.
4. My former classmate who goes to Harvard–She gloated about the prestige and honor she was bringing to our town for a full 45 minutes, until I politely reminded her that Columbia, too, is in the Ivy League. Then, she smirked and whispered in my ear, “But Harvard is ranked number one according to the Wall Street Journal. And as they say, second place is only the first loser.” I hope she’s one of the next one’s to kill themselves up there when her new weed depression kicks in.
5. My personal trainer–We had a short and excruciating encounter at the Chesterton IHOP, where I had taken to spending the hours of 2am to 5am nightly. She noted that I looked “a bit more solid” than when I left for New York in August, but that a few good gym sessions could have me back in shape in no time! I pondered this over my chocolate chip pancakes ultimately deciding that I didn’t care.
6. My younger brother–For some reason, he kept hanging around me the whole break. It was almost like he wanted to spend time with me or something. Why would he wish to engage with me, creature of the night, monster of the black lagoon? When I woke up in the morning he would be in the kitchen eating breakfast. When I woke up from my afternoon nap he would be in the kitchen doing his homework. Jeez, get a life, kid! Don’t you know none of this high school shit matters!
7. My dark inner soul–She and I spent a lot of time together this break. She had some great ideas about how to reinsert myself into the Columbia hellscape after break.