“You know nothing, BJ Taintz.”
You’re not quite right, hypothetical reader with the voice of Ygritte. I know that it’s summer right now, for one thing.
That’s right, summer: the season of sunlight, flowers, bugs, and beaches. Perfect time to sit at a computer all day slaving away at an unpaid internship, right? Wrong, but hey, that’s the life we chose. But just because we’re too old to spend summer days eating grass (wait, am I the only one that did that?) doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons to be learned. Here’s what I’ve learned from a few summer weeks of laying around, gorging on Welch’s fruit snacks while reading A Dance With Dragons and pretending that the real world doesn’t exist.
Lesson One: Don’t put hand soap in the dishwasher
Living in an apartment during the summer is like going beyond The Wall: the rules of civilization stop making sense. Even when you’ve spent the past nine months living in the same apartment without any kind of dishwasher-related incident, during the summer you might look at a rack full of dishes and think, “yes, even though I’ve always put the same type of soap into the dishwasher every time I’ve used it, THIS TIME I’ll just put regular dish soap in there and it’ll be fine.”
(A quick reminder that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result.)
Here’s where you’re wrong: it is not fine. Unless you like flooding your kitchen with dish soap suds and scooping them into the sink with an empty fruit snack box because you don’t own a mop and it’s the only receptacle in your apartment because hey why buy real food when you can eat fruit snacks all the time, that is.
Remember kids: just because you’re beyond the Wall doesn’t mean you have to have sex with a wildling.
Lesson Two: iPhones are a miracle
I know this lesson sounds like something I should’ve learned five years ago, but a) I’m late to everything and b) it took the strangeness a summer in Evanston can produce to really make me realize the life-saving power that is mobile Internet access. The exact situation is something that could only have occurred at a college in the summer: a miscommunication among subletters left me locked out of my apartment for hours with a bunch of groceries. Now, had this situation happened to be me in the Middle Ages, I would’ve been stuck in a hallway for hours on end with nothing to do but twiddle my thumbs and hope for a miracle. But this is 2013, and you can look up Supreme Court majority opinions on your phone. There’s no such thing as “idle time” any more, but in this case, that was a good thing.
RIP Steve Jobs.
Lesson Three: Everyone lives in New York
I’ve lived in Illinois my whole life, so my only knowledge of New York City comes from The Avengers and my friends’ status updates this summer. Based on those two sources, I’ve learned that every single famous person lives in New York
Lesson Four: Summer college tours are a trap
I’ve taken a few walks around Northwestern campus in the past week, mostly because the only alternative was slowly poisoning myself to death with Internet stories about Kanye West and bags of Bugles that are impossible to stop eating. Here’s what I learned, for those of you that are in New York and thus unable to experience this yourself: Northwestern is BEAUTIFUL in the summer. Literally, the sun shines off leaves and flowers and the lake and a cool breeze is omnipresent, like some Harry Potter fan’s wet dream of what they imagine college campuses to be like.
This made me happy for about two minutes before I suddenly realize the evil ploy at work here. How many prospies have come to Northwestern during the summer for a tour, seen the light shining off the lakefill, and said to the parents, “wow guys, this place is so beautiful, I want to go here, forever”?
Poor saps. Perhaps I should dedicate serious time to Admiral Ackbar-ing tour groups.
Lesson Five: The Miami Heat are still awful
Not literally, of course; they just won two straight NBA titles with the help of a four-time MVP winner. But God, I hate them. So does everyone else. Probably because we all grew up on Pixar movies and Chris Bosh looks way too much like Randall for any of us to even consider cheering for him.
So there you go. Hope you’ve learned some things too.
-Brother Jürgen Taintsdorf