Based on the New York Times’ Metropolitan Diaries, the Middletown Diaries will include awkward, funny, novel or sweet anecdotes, stories or memories that happen at Wesleyan and in Middletown. To submit to the Middletown Diaries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I had just begun to drink my last coffee of the evening. It was an oat milk latte, and I had made sure to come to Espwesso before midnight so that I might properly time my final caffeine kick for the night of work that lay before me. I began to read, determined to finish the book before 3 am. Just as the barista finishes locking up the espresso machine, a student rushes in, car keys in hand. Aside from a baseball cap with a prep school logo, he is wearing entirely Wesleyan athletic gear. He looks around with a confused stare on his face.
“Are you guys…operational?”
“Operational?” the barista looks at him, confused by the question.
“Yeah! Like, can I get a coffee?” he asks.
“Oh! No, sorry. We just closed,” she tells him.
“Bummer. Do you know where a dude might be able to caffeinate himself at such an hour?” he asks.
I’m looking up now, and I realize that everyone else in the room is looking up, too. We are captivated by this strange conversation.
“I don’t, I’m sorry. All the on-campus coffee places are closed,” the barista tells him.
“Oh, well, I have a car, so if you know of anywhere I could drive, that’d be great.”
Across the room, a friend of mine suggests: “I think Dunkin Donuts is open 24 hours.”
“Word!” the dude points at him. “Do you mean the one on Wash?”
“I’m not sure,” my friend responds. “Maybe? I just know that there is a Dunkin around here that is open 24 hours.”
“So it’s the one on Wash?” he asks.
“No, I don’t know which one it is,” my friend tells him again.
“So do you have any idea where it is at?” he asks.
“No. But I also think Price Chopper is open now. They might not have the kind of coffee you are looking for, but they will definitely have something to caffeinate you,” he tried again.
“Nice! Maybe I will go there and get some of those mini espresso shots. Thanks bro!” he exclaimed. And with that, he gives a wave to everyone in the shop, tosses up his keys, and walks out.
I look at my phone, and adjust my schedule. I’ll be done with the book at 3:15 a.m, now, because I need time to debrief.
Last week, I walked out of R.J. Julia feeling really good because I’d managed to grab all the books I needed. It was a pretty cold night and the dark sky was just about fading into blackness, so I quickly called the Ride.
As I waited, I could see the bright Dunkin Donuts sign from out of the corner of my eye and as much as I was tempted to walk in there, I resisted. I didn’t want to miss the Ride. It arrived right away and I was glad for it. I heaved myself into the second row seat, “Butts A, please.” And so we drove along and I took out my phone and looked through my Snapchat feed. It was only until a little while later that I realized it was taking unusually long to get to the Butts, so I tore my eyes away from my phone screen only to find out that we were near Weshop. I had missed my stop. But I didn’t stress out too much since there really wasn’t much I could do anyway. It was really dark out now and I wasn’t wearing my contact lenses so, everything looked shadowy and blurry like spooky pixelation. The van kept going and going. Like it wasn’t going to stop anytime soon. I started to get scared.
I glanced at the driver seeing only a vague silhouette in the driver’s seat. A thousand thoughts swirled in my head. My heart thumped hard, pulsing in my head. Why wasn’t I dropped off at Butts A? I’d just assumed…. What if I was actually getting kidnapped? Is this really happening? Wait—did I get on the Ride or…is this some other van? “Crosswalk or parking lot?” someone asked. Relief flooded me and I replied, “Crosswalk is fine, thank you.”