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.
After making three full laps around Usdan, I finally resolved to eat from classics, because they were serving roasted cauliflower and rainbow carrots. Granted, this wasn’t exactly a full meal, but I figured that if I supplemented the veggies with some pasta, I would be adequately nourished. Not ideal, but not horrible either. Food is fuel, right? Though I said nothing of my disappointment, the boys in front of me seemed to be on the same page.
“This is lame, I don’t want breaded chicken!” one boy exclaimed.
“Yo, why does the stir fry station stink today?” his friend asked in agreement.
“I don’t like going to stir fry when Sue’s not there,” the first boy lamented.
Sue, the famed Usdan chef who reigns over lunchtime Mongo, is beloved by many. She calls everyone honey, greets her regulars by name, and generally makes every patron of Mongo feel…heard.
“I went to Mongo for lunch and she gave me extra pork. It was lit,” the friend said.
As I began reflecting on the nature of community, and about the little things that really make a place feel like home, the first boy startled me with a shout.
“NARP!!!” he bellowed at another passing friend.
“You’re the NARP!” the friend bellowed back.
Used to refer to a Non-Athletic Regular Person, the term NARP is one that I have heard about loud side legends, but never in real life, never unironically. The boys went on to have a sweet conversation, recounting their weekends and whispering about crushes. I got my carrots and cauliflower, sat down for my meal, and resolved to try and develop a relationship with Sue. And to start calling my friends NARPs.
A few weeks ago, at 3 a.m. on a Sunday, I found myself jogging alone along High Street, my face shining with glow-in-the-dark neon paint. To some of you this may sound like a normal night on the town, and to others it may sound irregular; I consider myself in the latter group. My friend had painted three green dots down my left temple and an orange star on my right cheek at Alpha Delt, and after dancing for a thrilling fifteen minutes, we headed to her house to have a calm end to the night. As most late-night conversations go, our quick chat turned into a two and a half hour discussion/therapy session, and when I finally glanced at my phone, I was shocked at the time on my screen. Somehow seeing how late it was made a wave of exhaustion suddenly crash over me, and so I set off for the other side of campus.
I started walking down High Street and toward Music House in the chilly night, thankful for the streetlights and cursing my thin jean jacket. All I could think about was getting warm and getting to bed, and it suddenly occurred to me that walking was severely hindering me from fulfilling my dreams. So, after checking that there was no one around who would be concerned to see a girl wearing a black overall dress, red lipstick, and smeared neon face-paint, jogging down the street in the middle of the night, I quickened my pace. My effort to expedite my journey was largely successful, and it was only a few minutes before I was by College Row, though I admit I was a bit winded.
I saw the flash of headlights behind me, and I turned around with a look of confusion, then excitement, then embarrassment. It was The Ride, and the driver also looked quite confused.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Uh, just heading home,” I said, panting.
“Why didn’t you call The Ride?”
“Good point,” I said, stepping inside.
Diary, this is a reminder that sometimes the darkest of moments can create opportunities for the best surprises. As soon as I got in my room, I saved the Office of Transportation in my contacts, wiped the glow-paint off my face, and slept soundly for the rest of the night.