Coming home for the summer from MIT has been a time-honored tradition for me, assuming two years is sufficient to establish a tradition. As lovely as I hear Boston gets in the summertime, there’s too much waiting for me at home — family, friends, a significant other, and a job — for me to stay. Assuming, therefore, that going home would be my first and only choice for my summer plans, it logically followed that I’d have to bundle up the entire contents of my hovel and put most of it in storage, a process that consumed more time and more space than I probably would have liked.
Even now, I have only the faintest understanding of how on earth I managed to get everything more or less squared away, a certain bending of storage rules aside — all due apologies to the people in charge of Next House storage. Reams of paper were recycled, bags full of trash were tossed (including, ironically, bags full of bags), and even then, the sheer volume of things in my room remained seemingly constant. I consider myself lucky that my sleeping bag fit in my refrigerator, although how lucky I feel when it comes out depends a great deal on the results of the sniff test. Good thing it’s machine-washable. Once I’d divvied up my belongings between what I was squirreling away underground and what I was taking home, I hailed a cab/mobile nap center early Saturday morning and headed out to South Station to catch my train.
I like taking the train home. Granted, what would ordinarily be a 90-minute trip by air becomes a 12-hour epic trek by rail, but at least Amtrak doesn’t care if I have nail scissors or a tube of toothpaste in my bag, or whether I’m using nontransmitting electronic devices while we’re pulling out of the station. The baggage allowance is so lenient that I could probably package the air in my dorm and take it home with me. As it is, I brought with me two suitcases, a backpack, and a sports bag, all carry-on. There are also power outlets for every seat — nothing eases a 12-hour trek like a collection of DVDs and a powered-up laptop. If I wanted, I could open a can of instant soup with a pocketknife, then microwave it at my seat, with seat back and tray table in their fully reclined and unlocked positions. While wearing a trench coat made entirely out of circuit boards. Twelve hours goes by quick.
Mind you, just because I was in a hurry to get home doesn’t mean I’m not a little jealous of the folks staying on campus. With the mass exodus of college-aged folk and the mass influx of tourists visiting locations other than MIT, you get the run of the town while business owners are trying their hardest to impress (or alternately, are at their most jaded). More than that, all those cool weather phenomena like warm sunny days and dramatic electrified downpours don’t show up until after the term ends. Frankly, it just doesn’t seem quite fair. When I was in town, all I saw was half-hearted drizzle and devious overnight snowfall destined to become the slush in my shoes the next day. The day before I left, it was warmer in Boston than it was in Virginia Beach by a solid 10 degrees Celsius. Does that seem right to you?
I swear that I’m not bitter, all evidence to the contrary. Truly, I’m happy to be back home, and slightly less happy that I’m theoretically halfway through with my undergraduate career. That probably sounds much less legitimate to the new graduates, who are facing the precipitous unknown of a post-college existence in the real world or slightly-more-sympathetic graduate school. I guess I’ll have the entire summer to have an academic existential crisis. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to savor hurricane season on the beach while I can.