from June 5, 2008
We were well into the fifth day of our overnight trip and we were all a little punchy. In fact, just for the heck of it, we ate one of the kids. I won’t say who it was, but she tasted just like Chicken. (Wing.)
We were on our way to Cambridge, which is just like Boston, in Boston, but is not Boston, to see Harvard University. I had high hopes for this stop. A few months back, we had driven by Boston College (twice) and if we actually slowed down and simply stepped on the curb, we’d be ahead of the game.
Due to a stinky bathroom which I may or may not have mentioned before we were a little crowded in the front by kids who, the nerve of them, didn’t want to sit next to a stinky bathroom. Glad we ate one of them.
We had been watching movies on the bus. There were overhead televisions and I was lucky enough to get the one that went staticy whenever I got interested in the movie. On the way up we watched about half of Sunshine. A group of hip and trendy astronauts travel to the sun, just to drop a nuclear bomb on it. Clearly, they were Americans. Along the way some of them died and then some others died, and then the ship died, and then one of them turned out not to be dead but some sort of alien and tried to stop the nuke. (Environmentalist hippie! What’s his problem? Get a job, hippie!)
We saw a movie starring Mathew Lillard, whose claim to stardom is that he has a face that makes you feel more uncomfortable the more you look at it. You may have seen him before, if you watch bad movies. In this film, his roommates decide to take advantage of a loophole in their college charter. You see, if your roommate dies, you get an automatic 4.0 and a date with a supermodel. Why couldn’t my college be like that? (Oh, because it was bound by the rules of reality.) Well, and here’s the VERY IRONIC PART, the kid wanted a 4.0 to get into Harvard. Where were going at that moment? HARVARD! Cosmic harmony- achieved!
When that ended we put in a movie that was highly inappropriate. It contained no nudity but did contain Joey Lawrence. We took it right out.
The weather was actually raining, off and on. Maria’s powers had clearly waned. She had done all she could- crystal ball gazing, tea-leaf reading, human sacrifice, but she had held up the rain as long as she could and the strain took its toll on her. She (and I’m being very true now) was dizzy and pale and didn’t look good. Liz told her to suck it up and get moving. Ray wondered if he would ever “do the bookrooms” with her again.
I left something out in Part One. OK, I simply forgot. Ever see the old episodes of M*A*S*H, the ones where you really believed that Hawkeye was screwing the nurses? (As opposed to the later ones where all Alan Alda did was go with them to E.R.A. rallies.) In one of them, Trapper got a letter from his wife accusing him of being sent to Korea as a part of a plot to cheat on her. (His response? “How did she find out?”) Well, Maria was in the same boat. Bus. Boat/bus. Whatever. Her boyfriend wanted her to bring back evidence that she really was in Boston. As proof, she bought him a Boston T-shirt. I have to admit that, before we got off the bus for the last time, I swiped the shirt and put in a pair of old boxer shorts instead. When I visit Maria in the hospital this weekend I will apologize.
We arrived at Harvard, the bus stopped, we got out. And the shocks don’t end there- we went in! Harvard is a nice campus. We saw a square and a building that may have been a library. Or a cathedral. Harvard had just performed its graduation and you could still smell the blue blood in the air. The chairs were still set up and the amphitheatre was set too so we assembled the kids for a picture. I hate to use a stereotype, but make up your mind. Liz and I were each taking a shot of them, when suddenly, Biblical flood-like, every kid handed us three or four cameras. They got up on the stage, rearranged the tables, and stood there for up to thirty minutes while we used almost 180 cameras to get nearly 200 shots. Did I mention there were only 34 kids? (33 not counting the entrée.)
While this was going on Maria was entertaining Ray with the Top Ten Reasons why she thinks President Bush is an Idiot. If Ray already didn’t want to drink, he did now.
We walked across the campus and paused in front of a statue of a turtle that looked suspiciously like a dragon and had a sort of wall on its back. The kids loved it and almost got us thrown out of Harvard by climbing all over it. I did not want to get thrown out- we would have to get back on the bus.
After crossing a strangely curved street (How do cross the street when there are no corners? How do I know? I’m not Harvard educated. I crossed like a New Yorker- I jay-walked.) we came to the Harvard store, which is actually three stores loosely connected by the power of pure thought (this is Harvard) and of course the four of us made straight for the bathrooms.
Harvard may be an Ivy League school, but they have Special Ed bathrooms. While the school may have a capacity of 10,000, the bathrooms had a capacity of one. The men’s and women’s rooms were strictly one at a time and each had a line. And when you got inside, even Harvard’s toilet paper sucked. Instead of rolls, Harvard has that lousy paper that comes out, folded, one sheet at a time. But I am proud to say that I accomplished one of my life-long dreams by taking a dump on Harvard University.
Harvard U and Lafayette HS have the same colors, maroon and white. One of them better change or there is bound to be confusion. Just last week I found a Harvard underclassman in stairway 8 being suspended by Dean 5.
Maria and Ray were in some way affected by the big book room they were in, so Liz and I went off and bought Harvard swag- mugs and lanyards. The mugs were for all the drinking this trip was driving us to, and the lanyards were to hang ourselves if the trip never ended and it truly was the end of the world. Maria might have been on to something.
So after seeing the Harvard chairs and the Harvard store, and the façade of what may have been the Harvard library, we schlepped back to the bus (again) for the long ride to New Haven Connecticut. Yale, here we come!
END OF PART THREE (YAY!)
PART FOUR HERE