Dispatches from the Northeastern Front

This anonymous diary recounting the Great Winter-But-Actually-Spring-Spring-Is-A-Lie Storms of 2018 was found buried by the Purple Tree. Its author appears to have melted into a nearby puddle of tears and frost.
March 1:
Winter storm Riley draws closer, as I stock up on bare necessities — spaghetti, cat videos, wooly socks, chocolate. Just one day of snow and it will be springtime! Flowers blooming. Goodbye furry boots and puffy coats. Hello pollen allergies.
March 2:
3:30 PM: Campus plunged in darkness. Screams, shouts all around. Students weeping over their dead chargers. Mad dash to Sharples, which has unexpectedly become a beacon of light. Internet not dead yet — hope remains.
4:00 PM: Power back on. Hallelujah! The midterms shall be passed, papers submitted. Start thinking about how to spin the outage into a request for an extension.
4:45 PM: Power back out. Despair and disappointment. An email is sent. Hopefully there will not have to be any more. It is the end of Internet. Good-bye eduroam, Moodle. Students fleeing into the Ville and Barn for power.
5:38 PM: “The wind is bringing down branches and the occasional tree” – Ralph Thayer, Director of Maintenance. Rumors abound of a mysterious Generator, which will restore power to campus and bring hope and light to us all. Students seeking refuge in Sharples, crowding outlets with laptop chargers.
6:00 PM: Appearance of the first storm-related memes.
9:30 PM: Power outage in the Barn, residential neighborhoods, the Ville. I realize Swarthmore is so small it makes little difference whether the lights are out or not.
March 3:
10:00 AM: Word of The Generator has spread. From all across Swarthmore, weary inhabitants trek to McCabe for light and warmth. Families, senior citizens, spread all over the library. I hide in the bathroom so my professor cannot spot me in sweatpants and snow boots, eating chips.
10:00 PM: Power not restored in surrounding neighborhoods. Emergency trip to Giant to buy canned food and oranges. Already, a sickly smell is emanating from the refrigerator. 2 calls to P.E.C.O., hoping there will be no need for a third.
March 4:
12:00 PM: 5th call to P.E.C.O. Power supposed to have been restored yesterday. Their website is a lie. Are my toes frostbitten? Spending as much time as possible on campus. Giant tree fallen behind Willets, which actually improves the view somewhat. Another storm is coming. This is getting repetitive.
8:30 PM: An elusive creature, the Liz Braun, has emerged from its lair to send yet another email informing students of power outage. Thank god for the emails, or we never would have guessed.
11:00 PM: Does Liz Braun know sending emails saying the storm exists is not helping? Cruel professors show zero intention of cancelling classes.
March 7:
1:30 PM: Winter Storm Quinn hits Swarthmore. I get lost walking from Lang Center to Kohlberg and end up crying in the middle of the street. Arrive late to class and dump so much snow on the floor professor sent me out to dry off. P.E.C.O. claims power was fixed in the Barn.
5:00 PM: P.E.C.O. lied. Joyful revelation that I am unable to flip a switch on a breaker.  Refugees from the Barn start fleeing into emergency on-campus housing thanks to efficient, well-organized residents who are also sick of freezing in dark apartments. Thank God also for E.V.S., Sharples workers, and all essential staff that keep the campus running.
March 8:
8:00 AM: I hear all the hallway freshmen screaming and loudly getting ready. This and communal showers remind me of why I moved off campus. Huddle under borrowed blanket and watch “Arthur” to feel better.
9:00 AM: “Arthur” episode where there is a winter storm and everyone loses power. I start blubbering and crying. 9th call to P.E.C.O. goes terribly because “Ma’am we can’t hear you you have to stop sniffing and calm down and speak in a normal voice.”
11:00 AM: Unsympathetic family, safely hidden in warm California, finds this all hilarious.
5:00 PM: In one’s darkest hour, one can still find some irony in the world. For example, the fact that loudly “eco-conscious” students have no qualms leaving lights on and cranking up heating and air conditioning despite risk of overheating generator. Also, it’s really hard to pack by phone light.
March 10:
POWER RESTORED ALL OVER SWARTHMORE. I no longer care because I am out of here. Will spend a week listening to parents tell me that this why going to Berkeley would have been smarter.
March 13:
11:00 AM: Winter storm whatever hits the East Coast yet again and back home I am sublimely indifferent. The lovely hum of the refrigerator is music to my ears. Hot showers. Removing warm sheets from the dryer. Watching TV. May I never take electronics for granted again. Have learned a beautiful lesson about saving energy and the environment.
3:00 PM: Accidentally leave refrigerator door open and TV on for half an hour. Still, it’s the thought that counts.
March 20:
6:00 PM: Which is worse: facing the fourth winter storm in a month or Liz Braun sending emails about said storm?
March 21:
This joke is getting very old. Slipping on ice and landing on one’s ass has lost any charm it ever possessed.
April Whatever Who Cares at This Point All I Know is it’s Sure as Hell Not Actually Spring:
The bells are ringing.
Far across campus from the abandoned towers of Clothier, I hear bells ringing. But it must be merely my frostbitten, weary imagination. I did not think the trumpets of the Apocalypse would sound like this. I am melting. Cold. Snowy. Snot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Phoenix

Discover more from The Phoenix

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading