Friday, September 3, 2010

Roll down the window and let the window blow back your hair

*Names in this story may be incorrect. I've met too many people for my dinosaur brain to deal with.

"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star."
-Stephen Hawking

God damn it Michael. I came back to the room after the guitar lawn session and he wasn't around. No big deal, I figure he's around watching sports or something. Like everyone, I opt for the early night and try to get some sleep in this crazy heat.

3AM comes round and I've not long been asleep. Even laying still in bed is making me sweat more than any workout, so sleeping has been sporadic at the minimum. I wake to the sound of the door being pummelled by fists ,"Lewis, wake up, I forgot my key". A few seconds of grumbling occur, Michael tells me about his night before falling into an instant snore. Grrr.

The room stinks of sweat and booze the next morning. I leave Michael behind and go to the housing office with an English guy who wants to swap rooms with me. I have been assigned an all male dorm, and I'm desperately trying to get out. We attempt a swap before we move in, but due to American bureaucratic reasons - that are plentiful and frustrating - we're forced to stick with the current pointless, tedious and painful arrangement. Americans are beginning to piss me off at this stage.

After some pointless meetings and a group dinner a few of us bail on the organised, dry, Dance Party USA, to hit up a few of the local bars. Michael, Lee-Roy, Maks and Hannah all make the 20 minute walk through poorly lit streets and enter the Amherst Brewery. It's a nice bar, quiet enough for a conversation, all chairs face the tv screens and all the beers are made downstairs. 

We hang out for a round or two before Michael and I are left on our own to try out the other bars. The first once we try is an Irish bar and it is literally too packed to walk to the bar. The girls are all dolled up and pretty, but there is a wall of humans separating everyone from everything. We elect to leave the sauna like environment to go to the bar a few doors down.
My crackberry. I've turned into an incessant text demon. Also, Michael is flipping me off in the picture.

It's less busy, but only by about two or three people. I struggle to the bar to order a pitcher of 'bud'. Everyone has other ideas. Guys with arms bigger than my head cut in on me, and the size of their physique screams two words, 'don't argue'. I give Michael the money, he's bigger, and eventually delivers on the beer.

While the American girls go all out, the guys wear sandals, cargo shorts, polos and baseball caps. They all spend more time in the gym than between the pages of any book. There's high 5s and fist pumps all around, so Michael and I find a quiet spot, down the pitcher in record time and meet up with some Germans who know of a party.

We stop by another Amherst bar and it's a piece off shit. It's too trashy for all the d-bags and trashy American lasses. We stay for one drink before heading to some party. When we finally arrive we walk up a few flights of stairs into a room that is blaring music and drinks & sundries are being passed around. I go downstairs to find a bathroom, but everyone is being turfed from the party. I don't find the bathroom, instead settle for the side of the house. They should have been nicer to us.

On the walk back I'm trying to impress with my broken German while my brain is computing whether I made the right choice coming to Amherst or not. The town seemed a bit shitty, the bars were too busy and the people weren't great. It's 3AM and Michael and I get back and sleep.

We both get up early the next day. We have to leave our rooms and our friendly cliques of fellow international students by 8AM to move to our proper residences. I'm still bitter about the all male dorm, making the lack of sleep, slight headache and heat feel even worse. Instead of waiting around Michael and I head to the mall so he can buy a laptop. We get back around mid-day, when it is steaming. I walk to my new dorm, only to find I can't check in until 2PM. I grab all my belongings, sit under a tree and play guitar for two hours while my sweat dulls the strings tone with each chord.
WWII dorm

After some key troubles I'm finally into the room. It's bigger than I was expecting, but the shower is something out of a prison. If you want to shut the door to keep your towel dry you lose any light source. If you want to get changed you have to do it in a communal area. Boy am I glad I'm paying a premium for this...I'm really starting to turn on America and Amherst.

I go downstairs to the basement to wash all of my sweaty clothes and bed sheets. I strip down to my boxers, ensuring that almost all of my clothes get cleaned. Once the washer starts I then realise I'm wearing the boxer shorts with a massive tear in the arse (possibly blown out due to massive bouts of flatulence). All male dorm, arse-less shorts, this really sucks. I change into my board-shorts, they fit me in summer, but a month in the states is beginning to have some side effects.
Holy boxer shorts Batman!

I get all my stuff together and leave for a bus to Northampton at 6:30PM. I meet up with Michael, whose new computer has already been rendered useless by a virus. We get into Northampton and immediately check out the box office and local gig guides. Holy crap, there are some great shows coming up. Better yet, the place is only 20 minutes away on a free bus.

The whole town is great, people talk to the buskers and bums, the Mexican food is sound and there is hardly a baseball cap in sight. Better yet, Sonic Youth live there. Michael and I find a bar after eating some burritos. We sit down, start chatting to the bar tender and finally find a lager that satiates our needs in the heat. We spend the next few hours talking to some other people at the bar and watching sports we don't understand. It's a pretty great scene and we've found a place to see bands. All of a sudden, America seems like a brilliant place again.

Broken Social Scene - Forced to Love.
This band is playing Northampton soon and the video is absolutely amazing. If you watch it, you'll feel jealous that I'm going to see them

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