Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Infinity

If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up.
-Hunter S. Thompson 

Despite my injuries and history, 'snow' and 'day' rapidly became two of my favourite words on Tuesday. The odd-sounding squelch underneath my boots may rate alongside that of fingernails being dragged across a blackboard, but when class is cancelled because of the white stuff, I can see beyond my grievances.

I'd like to say I used the time productively, but in reality my aching coccyx and geriatric levels of balance kept me indoors. Sam and I watched his beloved Aston Villa falter in the comfort of my room, instead of a lecture theatre. As the opposition hit balls into the back of the net, our hopes and predictions of an upset deteriorated.

No matter, as per the Tuesday agenda we ventured to Stackers, with Max brimming with karaoke enthusiasm. The pennies were dropping into beers, and after enough we all felt the collective call to butcher 'Hey Jude'. The na na nas stretched on for an eternity, and Sam even requested to the host that the outro be skipped. It promptly was, and despite our choral talents, we were not the victors of a $20 voucher.
The room's temporary addition, courtesy of Worcester DC.

Despite the best efforts to dissuade myself, I joined the masses at The Pub on Thursday. Their Bud Lite and remixes of songs I don't like is not enough to turn my off from such an idyllic venue. But in all fairness, even if the bars aren't what I'd seek out, the company always is. 

...for the most part anyway. Max and I decided to leave early in favour of some pizza, and in doing so missed the brawl that shut the place down. We thought we'd Houdini'd our way on to an earlier bus, but the anti-climax that is the pub greeted us with our earlier companions and for me, a chance to see Alex and Sam try to throw eachother into the snow.

Still, if you consider a brawl a dangerous thing, then you should not visit Springfield, Massachusetts. The traffic did its best to warn us, but our class trip to MassLive, the online equivalent of their newspaper, The Springfield Republican, offered a great glimpse of downtown Springfield. In fairness, my trips to the city had not painted it in a good light. A bus station is not a fair indicator of a city, they're universally horrendous. However, downtown Springfield offered the same characters on newer streets.

The trip did prove worthwhile, as part of my class we get to write for their website (for free!) and get published. Even though I'm in my final year of study and type this thing out regularly I haven't had that ego boost of seeing my name on an article.

To celebrate this new achievement we partied at a house in downtown Amherst. Things were relatively timid, with the lack of loud music and no outdoor area. For the most part people stayed indoors, smoking the hookah and just generally socialising. However, on a Friday night, in a college-town with a party reputation this was too much. The long arm of the law visited just after midnight, forced everyone to leave (which they did amicably) and offered the residents a $600 fine. 

Now I can empathise with a warning, but shutting down a party that had barely begun with such severe punishment felt more like an exercise in over-policing than properly managing the situation. The bro-ish massholes in their baseball caps were the only ones close to remarkable state of inebriation, so for the rest of us we tried to continue the party elsewhere.

Cashin was the chosen venue, and when we didn't want to disturb everyone on the floor we moved to the basement. Again, the staff came down and threatened everyone with arrest for drinking in public. The behaviour of the people with authority in these situations is a bit of a laugh. When you've been living on campus for more than two years and can't seek out any semblance of independence by moving out you probably don't have the right persona to be placed in such a role.

We all reacted appropriately to the threat. I picked up Sam, put him onto the pool table we were all standing around and he and Joe wrestled. Ollie then stole the pool balls and we were forced upstairs to make more noise.  As Ollie offered the balls to anyone in the room, we sat around eating chocolate and finishing our beers. We had been on the run from the people inspecting the halls, hiding in other rooms and toilet cubicles for the sweets. It's remarkable, that the behaviour adults have to resort is such, but until people are treated like adults I doubt it will change any time soon.

Still, if that wasn't enough trouble, Sam and I decided to head into town on our own last night. I'd made a note to myself of missing the rain. Not the inconvenience, but things like the sound and smell of it. Saturday more than made up for it, but given the low temperatures and fiscally minded administrators of Amherst and UMass, no salt was throw down and sheets of ice formed anywhere they could.

After our crammed bus trip to town, we then had to walk the 100ft or so to the crossing on the ice, sliding and regaining our balance along the way. My legs were still, but my body was shifting in the same direction as any decline the path had. We were the first in the bar, while all the Americans 'pre-gamed', we drank like the rest of the world. Oddly, throughout the night we got more comments for our smell than our accents, leading me to believe that there was something errant about us. Alas, we stunk up the bars in a variety of company and had a smashing time.

It's Super Bowl day at the moment, and all of the Patriots fan who were once beaming and screaming their Massachusetts pride have gone into a mini slumber. I'm hoping the Steelers win due to their Wollongong connection. While the country waits for the Super Bowl result to be determined, all I can think about he good it would be to see the real Steelers playing by the beach in Wollongong. Forget what I said earlier about how much I loved the words 'snow' and 'day', I'd trade them both for some sunshine, sand and Steelers Stadium.

The New Amsterdams - Turn Out The Light

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