Common Room Conversation: Tending the (off-campus) hearth

THE QUESTION | For the residents of 65 Edgewood Ave., was moving off campus foolish — or lucky fate?

In Elm City, a pleasant surprise: Beauty beyond Yale

“New Haven.” Yalies shiver at the word. Evocations of demonic flower ladies and (gasp) non-gothic towers swim through our heads. Right?

Wrong. It’s 2 a.m., and I sit on my wooden fire escape on Edgewood listening to strains of “Hotel California” in Spanish sung by the 30-something Miya’s Sushi chefs who are gathered in my living room over cases of Corona and mostly-gone bottles of firecracker sake. Someone raises another toast, and we all trickle next door to continue the party in my Yalie neighbors’ parsley, sage, rosemary and junk-furniture-filled backyard. While we chat, the sun rises over the Rainbow Community Park. Ah, Elm City bliss!

Sure there’s crime. We were robbed in July — forcing the purchase of two new macbooks, 14 new opera dvds, and the cleanup of a fine layer of peanuts scattered on the carpet (we have dubbed our intruder “The Shell Shocker”), but hey, that’s what insurance and our new Macaulay Culkin Home Alone-themed anti-theft system are for (knock three times before entering and say “Queen Mab”).

And sure, there are legions of fungusy coffee grinds in our bathroom (the kitchen sink is too full). And, sure, no one knows whose vomit is encrusted on the rug in our shower. But we like decoration. And it’s not our rug. And, sure, after the break-in, the landlord took two weeks to replace the front door. But trading this for a dorm room would be like turning down a part on Seinfeld for a cameo on Hannah Montana­—like hell I’d do it. My future is at stake.

Conclusion: I’ll keep my grungy, bohemian aesthetic, thank-you-very-much, and yes, I will buy a flower. New Haven living is never dull, so give Master G my regrets.

O’Hagan Blades is a junior in Saybrook College.


Off-campus, a life that stumbles out of control

It was probably on the 10th morning of waking up to discover my 10th-consecutive dress to be soiled by both the previous evening’s drink of choice and remnants of actual drunken noodle, that I realized that this lifestyle is out of control.

The sad, sad fact that our house is located two blocks from Pierson College and, therefore, many miles away from any sort of normal pressures (read: Yale Security/any normal, productive member of the Yale undergraduate population) to stay sober or to complete the reading for “First-Order Logic,” has only encouraged the four of us to drink anything we want, at anytime we want.

In the 20-something days that we’ve occupied and apartment at 65 Edgewood Ave., an almost offensive number of elaborate fetes have found their way to our place of residence, and, as a result, our refrigerator has become home to a grand assortment of $15 handles of liquor and their corresponding mixers. I haven’t managed to spend more than 10 minutes in the house at a time before Amy/Claire/O’Hagan (my housemate) thrusts a Solo cup into my hands. “We have sooo much Popov left over from the Viola Question party,” Amy/Claire/O’Hagan insists, pouring a can of sugar-free Red Bull into whatever disgusting concoction has started to congeal in the bottom of her cup.

In the past few weeks, I’ve watched and silently sulked as my tolerance skyrockets and my dignity diminishes. But it would be worse to be universally known as the fun-killer fourth of the 65 quartet, right? Right.

Conclusion: Move off-campus if, and only if, you don’t value or are willing to sacrifice the contributions of your liver.

Emily Jenda is a junior in Saybrook College.


Making the choice to be empty, but full(-filled)

I have been hungry for days. The refrigerator is filled with rotting cabbage blotted brown, curdled yellow imitation soy product and the dregs of a colloidal purple drink that may once have had the power to induce hallucinatory fits.

As I lie dry-mouthed on the floor, groping towards the tin of lite spam my parents left for me weeks ago, I ask myself, “Why?”

The demeaning spectacle of my uncontrollable appetite is indeed a burden. Yet, even as I lick the last sodden lumps from the applesauce jar, I am immediately set awash with memories of the alternative.

Dining halls.

Dining halls and the guilt they provoke at each skipped meal; the circuitous torture of filling a tray with turnips and grapenuts for days and days; the demonic toasters that set my toast aflame before the butter’s even ready to be spread.

My new dining hall is the dining hall of life, or at least of New Haven, or at least of the three-block radius I am willing to wander around my house on Edgewood Ave.

The utmost satisfaction of toasting my own frozen waffle far surpasses the flashy offerings of the buffet banquet of on-campus eats.

Conclusion: The pangs of chosen malnourishment beat the satiety of the forced monotone snuffle at the communal trough.

Amy Lee is a junior in Saybrook College.


When the best-laid plans go awry on Edgewood Ave.

When you move into a Yale dormitory, you are promised certain life staples — a plastic slab on plywood stilts, for example. In my very own off-campus bedchamber, however, the only furniture that awaited me was a bureau and 12 cinder blocks. In the bottom drawer of said bureau, I discovered the third gift bequeathed by my generous predecessor: 93 Yale keys, to Yale buildings, labeled “do not reproduce” by Yale University.

It became quickly apparent that my very own off-campus bedchamber was haunted by its sociopathic previous occupant. I tried to fight it. I painted my room a cheery coral. I blew up children’s book illustrations (and then returned the books — thanks Atticus!) to pin to my walls.

The effect, however, was not whimsical.

The plan was twisted. It looks like a basement lair carefully crafted by a pedophile.

Then, after that freak tropical storm last weekend, I slipped down my slick fire escape and landed on my right butt cheek. I have a seven- by three-inch bruise that changes magical colors, like those stickers filled with oil that you can smush and kids on the playground would try to trade you four furry stickers for it. I’m taking a daily Photobooth picture of my bruise and creating a 90-second slideshow set to REM’s “Everybody Hurts.” It’s not an easy life.

Apart from our liability fire e-scrape, two of our burners don’t function—I can’t make the elaborate sauces I was (never) going to make. And one of our showers leaks, too.

Conclusion: Off-campus living is a pain in my ass and a scourge on my soul.

Claire Gordon is a junior in Saybrook College.

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