Boats Against the Current

This morning the crew team had a 5K test on the ergs to see where we are now that we’ve been rowing for three weeks. The improvement was massive, and most of us left practice feeling the spirit of achievement. Last time we did this exercise it didn’t go so well, so this was a chance to give it another try and make a stronger impression.

Tonight was the annual Fairfield University Presidential Ball. In the days preceding this event, each student received an invitation in the mail, an email from the university president, and an email from the class president inviting those choosing to attend not to repeat past mistakes of ending up in an ambulance. I’m told that last year there were 22 transports to the hospital from the dance. I guess this number creeps up each year, and some people are worried that the event might not be continued if the pattern continues. Anyhow, I suspect that the warnings should at least reduce that number. Regardless, the deafening music and crowds of people are not things that interest me, so I skipped it.

Meanwhile the second book my Modernism class read was The Great Gatsby, which of course I’d read in eleventh grade. The discussion/lecture revolved around the same basic themes as the high school version did, although naturally a bit more in depth and college-like. We were able to cover a lot of ground in an hour and fifteen minutes, and one thing we examined was the way that Fitzgerald described parties in a way that “no other writer could.” Within his eloquent language was a clear envious dislike of the upper class, from which he was barred during his life.

The posters for Prez Ball instructed attendees to dress “Gatsby-themed.” It’s probably inspired by the most recent movie (“You can’t make a film out of this book. How can a movie depict an internal consciousness? You need voice-overs and that’s cheating”). It’s also fitting because from Bellarmine Lawn you can look out over the Long Island Sound and see the lights in the distance. Maybe even some green lights…

My consciousness is apparently becoming enveloped by books. I found this appropriate quote yesterday:

“I am a product […of] endless books. My father bought all the books he read and never got rid of any of them. There were books in the study, books in the drawing room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds reflecting every transient stage of my parents’ interest, books readable and unreadable, books suitable for a child and books most emphatically not. Nothing was forbidden me. In the seemingly endless rainy afternoons I took volume after volume from the shelves. I had always the same certainty of finding a book that was new to me as a man who walks into a field has of finding a new blade of grass.”  ~ C.S. Lewis

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