Last weekend, I went to a high school friend’s (Laura’s) going away party. She’s one of those people who got the memo about archaeology people getting to travel to exotic destination and play in the dirt all day, and she’s off to Honduras pretty soon. At the party, I ran into a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a long time (Sara). Sara and I had a great time catching up, and as someone who lived in the San Francisco area, she filled me on in on the Berkeley/California experience.
After leaving the party, we ran into a friend and fellow Californian of hers (Robin) on the streets of Cambridge. The three of us decided it was a good night for frozen yogurt, so we wandered over to BerryLine. A delicious vanilla yogurt with a mountain of strawberries and kiwi was ordered, a window booth was grabbed, and a really great conversation about happiness was had. We decided at the time that impromptu frozen yogurt runs with good company made us happy, and it really did. I didn’t have too many late-night chill sessions with people at BU, but I’m going to make an effort to do so at grad school.
Anyway, Robin lives in Harvard’s Dudley Coop. Given that I’m strongly considering living in university housing for the first year of my PhD and that a coop could actually be a fun, socially engaging experience, I thought it only appropriate to accept her invitation to Sara, Sara’s boyfriend, and me for dinner on Monday night. The building itself (also home to the Center for High Energy MetaPhysics, or HEMP) was this awesome old wooden construction that felt like a huge summer camp cabin, and the dinner was camp-like too: huge portions of delicious food and lots of excited, talented people to share it with.
After dinner, we were hanging out in the dining hall when out came the musical instruments. This being Harvard, everyone spoke 9 languages and played 6 instruments, so we quickly assembled a standard Latvian sextet (two guitars, a harp, a ukelele, a tambourine, and a vocalist) and broke into some Bartok-esque folk tunes. OK, not quite. But we did have a book of old folk/religious songs, and we managed to make it through at least a couple of them! I had a stunning revelation after about the third one: most basic songs rely on about three chords, and you can transpose the songs so that those chords are D, G, and A. Thus, I was able to keep up and even belt out some classics like “Oh Susannah” and “Don’t Put Your Finger Up Your Nose.” (Seriously, Google it.)
Even though the songs were pretty simple, it was still a lot of fun playing the same 5 chords endlessly and singing. It made me miss the music scene I used to be such a part of, and it also made me glad that I’m getting back into guitar. A closing thought: