The independent student newspaper of Goucher College

Author

Anya Schwartz

Anya Schwartz has 13 articles published.

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Anya Schwartz is the editor for the Fiction section of the Q. She is a second year English with a Concentration in Creative Writing and Mathematics double major, and she is from Brooklyn, New York.

A Fall 2018-Spring 2019 Wrap-Up

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Photo Credit: https://baltimorefishbowl.com/stories/

If you’re like me, how quickly finals are approaching has really caught you off guard. Just last week, you wrote the date down as January, then did a double take, because, wait, it’s May. If you’re like me, you then noticed that you’d accidentally written 2014 instead of 2019.

But, sadly, it is true. It is early May. Finals are in just a few days. They are sneaking up on us all, like those monsters from your nightmares as children. They are hidden beneath your lofted bed, snuggled beside your Pub-Safe-issued plastic food bin. Probably, you’d rather fight an actual monster than have to crank out that last Peace Studies paper, or to sit down for your Biochem exam.

We have had a weird year this year. We lost the homes we made in Stimson and Heubeck, said goodbye to our friend The Van, had to accept José’s eventual departure, and, if you’re like me, accepted that your major is going to die a soon, slow death. There were crimes, both on-campus and off, that knit this campus closer together. These things have happened in such rapid succession that you may have lost track of them each individually. Last May, the last time things felt so normal, feels like a distant memory now. How could you have known when you pulled onto Dulaney Valley Road, when you drove off campus for the last time of the semester, straight into summer, that you would be returning only to say goodbye to so many wonderful things?

And now we only have a few weeks left until another year is over. If you’re a senior, you’ll be living out your last few days on campus. You’ll be in the stir fry line, and it might be your last time in the stir fry line. You’ll be doing laundry, and it will be the last time you have to remember that every machine on campus is simultaneously broken, but you still won’t get your eSuds money back. These things will be weighty, and they might feel impossible. But you’ll make it out the other side after seeing Bill Nye, and realize it’s all over.

If you’re a freshman, you’ll go home and everything you did this year will feel fake. Seriously, it will. You’ve just begun something insane, and it might take a while for it all to sink in. Don’t worry, though, because Mary Fisher will still be here for you in August. There will be more laundry and stir fry for you. Assuming you come back.

If you’re anywhere in between, finals and move out feel like routine by now. You’ve done this before. It’s still a strange, sticky feeling, like time is molasses and you’re just trudging through it until you hit the finish line. You still have to do this whole cycle one or two more times, and the thought is exhausting. Who knows what will still be here next year, and who won’t. Who knows who will be here next year, and who won’t.

So grab a bowl of that really good tomato soup from the dining hall, or treat yourself to a green tea latte from Alice’s (if they’re not out of it). There’s only a little bit more to do. It might feel like there’s a marathon left of running before the semester is over, but, really, it’s only a handful of hours until you’re peeling your illegal Command strips off the walls and shoving everything you own into nondescript boxes.

Take a moment to enjoy yourself before finals begin, or to center yourself in the midst of the storm. We’re almost there.

Which CPE Section Should You Take A Class In?

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Photo credit: https://thegouchereye.com/2017/03/24/update-on-gouchers-curriculum-change/

The Academic Policies Committee doesn’t seem to know, so take this quiz to find out!

  1. It’s seventy degrees outside and there’s a hammock available right in the bright sun. But you have a paper due next week that you really need to spend some time working on. Do you…
    • a) Grab that hammock! Who cares about the essay, there will be time to write it later tonight when the sun is gone. Besides, the hammock is the perfect accessory for your newest Facebook profile picture.
    • b) Grab the hammock but decide to do some essay work while laying down. You know how to allocate your time, and besides, grades are an antiquated social construct anyway.
    • c) Go inside. There’s internet.
    • d) Stay outside but don’t do your homework. There are mice around that are more interesting to watch than trying to figure out MLA formatting…
  2. There’s a pop-up record album sale outside of Mary Fisher during your only free hour before lunch. But you’re also supposed to meet up with a group to work on a project. Do you…
    • a) Browse for a while! Giving your dorm a good vibe on your electric record player is more important than a group project.
    • b) Browse, then try to figure out a way to barter the salesman down to a cheaper price. Whoever said theoretical business skills would never come in handy?
    • c) Go work on the group project and if you finish early, you can come back and look at what they’re selling. Talking about your ideas is just as fun as jamming out!
    • d) Who needs music when there’s a perfectly good carpenter bee hive outside of Van Meter that you can listen to? Buzz buzz…
  3. There’s a long line at Alice’s, and they’re about to close for afternoon break. But you badly need an Athenaeum drink before finding an empty study room and cranking out a review assignment. Do you…
    • a) Take a picture of the whole line for your Snapchat story with the caption “:(“.
    • b) Trick question—you never go to Alice’s. It’s more cheap and ethical to make your own coffee in your room in your reusable cup.
    • c) While in line, jot down a quick poem about how waiting makes you feel. Make sure to capture the correct smell of the coffee beans, the exact sound of the bean grinder.
    • d) Pass out a quick survey to everyone else in the line, telling them it’ll only take a few seconds and that you badly need the data for a class project. You never know when you’ll need data like this.
  4. You told your friends you’d go to the a cappella show at night but your RA has called a last-minute hall meeting to talk about cleaning the floor kitchen. Do you…
    • a) Tell your RA that you can’t make it and go to the performance. Showing up for the arts is one of the most impactful things you can do.
    • b) Go to the hall meeting. Living communally is all about everyone doing their fair part, and you have some suggestions for your RA about how to better implement a fair cleaning system.
    • c) Use the a cappella show as an excuse not to go to the RA meeting, and the RA meeting as an excuse not to go to the show. Stay in bed and read.
    • d) Go to the hall meeting, but only because that mold growing in the sink looks pretty freaky…
  5. You didn’t have time to complete a reading reflection (or do the reading at all…) but your friend did it in advance and says they’ll send you their work. Do you…
    • a) Ask them to do a performative dance rendition of the reading assignment. Their interpretation of the words into movement will help you better understand the themes.
    • b) Do a quick analysis to see what percentage of copying words can be copied before you lose market equilibrium and the professor finds out.
    • c) Whoever said anything in writing is original thought? Use your friend’s assignment as inspiration to write your own—it’s not copying, it’s an artistic reinterpretation.
    • d) What type of reflection is this? Where is the scientific evidence? These claims are unsupportable and your friend isn’t even citing reliable sources.

 

Mostly As: Take a CPEA! You are artsy, experimental, and spontaneous. You would love taking a photography, music, theater, or art class.

Mostly Bs: Take a CPEB! You seem to be organized and sure about what you want. Think about taking a business, anthropology, or psych class.

Mostly Cs: Take a CPEC! You’re a reader or a writer or someone who just loves words. Try out a humanities class, whether it be English, history, or peace studies.

Mostly Ds: Take a CPED! You obviously have a taste for the natural, and you love observing or learning about the world around you. You should take a natural sciences class, such as ecology or biology.

Stalled at Parkside

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Photo credit: https://bklyner.com/manhattan-bound-avenue-x-f-train-platform-still-closed-q-runs-express-kings-highway-prospect-park-sheepshead-bay/

While the train is stalled at Parkside Avenue,

a toddler clambers onto the row seating

his weary mother sinking onto the bench next to him.

He stands, two feet tall, and looks out the window

He says, Everything looks so different now.

I think he must mean since the snow all melted a few days ago,

but his words speak to my heart

to my own days at two feet tall, standing on the Q train seats

and peering out into the subway tracks.

Balancing on the ledges that line the sidewalks

my father’s outstretched hands waiting to catch me if I stumbled.

An Ode to The Van

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Photo credit: Anya Schwartz

The vacant space in the front of Van Meter stands stripped and naked. As you walk up the steps off of Van Meter Highway and gaze into the front window of Van Meter building, you contemplate your warped reflection and the strange lack of coffee grounds filling the air. Lately the only thing you have to look forward to when going inside is the safety from the wind, not a warm muffin or a hot latte.

The Van was a weird, strange kiosk, a bodega and a café and a magical haven that presented food in the most dire of times. The lone soldier on the sidelines of the fight who brought brave, slowly-dying fighters sustenance in the midst of battle. The Molly Pitcher of Goucher, The Van was the true hero of the everyday combat against the rest of the academic quad, standing firmly on the side of the students. You can vividly remember the quick sprint from Hoffberger to The Van in the ten minute stretch between classes, desperate for a bagel with cream cheese, the extra 50 cents for more than one cream cheese cup be damned. The “bathroom” breaks that were actually only to grab an iced coffee. The Van was always there for you.

Now The Van has been shot down, another casualty in the campus evolution this year. As if its closing wasn’t enough, its bones have been knocked away, its skeleton removed from its fossilized husk. All that remains in its place is the chalkboard sign upon the ground, the writing still intact, runes from an ancient language newly deceased. Someone wrote those words, whether they are still on campus or have moved on; you wonder if they know that they have outlived this tiny creation, this fractional piece of their soul, if this small artistic act while on the clock is something they even remember having performed.

In its place there is now a small lounge. Or…something like a lounge, you’re not really sure. There are a few chairs and a table. If you ever felt like spending more time in Van Meter than you already do, it’d probably be a picturesque gathering space, right next to the window, the perfect perch to overlook all the way across campus. But it feels too wrong to be relaxing in the same place where The Van used to stand, proud and strong.

Because the brick wall in the inside of Van Meter used to be an exterior wall, some poor professor’s office looks into the entryway, directly into where The Van used to be. Now their window is free, unblocked. When you stand in the place where The Van was, the professor in the window stares at you, alarmed, shy, afraid. They are shocked that there is light on the other side of their window. They gape straight past you, as if you aren’t even there, at the trees on the outside of the building. You wonder how long it has been since they last saw the sun. How many seasons have gone by? How many dining halls and food repositories have disappeared since then?

In the hallway, someone says, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was, like, a place to get some food between classes?” One day the ignorance of the first years is going to actually kill you. They don’t know what this place used to be, the heroes that you have worshipped and watched fall. They tramp across a hallowed site, a holy place, without even knowing what used to reside here. But you know, and you say a silent apology to the discarded chalkboard now laid to rest. The Van was its own type of Giving Tree; it gave to all whenever they most needed it, until it had no more to give.

An Ode to Heubeck Dining Hall

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Photo credit: http://tour.goucher.edu/site/m/heubeck-hall/

In your 9:20 am class, someone says, “I really want a Heubeck burrito.” You roll your eyes—how could someone want Heubeck burritos that badly? Watery sour cream, variable ingredients dependent on the day, cracking flour tortillas. Also, it’s 9 in the morning. You barely had time to drag yourself out of bed; you didn’t even have time to stop at Pick 3 for a Tupperware of rubbery scrambled eggs. But then you think about it harder, and, gosh, you really want a Heubeck burrito, more than you can ever remember wanting a food. It becomes a tangible thing, like if you don’t get a bite of cold shredded cheese in the next day, you might actually die.

The Heubeck dining hall had been another terrible loss, another soldier to lose its life in the battle against Mary Fisher. Unlike Stimson, Heubeck had no toxic smells or no suspicious stains. You knew Heubeck was bound to be lost after the death of Passport Cafe, a name that’s dug into your memories and now sits somewhere primal and distant, carved into a gravestone that purely exists in the collective past of Goucher students.

Heubeck had been a museum, a preservation of all the things you had loved throughout your years here. Fall of your freshman year, you stopped in Heubeck every day to pick up a bag of jalapeño Cheetos. The next spring, it had been the blue Naked juices they had, even if they were a ridiculous hit to your Flex count. Then your roommate introduced you to Heubeck’s mixed milkshakes, and that was your obsession for another few months. Each semester, a new fad, a new must-have. It didn’t matter—Heubeck had it all, Heubeck had everything you could imagine. Somewhere in between the glass sliding doors of the fridges and the confusing lines that ran out into the hallway, there was a subtle, hidden magic. Heubeck recognized you. Heubeck knew what you wanted. Heubeck made sure it would be there for you. Yes, it was tiny, and, yes, it was chaotic. But it did everything it could to make itself into a home for you. A mother who invited you into her own warm womb.

Are they still there, you wonder, the fridges and the registers and the black cloth retractable belts in the middle of the floor, barely attempting to hold everyone in line? Are they lonely? Do they stare out the windows into the hallway, watching you as you pass? Maybe they sneak into the Multipurpose Room, play a secret tune on the piano, or watch the students below on Van Meter, unsuspecting, ignorant of all they’ve left behind. Maybe they are angry that you have forgotten them. You, who used to smile at them every single time you picked up a container of Fruit Loops in the morning.

The new Student Market is even smaller than Heubeck, has even less space for the chaos of the 1:10 pm lunch rush. There is no excitement there, unparalleled to the ecstacy of finding out that Heubeck was serving french fries. Student Market tries to compensate with impossible burgers and vegan breakfast burritos, targeting those student demographics that Heubeck never bothered to acknowledge. It offers you Pick 3 with shaking, embarrassed hands, a full take-out meal for a meal swipe to address that the other food can only be payed for in Flex. But nothing will compare to Heubeck serving hot mac and cheese for lunch, or the joy of filling up your flimsy paper plate with greasy chicken nuggets.

With the closing of Stimson and Heubeck both, the heart of the campus has been unrooted. You feel unmoored, drifting from day to day; your body doesn’t recognize nighttime without a meal from Stimson or Heubeck. You struggle to feel awake in classes without your daily egg and cheese sandwich on a bagel, carried on a paper plate all the way down Van Meter. You are unaware, lost, unsure how to be the person you once were without these homes. The magic that existed in these places is gone, slowly drained away into the dirt below the Van Meter stone. The souls fed and inspired and housed, now left homeless, drifting. You can feel them, sometimes, on the edge of your consciousness. They call out to you, they whisper, Please come home.

An Ode to Stimson

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Photo Credit: http://tour.goucher.edu/site/m/stimson-hall/

“Your shirt smells like Stimson,” someone tells you. There’s not a specific smell that you can pinpoint as smelling like an entire building, but you know exactly what they mean. Yet — you haven’t been in Stimson in, like, eight months. Actually, you can’t remember the last time you were in Stimson. Also, this shirt is brand-new. Does that mean that everything you wear smells like Stimson? Do you just smell like Stimson?

“Stimson was supposed to be knocked down in the seventies,” an upperclassman said once, back when you were still a freshman. It was a funny joke; Stimson was the focal point of the entire campus, the meeting grounds at which clumps of people would reunite each mealtime. Now the administration is saying again that Stimson will be gone soon. Isn’t that what they promised last time? Maybe there will always be cycles of new people saying that Stimson will be destroyed every decade or so. Maybe you should switch your means of measuring time to be the last time someone said Stimson would be eliminated. How many years has it been since 2010? Oh, I don’t know anymore, but it’s been seventeen years since someone in a suit promised last Stimson would burn.

“I swear I heard a mouse last night,” your roommate used to say, back when you both lived in Winslow 3. Now whenever you walk past Stimson, all you can see are mice. They have built a home for themselves in the abandoned hallways of Connor. They seem to watch you through the windows through the cracking mesh screens, leer at you with their vacuous stares. One of them seems to be wearing a crown. They have colonized the land that was once yours, made it their own. They live amongst the ruins. They are all that is left.

For the last few years, nature has been waging its own war against the aging collection of buildings called Stimson. First came the mice, but then the spiders, and the moths. They live in the showers, buried into the carpets, hidden underneath the closet doors. And do you remember the bees? An entire swarming colony of them. “Docile,” the Public Safety email said they were, but when you saw them, you knew they were anything but. Their buzzing seemed to you like screaming, like a warning, Stay out. Or, possibly, Stay away.

The new campus fulcrum, Mary Fisher, looks upon Stimson with jealousy. It has glass windows that, for some reason, are cloaked in black fabric, and updated appliances and cool orange chairs. But you know better. The orange chairs are too high for anyone to comfortably sit upon. The white floors are too clean, they smell like Lysol, sterilized and shiny. There are no stains here. Mary Fisher wages a war against the nature that controls Stimson now, fights back. It says, You may have won that battle, but you will not take me.

In sandwich line at Mary Fisher the other day, you overheard a freshman say to another freshman, “Stimson? I don’t even know where that is.” You have been here for a thousand years, and these freshman are so young and new and you feel sorry for them. You think of the smell, of the line outside by the corkboard, of the mice you cohabited with, of the recycled promise of its downfall. And you smile to yourself, because Stimson was more than just a building that may eventually be conquered, it was a talisman, a memento, an inspiration, of resilience and strength. An old friend that smiles at you sadly from the far side of Van Meter, but you never quite have the energy to go and say hello.

Space Log Day 250

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Photo credit: https://mic.com/articles/108854/

Today we got our final message from The Department. It came through right in the middle of our weekly U.S. History lesson. For once, class was actually interesting — Kennedy had just gotten shot in the head, and the communications system started beeping. Not the usual ringing that happens when we get an email or a movie, but beeping, like one of those practice alarms that happens sometimes when you’re watching cable. Usually, when we get a message, the ringing stops until one of us has time to go accept the message. But now, the beeping abruptly stopped, and when Mrs. S went to the computer to accept the message, there was nothing there.

Then, later, I was with Gwen and Jake and Zara, hiding in Jake’s hidden cave behind Mr. B’s office. Zara was playing The Sims on her laptop, and Gwen was trying to convince Jacob to drag  the Keurig from Mrs. S’ office back here so we could make hot cocoa without Mrs. S bugging us about food rations.

“Yeah, because the last time you cooked it went so well,” Jake said.

“Will you get over that!” Gwen said. “It was months ago! And Gina did most of the cooking anyway!”

“Leave me out—” I was responding when the alarm went off again, shrieking out of the speakers. I hadn’t even known there were speakers in this secret room, but there must have been some kind of connection to the comms system that we hadn’t known about.

It was everywhere, like a fire drill from back when we were in regular school, except a thousand times louder, and it shook through the walls, making the floors vibrate and into my bones. We all looked at each other in complete shock — nothing like this had ever happened on the ship before.

Zara pulled her headphones out. “What are we supposed to do?”

But none of us knew. The ship didn’t have any kind of emergency evacuation procedures (if this was even that kind of emergency); the only way out was out, into space, into the nothingness.

“We should probably go find Mrs. S or Mr. B,” said Jake.

That sounded good, because even though I knew they would’ve mentioned if we were going to have some kind of drill today, the idea that they might have more knowledge about what was happening was comforting. I couldn’t stop seeing Mrs. S’ confused face from class earlier today, when the beeping started for the first time and then stopped.

We hurried to crawl through the tiny door to Mr. B’s office, but we hadn’t even made it to the hallway before the beeping subsided and a booming voice replaced it.

“THE ALLURE,” it said, even louder than the beeping had been. It sounded robotic, like Siri reading a text message, but also deep and male. Creepy. “WE HAVE READ YOUR MESSAGES. WE HAVE KEPT CORRESPONDENCE. IT HAS BEEN TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DAYS SINCE YOU WOKE UP. THIS IS THE END.”

“The end?” Gwen whispered.

“THIS IS THE END,” the voice said again. “YOU WILL NOT HEAR FROM US AGAIN.”

And then the voice was gone, and the walls and floors weren’t rumbling anymore, and the four of us were alone in the silent, dark hallway, gripping each other with shaking hands.

“Was that The Department?” I asked.

“Let’s just find everyone else,” said Jake.

Zara gasped. “The food stores! They left us up here with no food stores. They knew!”

We found everyone else in one of the classrooms. Mr. B had his head in his hands. Callum Lang and Nico Soto and Tommy Filt were sitting underneath one of the tables. They didn’t look up  when we walked in.

“What did they mean by ‘this is the end’?” Alexandra was asking.

Mrs. S took a deep breath. Her glasses were on the table in front of her; I’d never seen her without them, and her eyes looked smaller, her face rounder and younger.

“This was our mission,” she said. “They didn’t tell us until now, because…we’d never have taken it otherwise.”

“We didn’t take it,” Zara said. “We didn’t have a choice.”

Jake came around to Mrs. S and put a hand on her shoulder. It felt strangely formal, but he was probably scared that she’d yell at him if he attempted any other kind of touching.

“This was our mission,” she repeated. “To come up here and report back to them. To come up here and get left.”

So that’s it, I guess. That’s our destiny, our purpose. To keep floating until the ship runs out of fuel. To keep eating until we run out of food. To keep breathing until we run out of air. To keep writing back to The Department, to you, until we run out of life.

Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but this is going to be my last letter. Hopefully, whoever you are, you’ve read my messages for the last two hundred and fifty days, and gotten to know a little about us eight delinquents who had no choice but to be flung into space. Hopefully we’ve left our mark on you, at least, if we can never make a mark on anyone else again.

Love from,

Me

Space Log Day 223

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Photo credit: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/news/

Good morning.

Last night, I found out something potentially life-changing. Remember how I said that Jake seemed to be semi-regularly stealing from Mr. B, and how Mr. B seemed to be hiding something from me when I visited his office last week?

Turns out Jake and Mr. B have been conspiring. There’s a teeny-tiny little door that Jake found beneath Mr. B’s desk and he went through it. He told me he hoped that it was a hidden food pantry, or something exciting like a laser tag arena (“You’re an idiot,” I told him), but it was just a small, hidden-away room behind Mr. B’s office. But what did he decide to do with it? Make it a clubhouse, a secret refuge from Mrs. S.

Apparently when he told Mr. B about it, Mr. B got quite mad, as a) Jake did not have permission to be in Mr. B’s office at the time, b) Mr. B was not allowed to support us having a place to literally hide from Mrs. S, and c) Mr. B wanted the secret room for himself, as his office is the size of a match box, and this new room would add a few extra square feet.

But then while Mr. B was sleeping in his bunk, Jake snuck in and began decorating it. Also he put a padlock on the door so that Mr. B couldn’t get in. (This is the part where you go ahhhh, and remember that Jake is a delinquent.)

And this was all a few weeks ago, when I didn’t even know about it!!! Jake’s been sneaking into Mr. B’s office to decorate this secret clubhouse almost every night. Of course Mr. B knew, because he’d seen the padlock the next morning, and of course noticed the stream of black paint coming through his office and down the hallway (he is the janitor), but Jake would not submit to any deal Mr. B offered to share the room. So that’s why Jake’s been semi-regularly stealing Mr. B’s vacuum—I never imagined Jake would actually be cleaning with it!—and also why Mr. B was so excited when we made the agreement to leave his office alone, weeks ago when we were convincing him to convince Mrs. S to let us throw a Day 200 party.

So this is absolutely crazy!!!!!! Jake woke me up last night to take me to the newly-finished-decorated secret room. At first I was reluctant as anything to get out of bed, because it was just after 1 in the morning and Mrs. S made us move milk crates of printer paper across the ship from stores into her office, because she prints that much, and if you’ve ever lifted a crate of printer paper, you’d know why I didn’t want to get out of bed. But Jake made me, and it was completely worth it.

The crawl through the tiny door beneath Mr. B’s desk into complete blackness was scary as hell (Jake forgot his flashlight), but when I was about halfway through, Jake flicked on the fairy lights he’d strung across the whole ceiling. He said he found them in Zara Hemmings’ suitcase, probably to decorate her bunk with, but he figured she wouldn’t mind him stealing them once he showed her the secret room.

Jake’s decorations were incredible, considering that he had to find things that were already on the ship. In one corner was a bean bag that Jake made himself out of cloth and rice. He said he made it before we knew about our possible food rations issue, but rice had to be boiled anyway so one day we’ll just cut open the bean bag and eat the rice. On one of the walls was a giant Taylor Lautner poster, also stolen from Zara Hemmings. And there was a rug from the storeroom, a desk from one of the classrooms we’ve never used, and a monitor screen for us to watch movies on.

So I guess this is where I’ll be spending the rest of my free time for…the rest of my life.

I’ll write more soon!!

Love from,

Me

Space Log Day 215

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Photo credit: https://www.videoblocks.com

Halloween was last week and so we celebrated with another party, even though we had less pudding rations for dessert than usual, as we’re trying to conserve food. Zara Hemmings made us all dress up in costumes. Nico Soto and Callum Lang were Mrs. S and Mr. B, and Mrs. S got really mad about it because they snuck into her room and stole pantyhose. I think Mr. B thought it was funny, but Mrs. S kept glaring at him to be mad, too, that he had to pretend.

Every day after that has been pretty boring. Back to our regularly scheduled educations, I guess. We learned how to test the vents for optimum airflow, how to program the communications system to do big math for us, and we spent three days studying the American Revolution. At one point, Mrs. S tried to assign us to research each of our own states, but Jake’s from Oregon, which didn’t even exist yet, so then we just watched Schoolhouse Rock videos about America in general.

I was having trouble with polynomial long division on Thursday, so during our lunch break, I went to Mr. B’s office to ask if he could help — Mrs. S was chatting about the Housewives with Alex, and I didn’t want to bother her. Mr. B was having his lunch, too, of dehydrated vegetables and some weird mix of chemicals that kind of tasted like coffee that he cooked up a few months ago.

“Ah, Gina,” he said when I knocked on his door.

“That was very ominous, Mr. B,” I said.

He laughed a little, but I couldn’t tell if it was because what I said was actually funny, or if it was just so awkward that he had to laugh so that it wasn’t as awkward as it could’ve been. “What do you need?”

I think he was trying to hide something from me. He kept his body angled completely towards me, with his hands behind his back. His office is very small, a secluded room towards the back of the ship near the boiler room, so it’s always quite cozy. He’s decorated it with pictures of home the way the rest of us have decorated our bunks.

“Long division,” I told him.

“Ah,” he said again.

I got the sense that he wanted me to leave, so I offered, “We could go to the kitchen, maybe? Where there’s the big table?”

Mr. B nodded. “Yeah, yeah.”

I know it’s all mysterious and weird and all that Mr. B’s keeping secrets, but he’s so nice that I don’t feel like I need to bust him. It’s a small ship — we all have things that we want to keep private.

I don’t know why I’m telling you this. You don’t know Mr. B or me or any of us. But I guess it’s kind of nice to know that someone is out there, reading this. Maybe you go home to a partner or a family and you sit down for dinner at 6 p.m., and maybe you have Thanksgiving plans, and maybe sometimes you look up at the sky and the moon and you think of us up here. I think that would be nice.

I wish you could write back someday.

Love from,

Me

Space Log Day 199

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Picture Credit: https://www.gingdu.com

One more day until Day 200, which is crazy! It feels like we’ve been here for entire years, but it’s only been a few months. Jake and I have been trying to convince Mrs. S to let us throw a party for the special occasion but she is very adamant that tomorrow be just another regular day. Mr. B said he’d help us work on her, but only after we promised him that we’d stay away from the janitor’s closet for a week. (Apparently Jake has been semi-regularly stealing the good vacuum from Mr. B’s closet—I have no clue as to why, but Mr. B just about lit up when Jake said he’d leave it alone.)

In the meantime, while we wait for Mrs. S to acquiesce, I have convinced some of the others to help make decorations. Alex said she’d make a banner, and Tommy said he’d make a PowerPoint with pictures and inside jokes to document the first 200 days we’ve spent together. I asked Nico if he could make a playlist, but he still won’t talk to me after Gwen and I put glue into his hair gel.

On the other hand, amid all of this excitement, we are experiencing a slight crisis: we think we are running out of food. Mrs. S noticed for the first time last week, when we were making chili for the gazillionth time, and she realized that we only have three thousand cans of beans left. Now, you reading this from the safety of Earth, where beans grow in excess on trees (do beans grow on trees?), may be thinking the same thing that I did—three thousand cans of beans is a lot of beans.

But then Zara Hemmings did the math for me. If we use three cans of beans a week, we will run out of beans in twenty years. Again, that might also seem like a long time, until you remember that as far as we know, we will be on this ship for the rest of our lives, heading deeper and deeper into space, where there are obviously no grocery stores to stock up on more beans. (And we usually use closer to six cans of beans a week.) These are only our beans stores, but if we have around the same amount of cans for the rest of our food options, we are about doomed.

Because I’m so good with the communications system and also very good at writing compared to everyone else, Mrs. S made me draft a very nice letter back to The Department asking if there was possibly a mistake with our food stores, or if they could send a small ship out with more food that could somehow fly extra fast and catch up to us. Nico swears there’s another pantry somewhere on the ship where there’s more food that The Department just forgot to tell us about, but I have a feeling that if there was more food on the ship, they would’ve found somewhere in the thousand-plus page ship manual to mention it. So if you get the chance to ask around about that and then get back to us about it, that’d be great.

I think that’s all for today.

Love from,

Me

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