So, we’re not going to be seeing a lot of you from this point on, eh?
No, no, I’m going to Oxford.
Oxford, really? That’s for the whole year, of course.
Whole year, whole year.
Are you ready to deal with that much Britishness?
Not at all. But we bailed them out of a couple of wars. I think I can handle them. Go Joe!
What would you say is going to be the best part of being in a foreign culture? Assuming, of course, that you’ve never been out of this little rut you’ve carved for yourself.
I’ve actually never been out of the country. It’s going to be my first time past the central time zone. I’ve never even been to Cali. Been to Aruba, once. That was fun.
Yeah. Nice beach.
Scantily clad women as far as the eye can see?
Good answer. So, apparently, you’ve managed to finagle your way into getting a single in Oxford. The only person in recent memory, some might say.
Yeah, well, I’m a slick bastard. It’s actually going to be tight. The third floor is going to be kickin.’
[Gus Whyte ’04 peeks his head in the door.]
Hey, how do you feel about missing IM softball?
Ooh, it’s going to be rough deserting my Flying Dutchmen. As a pitcher, I felt like I really led the team. If not on the mound, then with batting. I was really the spiritual core. Yeah.
He’s a five-tool player, this Ben
If nothing else, a tool.
Very nice. So this summer, you got to be outdoors a lot.
Yeah, I ran the swim program at a summer camp. It was a day camp, a lot of fun. Good tan. But too much responsibility.
And given that Baltimore is “The City That Reads,” whatever that means, did you get tons of reading done this summer? You know, sitting up on the lifeguard chair, throwing down a little pulp fiction of some kind?
Not particularly. They tend to want to have you actually watching the kids that you teach. It’s a new thing these days. But I did listen to “The Da Vinci Code” on a book-on-tape on the way up from Maryland. It was completely engrossing, and I couldn’t stop it the entire way up. I was hooked.
Did you get to yell at kids a lot?
Oh, always. It’s one of my favorite things to do, actually. When they don’t do things, just making up rules as I go along. Keep ‘em in check, keep ‘em on their toes.
Now, some scientists have said that the best way to teach a kid to swim is to throw him off of the end of a diving board. Is that a lifeguard-certified technique?
Certified? Like, every teacher has their own methods. Some kids, that’s the best way for them to learn. I can look the other way now and then. You know, if someone has alternative methods, I mean, who am I to judge?
I’m certainly not one to judge.
Absolutely not. We did keep the drownings to a minimum, though.
So Ben, let me ask you a question. Why are you even here right now? What are you doing in my house?
Um, I’m squatting. I’m practicing for my future post-college hobo-ing. Actually, I’ve been up here two weeks now, going away for a year, wanted to see people. All the seniors that I’m friends with are sort of pissed that I’m deserting them, so I had to appease them a bit. Give them a bit more Ben.
So where have you been resting your head at?
I’ve been crashing on couches, staying with a bunch of people. In Bryant some, but also living in Zak’s room.
That would be Zak Haviland ’04?
That is him. I sleep in his bed a lot, actually. Originally, the spooning was a little awkward, but eventually, you know, we came into a nook.
A nook, eh? A nook and a cranny?
I’m not so sure about the cranny. I do know that my underwear has been disappearing, and I find that sort of upsetting.
Hey now. O.K., Ben, any last words for the Williams townsfolk before you head off into the big world?
[Thinks.] Silence is golden, and all I’m hearing is hushes. That’s Talib Kweli, by the way.
Actually, Omri Bloch [’04] stole my Talib CD, and I’ve never gotten over that.