I met Matthew Wright ’12 in his entry – Sage F. Holding a plastic Wal-Mart bag containing a label maker and other things that freshmen like, he led me into his dorm room where his roommate, Diogenes Nunez ’12, was watching animÃƒÂ© playing on a computer screen.
I understand that you are a freshman from Berkeley, Calif., but I ask you this: who is Matthew Wright, really?
I like listening to music, playing Magic the Gathering, watching Family Guy and animÃƒÂ©.
Like Dragon Ball Z?
[Wright speaks in a familiarly casual California drawl, occasionally ending sentences with an upward inflection as if kindly seeking approval for statements.]
Nah, I watch Avatar. I also really like school.
That’s cool. How was your first day?
It was good. I was kind of worried because I thought there were going to be lots of tests and homework on the first day, but it wasn’t that bad. I can handle it.
You can do anything you put your mind to. You said you like Magic, have you met my boy Bill Jannen ’09 yet? He gets down with Magic the Gathering.
[Wright begins to wrestle with the packaging around his recently acquired label maker but does not lose focus on the conversation.]
Yeah, I met Bill. He’s taking me to the pre-release for Shards of Alara.
[He sees the confused look on my face and hands me a card with a depiction of a knight in armor riding a lion. The lion looks noble.]
I didn’t even know people could ride lions. But honestly, since I turned 13 you and Bill are the only people I’ve known who still play Magic.
Well back in Berkeley my friends and I would draft every Friday night.
It’s like making decks.
Oh! So each deck has to have different components. Like each one has to have a few crazy goblin dudes, and then one really hardcore giant ice worm thing that’s like an 8/9 and then you have to have a bunch of different mana, right?
So you do know about this! [The amount of glee in his voice is tremendous.]
Yeah, I’ve always dug Magic. I tried to play once but the other guys were really mean and made fun of me. So now I just appreciate the cards because they look so cool. And most of the elf women are total babes.
Well, check out this one!
[He hands me a Magic card with a voluptuous blue-skinned woman on it.]
Wow, a Dream Thief! She can be a thief in my dream any night.
Women deserve the utmost respect. Guys do too; respect is universal.
[He is still struggling with the label maker. He now tries twisting the packaging to open it. Little headway is made.]
That’s a great response. I hear that you listen to Enya – is this true?
I love Enya! Her music is good.
[He now uses a pen to gouge the label maker’s packaging. This strategy looks foolish and dangerous.]
I don’t think a pen is going to work. And I didn’t even know that Enya was one person. Can we listen to a song?
[He plays Enya’s “Only Time” from his computer.]
Oh, I’ve heard this. This song is sick! Pound it.
[I extend my fist towards him and he smashes his fist into mine.]
On a scale of 1-10, how street smart are you?
I’d say I’m a 1.5.
Do you ever wear shorts?
Not much, mostly because of that cold issue.
What cold issue?
It’s really cold in the mornings! Plus, you can do anything in pants.
Anything? Can you cradle a baby? Can you capture the beauty of a bird’s flight in a poem … in pants?
You know what I meant. [The label maker is now out of its package and he begins to press buttons on it.]
Who would you rather room with: Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins?
Who are they? [He laughs.]
Diogenes, do you know who they are?
Diogenes: [Without looking up from the screen, Diogenes raises his right pointer finger towards the ceiling above his head] No.
He’s an awesome roommate. We get along really well.
Diogenes, Matthew, I request that you listen to “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins immediately. Matthew, please YouTube that right now.
Diogenes: Um …
Diogenes, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
Yes, it was only a request. [The song begins per my request.]
I don’t like this at all. [He looks uncomfortable.]
That’s okay. It’s only one of my favorite songs in the world. What other music do you have on that computer? Got any rap?
No, no rap. Here, this is really good.
He plays a song by Aqualung. It’s not rap but I can dig it. We both dance contently in the dimly lit dorm room while Diogenes keeps his eyes on the animÃƒÂ© in front of him. Stranger things have happened.