Zane Martin ’13 was unfashionably early for our 4 p.m. meeting in Paresky. I later learned this was because he was desperately searching for an excuse to put off reading Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Excepting the plaid neon green and black socks, he seemed normal enough. Little did I know.
So you’re a theater guy?
Yeah, but only as of late. When I came to Williams I was on the swim team, kind of like, “I’m a swimmer, I’m an athlete, look at me.” Then Saturday morning came around and I had to get up to go to practice and I thought, “Hmm, I could be sleeping in.” Plus, I’ve always wanted to do more acting.
Are you sure you’re prepared to be a “nonner”?
It’s what athletes here call non-athletes. There’s actually an Urban Dictionary entry for it – something about people who sit on the non-TV side of Mission.
Haha, yeah, I have no problem being defined as that. I’m a nonner. Or perhaps I should say I’m a nonner when I want to be. I swam for four years in high school and so I defined myself as a swimmer. I think I mostly swam because there was nothing else to do. But since coming to Williams I’ve found all sorts of other interesting things, like looking for ’shrooms in the backwoods of Massachusetts. I guess it kind of depends on which peer group I’m hanging out with. I have a lot of athletes in my entry so sometimes I’ll go get dinner with the bros, you know, be adventurous and sit on the TV side. I guess it also depends on what’s on TV. Right now is March Madness and I really couldn’t care any less about college basketball, but if football is on, I’ll watch that. Speaking of Urban Dictionary, that makes sense because everything is on Urban Dictionary. My sister has an entry under “Quinn Martin.”
Yeah, one of the definitions, not about her, says that it is someone who likes to eat dumplings a lot. That’s the thing about Urban Dictionary. Because anybody can post on it you get a bunch of weird people with dumpling fetishes.
On the subject of looking for exotic fungi, do you usually go to Hopkins Forest?
No, that’s not nearly far enough out there. You have to go beyond Hopkins Forest. Or toward North Adams.
Do you suppose there’s a correlation between the behavior of people from North Adams and the prevalence of mushrooms?
Haha, no. I live nearby here, so I can’t say anything bad about North Adams. I actually kind of like it. It’s hometown pride.
What about “townies”?
Townies! Well, here’s the thing. I grew up in Washington, D.C., and lived there until eighth grade when my family moved to around here. It was actually a really positive thing for me because I got out of the pressure cooker of D.C., which was totally crazy. So I came here, culture shocked, got into academics and avoided the whole townie thing. I’ve come to realize that you’re either a townie or you make fun of them. Becoming a townie is an interesting process, too. You’re friends with someone in middle school, you go away for summer and then you come back for high school and it’s like, ‘Why do you have a beard?’ And then the next year, ‘Why do you have a pack of cigarettes?’ And then, finally, ‘Oh, bummer, you’re dropping out of school.’
So what are your academic plans?
Well, I haven’t decided on a major as of yet, but I really like math. I’m trying to come to terms with the realization that I might be a math major. But I’ve also taken courses in astrophysics and poetry. It’s my way of saying, “Watch me do liberal arts. Watch me liberally arstify myself. I go to Williams.”
Wait, where was that from?
It’s from the Voices thing that all freshmen do during First Days. I actually really enjoyed it. I mean, on one hand it’s a serious thing but on the other, it’s about life, and life is totally ridiculous. The reason I said that is because I just had campus tour guide training. Speaking of slogans, you know what has always bothered me? The Subway slogan. Because they do ‘Five dollar’ [holds up five fingers] then ‘foot’ and their hands are together. What does that have to do with foot? Now there’s the Subway on Spring Street, so hopefully they’ll read this feature and realize that they need to change their slogan, or at least the dance that goes with it.
Is leading tours your primary source of income?
No, I’m also a lifeguard. It’s one of the most boring jobs on campus because I work the shifts on Friday and Saturday morning. Can more people please go swimming during those times so I don’t have to sit around on the pool deck watching the same three old people struggle across the pool time and time again? And in the lifeguarding job, you’re supposed to take shifts with another guy. But the guy I work with is usually a no-show and he has no cell phone. So every Friday and Saturday morning I’m grumpy, sitting on the pool deck and asking myself why I am partnered with the only person in the school who doesn’t have a cell phone.
Why do you think you were selected to be One in 2000?
It’s because people don’t know what to do with me, probably because I’m socially awkward. They think I’m hilarious or they think I’m bizarre. That I’m enigmatic but mysterious probably distinguishes me from the other 1999.