Alex arrived at my house for our interview a few minutes earlier than expected. I was still straightening up the room when she came in and caught me in my skivvies. I introduced myself and then apologized for my lack of punctuality and pants as she made herself comfortable at the table. She kindly suggested I “go put some pants on.” After I returned, we proceeded to share more than an hour of stories, gossip and general ridiculousness, most of which was not suitable for this publication.
First question: How do you get “Alex” from “Elizabeth”?
Okay, so I’m Elizabeth Alexandra, my mother is Liz, her mom is Betty, it’s one of those matrilineal naming things that’s not so common. I was the only girl, and I have two awesome older brothers.
Nifty! I’m actually the fourth “Peter” in my family, but I’m not a junior – weird connection.
It’s frustrating sometimes like when I fill out forms, but I do get to take advantage of things like my mom’s Blockbuster account.
So you’re from Atlanta. The logical next question is, are you a debutante?
A huge group of my best friends from high school “debbed,” but I didn’t.
“Debbed?” Did I say it right?
Yeah – “to deb” – it’s a verb, meaning “to be a debutante.” “To deb.” I didn’t do it just because it’s not my culture; my parents aren’t from the south.
Ah, that would also explain the lack of a drawl as well!
We moved to Atlanta when I was two. My mom’s from Westchester County, my dad’s from the New York metro area, Jersey side. And I’m very proud of it – there are a lot of nice parts of New Jersey, but people like to hate on it now, especially because of … you know.
Yeah. Which was actually the theme of the party I went to last night. [Touching the top of her hair] My hair’s still kind of poofed, it’s gross. I’m sorry you’re seeing me like this … whatever, it’s Saturday morning and I did just see you in your boxers.
Touché. Anyways, I love the South. Mostly because of Paula Deen.
I need to show you this Internet meme called “Paula Deen Riding Things.” It’s just pictures of her holding this little wine glass superimposed onto things.
[We visit pauladeenridingthings.com]
This. Is. Epic. Thank you so much for showing this.
No problem. If this is one thing I can contribute to the Williams community, I’ll be happy.
How is your last week before break going?
Actually, all I can think about is how nice it’ll be after spring break when Paresky lawn is free of snow and everyone’s sitting out eating lunch. That’s my favorite part of Williams, and that’s what you go away remembering every year.
Ahh – pastels, Ray-Bans, Vitamin D.
It really reminds me of the South, everyone in dresses and just chilling. I love tent parties too, though there weren’t any last year, which was a bummer. I have a feeling that this spring is going to be a lot better, one for the record-books.
No pun intended?
Oh my gosh, are you a writer? But yeah, also, people are just happier in the spring. I have this theory that people are nicer in the South just because it’s sunnier longer.
You were abroad in the fall, correct?
I was in Barcelona; it’s an amazing city. One problem though – I’ve spoken Spanish for a while, so I thought I’d be all set, but everyone there speaks Catalan!
Is that completely different from speaking Spanish?
It’s like if Spanish and French had a baby, it would be Catalan. And it’s kind of a weird baby. When I first got there and heard people speaking it, I was like “whoa…”
How did you navigate classes and such?
I was at this giant, terrifying, bureaucratic, badly run university that’s like the oldest university in Spain, with only Catalan-speaking people. It was so hard to find classes that were in regular Spanish, and I was still sitting there in class everyday almost crying, trying to write as fast as I could to get everything down. It was such a great life experience.
That sounds really intense though, not the typical leisurely “abroad” trip.
It’s funny, because people say all the time “It’s so easy being abroad, you only have to pass” – I was lucky that I passed, and I went to class every day. My friend and I would fuel up, get some caffeine before class and we’d be sitting there, twitching and sweating, writing as fast as we could.
So the class experience on the whole was … ?
A ridiculous experience. The boys who sat behind us would laugh at us during class, and the professors are really rude to all the students. It was outrageous.
[A squirrel outside the window distracts us and changes the course of our conversation.]
Sorry, we have these dumb squirrels that break into our trash hutch and leave junk all over the place.
Oh that’s okay. I’m going to tell one of my friends about this, and if you see someone lurking in your backyard taking pictures of them on her phone, it’s her. She loves squirrels. Also, freshman year I got chased down Mission Hill by a raccoon. It was kind of a low moment.
You should have pulled some sick Black Swan dance moves on the raccoon. I heard that you were a dancer in years past.
Full disclosure – I was a ballerina in my youth. I did The Nutcracker every year, and I was a mouse and a “party girl,” as in a girl in the party scene.
I was in the Boston Ballet for a year. I’m not sure what that means/how it’s relevant though.
Another weird connection! I think that means we’re just meant to be good friends. And that they needed boys.