friedsf (friedsf) wrote,

Visiting Yale

It is now 4:30 P.M. Monday 16 October as I begin to write this. I have spent most of the day out walking the Yale campus and up to about ten blocks or so in every direction from the main campus quadrangle (which is bloody huge and is populated by a number of large bronze statues). I dropped in to a great many of the little shops, book stores, cafes, art galleries, and specialty shops that line the streets everywhere. Exhausting, but I’ve seen a lot of great things and everywhere are the Yale students, and let me tell you, I’ve heard dozens of different languages spoken, and seen students from almost every nation I do think. And there must be close to two hundred little restaurants, cafes, bistros, grills, sandwich shops, bakeries, coffee shops, all within a half mile ringing all around the campus, and all within easy walking distance. If there is an ethnic or nationality related food you crave, there are restaurants here specializing in it. From Ethiopian to Creole, from Greek and Turkish, to Irish Pubs and Tea Rooms, from Italian to Mexican and from anyplace to anywhere. Indian, or authentic Pakistani, everything you can imagine is here. It is just bloody amazing. And on top of it all, just next to one of the several Yale’s Arts Halls, is the oldest hamburger stand in the United States, a very small rustic brick box almost two hundred years old. And everywhere, even in to that hamburger stand, the architecture is just mind boggling.

Al Franken is going to be here at Yale this Wednesday night to give a free program in which he will be speaking for about two hours and the general public is invited. I’ve been wondering if that is why Steven Spielberg is here or is going to be here soon. Mr. Franken is here at the behest of the Yale Film School, and Spielberg has always been a big supporter of film schools and of indy films. I think he may also be a good friend of Mr. Franken.

There is a ton of things going on in the arts around here. Plays, films, art shows and etc.
Something is going on almost every night.

You walk the streets in and around campus, and it is beautiful and surprisingly energizing. All around you are young men and women, all in their late teens to early twenties, and every one is as smart as a whip. And every one moves with a certain subdued grace that comes from both being in such a beautiful place walking these hallowed grounds so rich with history, and in the knowing that they are there by right of the fact that they are among the select few, that they are privileged to be there for the simple fact that they have been judged to be in fact the brightest and the best the world has. This is not snobbishness I speak of, but an inner confidence of very smart people who know who they are, know where they are going, and are intent on unleashing to the maximum the potential of the educational opportunities that surround them here. These are as I said the brightest and the best, and they are also the most motivated. And it is obvious too that most all of them know how to take care of them selves, or have been able to afford the being taken care of. It shows in their grooming, their clothing, and in their manners. Most shine like new pennies, flawless skin, straight teeth, clear eyed. Clothing may be radical or stylishly conservative, but whether the outfit worn is kicky, punk, artfully and intentionally tacky, or euro, every detail is well thought out, effectively implemented and every piece of quality and well tailored. And they know they are the future and all carry within, at least to the discerning eye, a core of iron determination to become one of those whose lives and works will be at those levels that will affect us all.

Yale is an amazing place. I told Natha I wouldn’t mind us having a little apartment above one of the nearby shops, just so we could be surrounded by this energy all the time. Living in the shadow of one of the nations highest places of learning, constantly in the midst of the brightest young minds of our times, and taking advantage of the cultural events that are constantly at high boil here would be a remarkable thing. But I do wonder if I could withstand it. Today, being on Yale campus, spending hours in its on-campus shops and huge bookstore/coffee shop, was like spending time breathing pure oxygen. Refreshing and stimulating to a huge degree, but how much of that can one take, how long can one sustain being so stimulated, and how long can one be immersed in that stream, that international river of bright culturally and intellectually gifted youth, before it starts eating away at one’s own ego like a river of acid? Perhaps not long. Or perhaps the stimulation would drive me to higher aspirations myself. I do not know, but I do know that as energizing as this visit to this land of Oz is, I will be grateful to slink back home again, glad to have glimpsed this vision into the magical milieu of this academic bastion, to have been able to peer into the heart of that fiery furnace of education where the bones of the future are being forged, and I will sink with relief into the comfort of my old couch and hear and feel only the energies being emitted from the soft warm purring of my ancient cat. It will be good to be home again when I get there. And right now, after a day of walking and being so heavily stimulated, a cat and a couch sounds pretty good.


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