June 05, 2006

Travelling Bandwidth

Hello, my lovelies, and cheerful greetings from Ithaca, NY! I’m here with my dad for a few days (on our way to the greater Boston area later in the week), and today he’s off being an intonational celebrity at Cornell so I’m on my own to enjoy the town and its free downtown WiFi access.

Ithaca, if you didn’t know, very nearly became my home after high school. Cornell, all sprawling greens and plunging gorges, was actually the university that made me want to move to North America in the first place, and if Emerson hadn’t admitted me first (and with a hefty scholarship) I would have ended up here. And just imagine what such a world would have been like:

•This blog wouldn’t be called exBostonian.
•I never would have met Steven Pinker, Robin Williams, or the guys from Fubar.
•More significantly, Steven Pinker, Robin Williams, and the guys from Fubar never would have met me.
•Countless McGill Improv members would have had to pay for accommodation in Edinburgh!
•Adrienne would be morbidly obese from years of eating nothing but Kraft Dinner and pizza.
•I would be a hippie.

Being back here, now, I’m reminded of just why I liked it so much in the first place. It’s one of those man-stubbornly-triumphing-over-nature places— like, you wonder who the idiots were who decided to build a town in a place where you can’t walk half a mile without falling into a ravine. The main road connecting Cornell and surrounding Collegetown to downtown Ithaca and the Flats is so steep that my ears actually popped driving down it in the car last night. One of the people we’re staying with— who may be getting on a bit in years, but who nonetheless owns a mountain bike and goes for regular adventures on it— actually hesitated and looked kind of dubious when I told him I’d be walking up the hill later today.

But it does make for something special. There are waterfalls, everywhere. Like, seriously, everywhere. There are so many waterfalls that some of them don’t even have names— settlers just saw them and thought ‘Jesus, another one.’ And the town itself is friendly and cozy and, thanks to all the students, still fun and hip despite its size. This morning I went into what I can only describe as Said The Gramophone: The Store. This tiny music store, barely bigger than my living room and stocking mainly vinyl, managed to cram into its two racks of CDs: Architecture in Helsinki, Devendra Banhart, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Wolf Parade, Okkervil River, Joanna Newsom, etc., etc. etc. The only thing they didn’t have was The Arcade Fire.

Anyway, I’m off to start my hike back up the hill, visit some waterfalls, and further ponder what life as a Cornellian (Cornellite? Cornelligan? Cornello? Cornellephant?) might have been like. More in a day or two.

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