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To Wander the Orange Night as a Naked, Madman Vigilante

April 6th, 2004

I traveled back in time to a hallucinatory and romanticized version of my first few weeks at Tufts, with the specific purpose, a la Back to the Future or the odd flashback jaunt in Final Fantasy VII (which I had been playing the night before), of averting some historical disaster.

Tufts was orange and twilit, its streets packed full of visiting parents, roaming bands of debaucherous freshmen, and greek organization talent scouts. The shrubberies were perfectly groomed, the imported flowers were blooming merrily in the dark, and there were a lot of glass-walled lounges strewn about everywhere that do not actually exist. Also, it later became apparent that an entire section of the Medford side of campus (and part of Medford) had been demolished by a widespread and disastrous fire. As you drove past you could see the old people whose houses they had been picking through the wreckage salvaging what they could. On the other side of the street, the Tufts Side, the dwellers in Tilton and Bush Halls were partying in the ruins in mad post-apocalyptic style.

Diana and I wandered about, taking in the sights, and performing whatever mundane tasks for which our presence was necessary but minimally important(again, as in Final Fantasy). We visited her dark and purple-lit dorm room to collect her fencing equipment, during which jaunt I gushed to her about how amazing it was to find Tufts so vibrant and new–how it made me feel vibrant and new as well–a return to innocence, maybe. This wasn’t how it had really been; I knew that. But I thought it was simply the exuberation of hindsight that brought about the change. Which I suppose in one sense it was.

We stopped in at one of the glass-walled lounges, sat in couches upholstered in dark blue and discussed our ‘future’ with those we happened to meet: Erin, and Paul from Omaha of all people, who I knew just as well as he did hadn’t gone to Tufts. But that didn’t seem to bother him. He asked me if I was excited for the Phish new years’ show, which suggested to me that this must be 1999. I wanted to tell him about it–that it would be the best show I had ever seen and would ever see. But that was incongruous with the timeline, and I didn’t want to fuck with the continuum.

With plastic fencing foils, Erin and I dueled our way around the lounge, dodging the bewildered and annoyed parents. We kept pretty even–the score was four hits to five when we quit.

In the demolished area around Tilton, there had been some kind of tear in the fabric of space-time that allowed the young, vibrant tufts to interact with the doomed, bleak-future version, and which had as a side effect created a bubble of reduced gravity. The drunken freshmen were taking full advantage of this, led by Ara Yarian. Out of curiosity, I joined them for a time, bouncing moon-gravity-style through the torn out walls, sitting perched atop shattered furniture, drinking shitty beer. Ara did not recognize me, as if he were just some kid I had not yet met at Tufts (a la Aidan, for example).

I spent the last part of the dream rummaging through my cluttered garage (which somehow had been transported into the post-apocalyptic micro-g zone) in search of the props I would need to wander the orange night as a naked, madman vigilante. My dad would occasionally come out and yell at me to go to bed. I ignored him. I had collected a tiny, nipple-slung flashlight and a leather satchel which I can only assume had my camera in it, and was in the act of selecting a suitable wooden cudgel from among my arsenal when the alarm awoke me.

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