Taking the Trash In

I’ve got deadlines and places to go, people to interview, you know, being a journalism undergraduate. Alex is a junior studying physics at SUNY New Paltz. We’re dumpster-diving through New Paltz streets during garbage week instead of doing homework.

“I’m going to get my insurance policy tomorrow, go to the DMV and ride my bike this week! Woo! Can’t wait!” Alex shrieks.

He’s referring to his new toy. He can’t wait to ride his Kawasaki Ninja, a bulk black speed demon that hasn’t made it out of his driveway until he gets plates. He went all the way to Massachusetts to get it with money he made tutoring.

Alex says he has a good 40 hours of free time every week. You must understand, Alex is 20 years old and tutors other students in physics. But most of the time, he’s unicycling to class or p-p-pumping it up with workout DVDs.

At the moment, though, Alex is sprawled across the roof of his girlfriend’s moving GMC Terrain, clutching onto whatever he can. She spears close into garbage heaps. I worry I’ll hear a thud, and I’ll have one less roommate for next year.

Alex finds a stuffed snake and carries a heavy 42-inch television into the SUV. “It may not even work,” he says.

It’s been two hours already, but Alex isn’t concerned about his literature paper.

“It was due on Friday, but she usually checks it Monday morning, so the class has figured that it’s OK by Sunday night,” he explains.

“Wow. I don’t have classes like that anymore,” I said. “I have a few assignments due tonight! It never ends, but I love it.”

“Can you drop me off?” I ask Alex’s girlfriend. “I promised to finish my homework.”

Jennifer Von Willer

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