Saturday, June 18, 2005

Urban Spelunking, Connecticut Edition
Posted by Sam at 10:57 PM

Today can be considered my first true day of Connecticut urban exploration. I'm in New Haven, in a Starbucks. I'm in a Starbucks because the first coffee shop that I attempted to exploit had a problem with their free wifi. That being, they didn't offer free wifi. I discovered this following the purchase of a coffee, of course. So, after inhaling the coffee (if there's one thing that I cannot see go to waste, it's a good cup of coffee), I found the nearest Starbucks. Another coffee was purchased. The laptop was opened. A wifi network was found. T-Mobile Hotspot. Please enter your username and password? What? Since when does Starbucks charge for their wifi? Grrr. Anyway...

I arrived here via Connecticut public transit. A.K.A. the bus. I've always said, "If you want to know the people, ride the bus." After this afternoon's experience however, I'm changing that adage to, "If you want to know the crazy people, ride the bus." No, it was a good ride. I made a friend too. I never got her name (only a grunt-like approximation), but I did find out that one of her main interests is cutting herself so that later, she can be amused by picking at some really well developed scabs. Good to know. I'll be sure to add her blood soaked business card to my roll-a-dex.

Downtown New Haven is a really interesting place. Home of Yale University. One of, if not the oldest university in the country. The architecture is phenomenal. It's old and gothic and creepy. I sort of feel like the Yale campus could have easily been used to film parts of the Harry Potter movies. Its got that hidden-secret-satanist-society feel to it. There is stained glass and painted glass work everywhere, elaborate stone carvings, hidden alcoves and mysterious doors too.

I ventured onto campus through the first open gateway that I could find. The resulting courtyard was incredibly lavish. Ahhh... the decadence of the intellectual elite. It seemed that I had found a dormitory area. Most doors where locked (after all, it is the summer). However, where there's a will, there's a way. I found a building that seemed as though it was undergoing heavy internal reconstruction. The side door was completely unlocked. So, without hesitation, I went in.

My first impression of the interior of a ripped-up-for-construction Yale University dormitory was this: What the!? Even with this place, in its torn-to-pieces state, it is still way nicer than any spot on my undergrad college's campus... by far. Don't get me wrong, I value my undergraduate education, but my school's architect had a little too much love for the right angle. It would have been nice to walk down halls like these on my way to class.

Goal Numero Uno for any urban spelunking adventure is to ascend to the highest point available. Climb baby, climb! The view is better, the area is less traveled, there is more to discover, and the air is thinner (I don't know why this last one is a benefit, but I felt it worth mentioning). So, I found some stairs, and I climbed and climbed. Five flights up and the regular stairwell turned into three more flights of a spiral staircase. The climb concluded on the eighth floor with a locked door and this foreboding message, written in blood: CAUTION! Trap Door in floor. Clearly it was a ploy... like those beware of dog signs that mark houses where obviously no dog lives... only an old widowed woman who doesn't believe in the banking system, so she hoards cash in used plastic shopping bags under her bed... not that I would know... but, anyway... The view was spectacular from up there. Each dorm room had its own fireplace too (like I said, straight out of Harry Potter).

The adventure was cut short by the sound of maintenance people doing that thing that they do... you know, maintaining stuff, yelling at trespassers, etc... I didn't want to get caught and have to say something like, "Ummm... I think I'm a little lost. Is this the mall? I was trying to find Hot Topic." Mainly though, I didn't want my stuff confiscated. So, I hauled ass down many flights of stairs, made a lot of noise, was very un-ninja-like, and found the nearest exit.

And now, here I am... highly caffeinated and without internet.

It's always a good thing to explore beyond the surface of a new environment (for me, anyway). I feel like it's more my home now that I've dug into it a bit. We'll see what else I discover in the next few months of exploration. For now though, I'm satisfied. And, I must say, I'm liking my new locale more and more as I explore deeper and deeper. And, one of these days, I will finish unpacking my stuff. Then, it will truly feel like home. Although, the bedroom full of boxes is a unique (lazy?) decorating element. Don't you think?

Comments: 4 | Post a Comment | Permalink

Sam,
that was a real adventure...maybe I will visit you in Wallingford...as opposed to saying that I will visit you in Wallingford.

Comment By TheDarkLordDerfla on June 20, 2005 7:20 PM

Pretty cool. You've graduated from B&E of abandoned buildings to currently vacant but used! Next...the girls dorm!

Even with possible legal ramifications (you did have to use the biosensor and probulator to gain entrance, yes?) I think it's a cool adventure.

Comment By Blackwatch on June 21, 2005 8:12 AM

Did you see my cousin? hey, how was Atlanta, i want to see more pix.

Comment By Anonymous on June 21, 2005 10:13 AM

Lots of nooks and crannies in Yale. I've got some pics of a room I found in the basement of a dorm. I'll have to find them.

Comment By Solo on November 11, 2005 7:37 PM

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Sam Who!?
Sam is an amazing and humble guy. Once, he rushed into a burning building, up six flights of stairs to save a kitten from certain death. He speaks eight languages, has mastered three varieties of martial arts, is a wine expert, and is a pulitzer prize winning author. Sam is an international heart-throb who prefers a quiet evening at home knitting afghans for the homeless, to the go-go, glitz and glamor of the party scene. I think the day he won the silver medal for ballroom dancing at the 98 olympics was the happiest of his life. Pretty impressive for a guy who never finished the 8th grade. - Carrie, 04
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