Breakthrough.

I would be swimming, but the pool is closed from 215p until 5p weekdays. And rather than relearn the theory of second order differential equations — and I need to — I choose to spend my time with you, dear reader.

I begin, again, with Benoit. Bart, another boy from Leverett also at the lecture, tells me that poor Mandelbrot had been discredited by his contemporaries throughout his life and that he, Bart, not Mandelbrot, was prepared for far worse. I say this only as fact. Forty years later he should be over it. McMullen showed that the Mandelbrot set, his set, is a universal object. Some might say that’s makes it a pretty important object of study.

Last night marked the third and final birthday party this Columbus holiday weekend. Anahita turned twenty-three only hours after Kaitlyn. She reserved the commonspace in Conant for the night. Her mother even came, from Iran.

The commonspace consists of two rooms divided by a short hallway and an adjoining kitchen. In one room the Persian danced; in the other the physicists — Anahita is a G1 in the physics department, you know — they kicked each other or watched the Persians.

Having practiced my moves at Adel’s party on Friday night, I felt more at home with the Iranians than the physicists. Nina Ni came with me; she acted as a natural bridge, being both shameless and a decent dancer.

After she left and quiet hours began, a few of us walked down the street to Cambridge Commons for an end of the night beer. Jonathan, the Quebecois, noted that those of us with beards drank faster than those without. Verena, being the only girl and being without a beard, objected initially but realized that the rate at which she drinks is, as noted, a physical inevitability. Alberto, who is also from Madrid, but bearded and not a physicist, was quite nice. He easily accepted my being half-Mexican. Apparently I’ve grown more picante by means of association. I’ve never claimed to be Irish or more than one-quarter Mexican, though I do entirely believe in the integrality of mi hispanicidad.

Today at lunch, I swapped out a seat at the table with the boys across the hall for the silent sophomores. This time they talked back. All of them, including Mark. David Saunders has told fantastic stories in which Mark speaks, but I had always taken them for lore. It turns out that he has a thick North Shore accent. I tried to play up what little of a Shore Shore accent I have. By the end of the meal Alyssa had slipped into one, as well. I tried to focus mine in Hyde Park. Alyssa picked up a proper end-of-the-Red Line inflection. The polyphony was in itself magical. But the real breakthrough is this: they stayed to chat even after they had finished with their food.

April regaled us with tales of Donald, “the retard on a bike who burned things” in her town on her reservation. Donald also tries to steal cats.

But then it was time to move on.

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