One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2023 was to be more spontaneous. And really, I need to think of a better word, because that makes me sound like a middle-aged woman trying to revive her love life. What I mean is: I want to break out of routine a little, talk to strangers, smile more, leave silly notes for people, walk without watching my feet. I want to gently shrug off the set of behaviors I have carefully curated to minimize risk and maximize comfort. I’m not calling for anything radical here, I’m just asking If I can maybe go without checking the Usdan lunch menu five times before 12:00 pm.
When I chose to acquaint my family with these intentions, I was met with a wellspring of advice. Here is what my a few of my loved ones had to say about how I might spontaneify my life as a Wesleyan student (paraphrased):
Brother: I know! I know! Listen. What you have to do is get a giant, hairy beaver suit and wear it to class. Also bring a jar of mayonnaise and eat out of it with a spoon. That will make you spontaneous.
Mother: Well you could go out more. (Listens) What? (Listens) You’re doing laundry? On a Saturday night? (General mirth ensues) Couldn’t you do it Sunday night? (Cue explanation of the turf wars that are waged nightly in the Nics 5 laundry room, and which would cow even the most advanced laundry practitioner). Hmph. If you must be doing laundry on a Saturday night, there are ways you could make that more spontaneous. Like at home, I vary the routine so it’s always a little different. I change the order of the loads, or I change the way I hang the clothes on the line, see if they dry faster…
Brother: Here. This is what we will do. I will make a giant wheel, okay. Okay? And when you want to be spontaneous you call me, and I spin it, and you do whatever it says.
(What will it say?)
Brother: It will say: wear a giant, hairy beaver costume.
Grandfather: I think what you should do is–what’s that thing you write for called? You should write an article, give the premise, and then explain what everyone’s advice was.
(Thank you Grandfather)
But that’s not all folks! For those of you who have been following this riveting saga with tears welling in your eyes and a heart that yearns for the sweet air of spontaneity, I have some ideas for you. And most of them don’t involve giant, hairy animal suits.
#1) Fun Food Combos a la Usdan! The vegan section, especially, holds a world of potential. Have you ever tried vegan cream cheese with steamed napa cabbage? What about wakame seaweed on mac and cheese? Or sweet potato curry on a waffle? These are all tried-and-tested combinations, and only one out of three made me want to stay in close proximity to a bathroom!
#2) Choose the Mud! You know that strip of marsh that sits at the very edge of Andrus field? Tell your Vans you love them and march gleefully through the watery brown sludge.
#3) Kiss the Cardinal! Next time you are snuggling up close to the Wesleyan Cardinal for a photo on Homecoming Weekend, go ahead and plant a kiss on that soft polyester down. Bonus points if you whisper something to the human inside that giant, hairy bird suit.
#4) Bid Farewell! Why not give a gracious goodnight to whomever happens to be on shift at Olin or SciLi, the kind that will make them wonder if you are just exceptionally outgoing or if they actually know you from somewhere…
#5) Untitled! Sit at a left-handed desk just for kicks. Sit at a right-handed desk just for kicks. (Bonus points if you stick with the ruse and write with your non-dominant hand).
#6) Toaster Mechanics! Change the orientation of your bagel in the bagel toaster each day. Flat side up or down? Change the toasting order. Top first? Same time? Bonus points if you MOVE AWAY FROM THE BAGEL TOASTER and go find something else spontaneous to do while you wait.
Extra bonus points if your bagel gets stuck in the toaster.
#7) Strip Poker! Play a very tedious solo version by getting rid of one item each night as you walk to the bathroom (for some, this will be a very short game).
#8) Refrigerator Anthropomorphism! Draw sad faces and use sellotape to attach them to expired food in the common room fridge.
#9) Anonymous Soap Baiting! Leave your soap in the shower and see if someone moves it. If they do, leave a note the next night saying: I know who you are and I know when you shower.
Of course, you could just wear a giant hairy beaver costume. But I’ll leave it up to you.