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A Night at the Opera

Recently, I had been given the most delicious offer that I could imagine; an offer that played right into my desire to do thrilling, cosmopolitan things. My Italian class was taken to go and see “Madame Butterfly” at the Metropolitan Opera. 

I was excited, not only because I was going to see a high-end work of art, but also because this sounded more like the sultry beginning to a romantic-suspense novel, in which an eighteen year old girl goes to the opera and it changes her life. I showed up ready to feel cultured as hell. I was going for chic, fashionable; trying to be one of those interesting New York women who makes people turn their heads so fast that they get whiplash. Using professor youtube as my guide, I put my hair in a bun and mentally-prepared myself for when my updo would fall through. After squeezing myself into a dress that I can only fit into if I force it over my head and not my hips, I jammed my feet into a sassy pair of bows-on-toes, super-high heels that would have made Carrie Bradshaw weep tears of joy. I have had the dress since the sixth grade, which might explain why it was cutting off circulation in my armpit. 

The Metropolitan Opera

My class and I experienced “Madame Butterfly” and I petition that we change the title of the opera to “men are trash,” since that is the overarching message. For those of you who don’t know, the opera is about a teenage Japanese geisha girl who marries an American soldier, only to have him leave her. She marries him for love, because she is a wonderstruck child who still believes in such concepts, whereas he marries her mostly because it was fashionable. Everybody insists that he has left her for good but she is in denial due to her naivety, despite the fact that he has been gone for three years. When the soldier’s friend, the counselor, tries to explain to her that their marriage is no more, she exposes the fact that she has a child. Her husband comes back and she is excited because she thinks that her husband is finally returning to her, but in reality he is bringing his new wife in order to collect their child. The woman is devastated and, in proper opera fashion, she kills herself.

Blush-pink rose petals being showered down on opera singers, may have been the most resplendent aesthetic I have ever seen, and made every unmarried person in the audience plan their wedding. Above the stage was a large mirror that showed the audience what was going on behind all of the set pieces and created a bold reflection whenever there was an elaborate costume. The opera singers hit such high notes that it didn’t sound like human voices anymore. My limited Italian came in handy, but I was also guided by the subtitles on the backs of the chairs in front of me. 

Chandeliers inside the theater

I obsessed over every aspect of that night, but one of my favorite parts of any posh night is the dressing up part. I was proud of the sleek look that I put together, even though it did not take long to fall apart. Later that night, once I was no longer around anybody who had seen me prior to, I really let myself go and a girl from my writing class saw me walking barefoot through a cold parking lot, wearing only one earring, and appropriately asked me “ya, good?” I was definitely fine, but was craving that post-outing decompress, where you let your hair down and put on sweatpants after an eventful night. Back in my room, surrounded by some much-appreciated warmth that I had been deprived of when walking around in a short dress and heels, I scrubbed off all of my makeup and unwound. 

Molto bene!

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

A bag of fleas

A photo of my beloved Waller-Bridge that I took from the internet

I am a modern woman with modern tastes. I am a testament to my generation and its greatness, so it should be no surprise that “Fleabag” is my favorite show, aside from the West Wing. Since “Fleabag” is my favorite TV show it should also follow that “Fleabag” is my favorite one woman show. “Fleabag”, for those of you who do not know, is an Amazon original, based on Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one woman show. Phoebe Waller-Bridge holds the distinction of being the writer, creator, and star of the Prime original, as well as the writer/producer of “Killing Eve,” and, of course, she’s a down-ass bitch. Aside from being my woman crush everyday, Waller-Bridge sold out theaters in the West End, was nominated for eleven Emmys, and hosted SNL. 

Therefore, you can imagine how excited I was when I scored two tickets to a screening of Phoebe Waller-Bridge performing her one woman show in the West End. A movie theater that specialized in airing pre-recorded plays, was selling the tickets. Having purchased two tickets, I decided to make a friend and invite them. I bought the tickets in September, giving me ample time to make the cuts in my friend collection, and by that I mean I picked from a group of three people. I decided to invite my good friend Sofia from my creative writing class, who I thought would appreciate the one woman show.

She was really excited for it, as was I, but she had actually not seen the “Fleabag” TV show. I still do not understand the mythical ways of the subway system, so she planned the logistics of the trip. I do not know when to get off, which subway to take, how to know when you have reached your destination, how many blocks each subway goes and so forth. If I take the subway, there is a very good chance that I will end up in Nova Scotia. 

Fortunately, Sofia is the type of person who knows when to get off the subway and which subway you must take from there. Me, being the girl who got lost in her one story house as a child, let her take the lead. So with Sofia as my sherpa guide, we ventured into the city. We were delivered to the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Symphony Space Theater safely, and found some good seats.

As we were sitting there, waiting for the production to start, it occurred to me that I might not have pregamed her for the raunchiness and the obnoxiously oversexed humor of Phoebe Waller-Bridge. For those of you who think that this is no big deal, I would just like to state that the line I remembered the best from the show was “there is a hand print on my wall from when I had a threesome on my period.” I later learned that Sofia’s favorite film was “Inglorious Bastards” and was glad to discover that our taste in performing art was more distatesful than wholesome. 

The play was excellent. I can’t get over how talented and witty Phoebe Waller-Bridge is. Her monologue was exceptionally written but it was enhanced by her impeccable line delivery. She completely commits to the joke as shamelessly as her character believes the things that she says. Naturally, I also love the intensity of her female-perspective, which she spouts without alienating her male audience. A one-woman performance seems unfathomably hard, but Waller-Bridge made it look easy.

I was also surprised to see how many 50 and older people came to watch the show, since much of it was just stuff that you would joke about with your friends inside your living room. Yet there was an ornery old woman, doing a decent Methuselah impression and shushing people before the show even started. This isn’t to say that there was no depth to her work. It is actually a dark comedy about a depressed woman in the wake of her friend’s death, with a plot twist at the end. 

My friend Sofia, isn’t she cute?

 I 10/10 recommend watching it. After the show, we went to “5 Napkin Burger,” a restaurant that we had both been to before. If you like eating a burger that is almost the size of your head and drips burger juice down the length of your arm, then this is the place for you. We ate and then thanks to Sofia, we took the right train back. We sprinted across Grand Central Station and reached our train right before it pulled out, and we were way too proud of that fact. All and all, I had a great time with my friend, watching Waller-Bridge crush it in a pre-recorded live performance.

Me eating a s’mores milkshake that I want right now

Hoping for more of this energy for 2020.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel 

Am I a princess locked in a tower or a Jeopardy wiz who never leaves her room?

Some pics of me doing some normal human things

A few little updates about how I am doing:

In an attempt to save my money, I have not gone into the city these past few weekends, making me feel like a fairy princess that has been locked in a tower. Since I have nothing but downtime, I have caught up on my sleep and schoolwork and therefore am doing better in my classes, not that I was doing poorly before, mind you.

One of the ways that I find joy is by dressing up for my classes, easing any dullness that could be afoot. Some days I want to dress like a fashion icon, so I play “Vogue” by Madonna and practically shadow box across my room as I dress. I then leave my dorm room, channeling my best Carrie Bradshaw in my leopard print coat, listening to Lizzo through my Beats so that I can have confidence oozing out of every orifice. I walk into town to my local bodega, pretending that I am in the opening sequence of “The Devil Wears Prada.” One day for class I dressed up like Miranda Priestly, only to go back to my dorm room and watch Jeopardy!, the very definition of all dressed up with no place to go. Netflix put on more tournament episodes of Jeopardy!, giving my life meaning again. I am fully convinced that I would make the ideal Jeopardy! contestant: wit, charm, astounding intellect.

What is the prim-rose path, Alex? Who is Midas? What is paraffin?

Christmas is in sight and I am trying to hold off on being cheery until Thanksgiving is in my rearview mirror, although admittedly unsuccessfully. In the past, Christmas has come and gone so quickly that I felt like I almost missed it. I was shopping on Christmas Eve, phoning in gifts, and buying last minute Christmas decorations. 

I already feel like I have missed out a bit on Halloween and am now feeling the belated urge to watch “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” and cast spells at midnight. To avoid those feelings, I am checking in early for Christmas. It is officially cold outside and it gets dark early in the day. That makes it Christmas season.

I need to start saving money soon so that my loved ones get more than just my thoughts and prayers for Christmas. Every year in the past, I have had a surplus of money in my bank account come Christmas time, and in some cases an actual comma in my bank account, but then Christmas happens and I spend it all. Now, losing my money after the holidays seems like a nonissue since I am going into the holidays with no money. Problem solved. This is because God knew that I would be too powerful if I could actually hold onto my money. All and all, everything is going swimmingly. Christmas is upon me, my bank account is dismal, but at least I have the comfort of knowing that I would kill it in Jeopardy!

Some wholesome fall content

Happy Halloween, witches! Today I have some wholesome fall content set to some tasteful pics of aesthetically pleasing autumnal trees.

Finally, I am living in a part of the country where the trees actually turn colors and there is a chill in the air when fall comes around. My campus has been turning orange and red all over with scattered leaves and I am convinced that fall leaves just about always look prettier than spring flowers. Every now and then, I’ll glance up and notice that the autumnal leaves look so vibrant and have sunlight streaming so intensely through them, that they remind me of stained glass windows. I always stop to take a picture of them and look like a weirdo who has never seen a tree before.

My obsession with having too many coats and mugs fits in quite nicely with the fall aesthetic. I have so far missed my opportunity to reread the Harry Potter books, something I am sure would be my favorite fall activity if I gave it a try, but I am still trying to drown myself in apple cider and hot chocolate. Every morning, I have been stuffing my face with banana bread, as a means of breakfast, with it being my fall pastry of choice. I have an entire hidden stash of loaves of banana bread in my dorm room and I am hoping to make it to my next break, having lived almost entirely off banana bread.

On Halloween day, I donned cat ears, drew on whiskers, and painted on some cat eye makeup, despite not being a cat person. I topped it off with all black clothes, a cheetah print coat, a cat bowtie, furry fingerless gloves, and black ankle boots. I make a fine feline, in case there was any question. I went to all of my classes on Halloween dressed like a cat and was pleased to find that I was far from the only one.

Meow

My Halloween door decorations won the contest, earning me a bag of candy, that I am currently eating. Sitting around on Halloween night, picking through a bag of candy, while listening to a novel on audiobook, is not how I pictured spending my Halloween night, but the productivity alone makes my uneventful Halloween worth it. 

I went to my school’s fall formal, which was area 51 themed, since my generation’s obsession with that place has given it party-themable qualities. When I walked into the party, I was sprayed with an air-hose by a person in a school-logoed hazmat suit like I was being decontaminated. The rest of the night took on a semi-normal course: dancing, sweating, overheating, realizing that you are wearing the same red dress as at least three other girls. 

So far, it has been a very successful fall.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

Nevermore

Me dressed like “The Raven”

It was a Friday night. My homework was done and my responsibilities were all but nonexistent. I was about to heat up my Indian leftovers and watch a show about murder, when someone informed me that a party was going on. With it being so close to Halloween the party (naturally) was of the costume variety. I did not originally want to go but since my FOMO came on stronger than the inertia I felt towards leaving my room, I decided to get dressed in whatever costume I could conjure up and hopefully join in on the fun.  

For reasons passing understanding, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” was the only thing that came to mind, but couldn’t be more appropriate in terms of Halloween. Working with a limited range of materials, I wore garish, reptilian-looking eye makeup and a black crushed velvet tank top and jacket. I looked like a badger.  

Me, looking like Marilyn Manson, despite being dressed as “The Raven”

Midnight dreary is a pretty good way to describe my night, since it was dark, rainy, and cold; the ideal atmosphere for a lone raven. Since college has yet to make a good dancer out of me, my unsexy and seziuresque dance moves have not wowed at any parties. At every party I go to, I always set the same goal for myself and that goal is always to have a new experience. I would not exactly categorize boredom as a new experience but that was what I was left with. The whole group jammed themselves into a small room as they shuffled to bad music, unwillingly sober. I also was one of the only people dressed in a costume so being cast confused looks was a large part of my night. I sort of felt like everybody who was there was doing an emperor’s new clothes type of thing, where they all were too invested to admit that they were not having a good time. I could not stop yawning all night long so I flew back to my dorm room in order to ponder weak and weary in my chamber.

Around the same time that I was dressing like a carnivorous bird from a nineteenth century poem, I painted a serial killer smile on the door of my dorm, and then I covered it in crime scene tape, which might explain why my roommate stayed away for so long. My floor hosts a door decorating contest for Halloween, and much like with the raven costume, I was one of the only people who participated in it, and my contribution was me making an obscure reference that nobody understood. The design on my door was inspired by the show “The Mentalist,” which I spend just about all my free time watching. 

My dorm room door

By hitting the scene looking like vampira and painting sadistic smiles on my door, the Halloween spirit is alive and well in this one. Fortunately, my new experience at the party has taught me something about myself.

Will I ever go to a lame party against my better judgement again? 

Nevermore.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

A Day in the Life

Let’s say for instance that you’re me. 

(me)

You intended to live a wild eighteenth year, filled to the brim with consequence-free debauchery and incompetence. You ended your high school career ready to break all the rules. You were going to try everything. You were going to have stories that would make your children clutch their pearls in the future.

Instead, you wake up every morning to a mindful meditation app that you like to listen to because it clears your mind and you find the woman’s voice soothing.You take an all-women literature class, that is basically an abstract book club, in which you read Jane Austen and you actually like reading Jane Austen. One of the ways you relax now is by watching gritty shows on Netflix, like “Mindhunter” and then going on Facebook to see what other people think about it. You are one step away from eating Special K in the morning because you want a convenient and nutritious breakfast. Now, among everything else you have to do, you have to schedule an exorcism to free yourself of the forty year old woman that has clearly possessed you.

Meanwhile, everybody is making out with each other and you suddenly realize that it is not a coincidence that everyone got sick at the same time. Eating each other’s faces off with Hannibal Lecter-like precision, is how other students get their kicks. You get yours from ordering food off Grubhub and Postmates so that you don’t have to go out to eat, and you look forward to the weekend so that you can take trips into the city. People around you get drunk off Fireball and Peach Schnapps even though both of those things taste like cleaning polish. You go to parties and people around you are drinking beer that is probably just 90% foam and water, but they are drinking it like it is an antidote to poison. Drunk girls at parties touch your hair and tell you that you are beautiful, but then their memories lapse like a goldfish and they don’t remember any of that. You are so much more docile in comparison to them, that you wonder if you are being slipped antidepressants without knowing it.

Although sometimes, your wild side- because you really do have one- comes out, and you dance on top of two tables and you body surf a crowd while dressed like a heroin-chic supermodel from the 90s. It was a decades-themed party and you always dress like a grungy, underfed 90s model for all decades-themed events, because, aside from being hot and an underrated costume choice, you look like you could be one. Other times you and your friends- because you really do have them- get kicked out of a party, because, in hindsight, that party was most likely being thrown by the Black Student Union and you weren’t invited.

Then, you arrive at this week.

The protein bars that you live off of are officially gone. You take vitamins so that you can feel alert in the morning. You OD on angry feminism in your dorm room at 2 am and that is one of the highlights of your night. You have since started rewatching “The Mentalist” because it’s another crime procedural and you might be in love with Simon Baker, so you and your mother like to discuss it.

And you know what: it doesn’t matter at all.

You wanna listen to the depressed and angsty playlist you made on Spotify? Go for it. Who’s going to know what you’re listening to? You wanna watch clips from “Legally Blonde” during your study breaks so that you feel motivated to finish your work? Do it. You will come off that high feeling like you can do anything. You wanna listen to inspiring Tom Petty songs on your way to classes that you are barely staying afloat in? Also doable. The trick is to live with intention, by being invested in whatever it is you choose to do to get you through the day. No judgement required.

The full outfit

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

A Picnic in Central Park

By: Raquel Goddard

In want of a New York City picture show, I ventured into the city for a picnic that would hopefully shake away the feelings left behind by a week’s worth of school. I went with two of my new college friends, Chiara and Petra, so that we could spend our Saturday among the city dwellers. For food, I packed everybody turkey sandwiches, an assortment of bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, banana-nutella sandwiches for dessert, and Arnold Palmers to wash it all down. We took the Bronxville train into Grand Central, where we all injected ourselves with caffeine. From there, we walked to Central Park.

Our food spread

Decked out in a brown leather jacket, a red scarf, and knee length boots, I looked like Amelia Earhart. We sat on a patch of grass, between the water and the street, so we could admire the pond, but still watch the people go by. Standing in the pathway was a saxaphone player and it felt like he was performing for us.

The skyscrapers across from us on the other side of the water looked as though they were sprouting straight out of the pond. They towered over us without casting any long shadows our way.The sun peaked out from behind the skyscrapers and bathed everything in a golden glow.

The day glowed with sunshine without being blindingly bright. The weather was neither warm nor chilly and I was pleased that it worked out so perfectly, especially since I didn’t really check the weather forecast before I decided to do this. For all I knew, we could have been caught in a hail storm, but, as per my usual, I dove in without a second thought.

The trees have not yet changed colors but are starting to lighten up. When we were done eating at our own relaxed pace, we moved around the pond, crossing over the bridge and briefly dipping into an animal sanctuary. We spent the rest of the day milling around the city, going into the shops and stores that interested us, but no part of the day was better than the hour or so that we spent lounging around Central Park as we ate our picnic lunch. Glorious weather, sweet friends, and tasty food made for a day that was utter perfection.