Bondage and pancakes

I’m a former West Campus resident who just recently moved to Random, thanks in large part to the evangelical efforts of Randomite friends. I’d just like to share a couple of stories that come to mind when I think of the East Side.

My first story takes place back in March; I was already subscribed to Random’s email discussion list, r-h-t, and one afternoon an email popped up in my inbox about an informal seminar at Random that evening. The topic: How to tie people up safely, effectively, and prettily. After I’d finished laughing and facepalming, I decided this actually sounded fun and interesting and was worth a look. I headed over at 10pm, and J— and K— (not sure whether I actually need to keep their names secret, but I just like using initials; it feels all cool and literary) taught us basic safety principles and some knots and harnesses. We split up into groups of two to practice on each other, so of course there were an odd number of people; I ended up in a threesome, which worked well enough for simple knots that only needed a limb or two, but when we got to harnesses, I was just waiting around while one of my partners tied up the other. J— invited me to practice on him, so I started tying the harness he’d just demonstrated. I kept worrying that I was tying things too tightly, and apologizing if he was uncomfortable, but he just said, “No, it’s fine. I like being tied up.”

…Well, obviously, otherwise why would he be teaching this class? But still, the way he said it so casually made an impression on me. The lesson I took from this was: The truly wise have no guilty pleasures; they are who they are, and like what they like, and are open and comfortable with themselves. I feel like this candor is an important aspect of East Side culture.

The other story, if you can call it that, comes from the summer I spent at East Campus. I started out on 5 West, but midway through the summer ended up moving to 3 East, better known as Tetazoo. One evening, I was relaxing in my room when a cry of “Pancakes!” rang out down the hallway. In the kitchen, I found free apple pie and ice cream waiting for anyone who washed one of the dirty dishes left in the sinks; I gladly performed my duty and claimed my reward. As I became more versed in Tetazoo culture, I learned that “pancakes” was a general term for this sort of free food being offered to the floor at large. I really liked this idea, and baked a couple of batches of pancakes myself while I was there; I still keep a supply of chocolate chip cookie ingredients, which I use from time to time. There were a lot of fun experiences on Tetazoo: marveling at the cool gadgets and gizmos like Sodalord (a soda machine with debit accounts) and Musicazoo (a system for playing youtube videos on a screen in the lounge); getting advice on circuit boards I was messing with in the EE lab; staying up until ridiculous hours watching Avatar: The Last Airbender; but pancakes are still the first thing I think of when I think of Tetazoo.

The East Side is a pretty unrestrained place; we pride ourselves on being weird, and don’t put as much weight on the views and prejudices of the world at large. We don’t need anyone else’s culture; we have one of our own, one that’s free and open and kind and generous, and makes perfect sense as long as you’re willing to open your mind a little.

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