The River Walk: That Time I Almost Died

By Lauren A. Sierra

We're not quite sure why, but Flyby writers seem to experience worse winter woes than the rest of campus. From Geoff's T Ride of Doom to Nacho's Quad Walk, this winter has been treating us particularly poorly. In our most recent installation of "I'm Cold and My Life Sucks," Caie makes the grave mistake of trying to go to class.

Complaining about living in the Quad and having to deal with shuttle transportation during the winter is a pretty regular occurrence on Harvard’s campus, so much so that whining that Eliot and Winthrop are “actually pretty far away, I swear,” from the Science Center is normally quickly shut down. Yesterday morning, however, my morning journey from the faraway land of the River houses to the Yard resulted in an unforeseen danger Quadlings do not have to face: all of the sidewalks from the river to the entrance of the Yard were covered by a thick layer of ice.

Nacho wrote a couple days ago about his first good cry in a long time, and so here’s another tragic tale courtesy of El Nino. It was a pretty warm day, and much of the ice was dripping from the houses as I left Winthrop around 9 am. Immediately, I was greeted by a sight I didn’t expect: perhaps because of the major shift from deathly-cold to mildly balmy temperatures in the night, the sidewalks were covered with ice—the smooth, unfriendly kind of ice that is on fresh skating rinks (I’m not a STEM major, so who knows if this is how winter works). I should have known to give up on my education and return to the shelter of my asbesto-filled home. But I felt a deep sense of obligation, because the professor of my 300-person Gen Ed clearly cares deeply about me and I didn’t want to let him down.

So I set off on my journey, and nearly to the yard around the old Yenching (#rip), I stepped on a particularly slippery piece of ice and went down. It was the kind of fall that happens quite rarely, when you’re falling so quickly that it feels like the ground is coming up to meet you instead of vice versa. The ice made a nice, sharp cracking noise as I fell, a gentle reminder of the weight I’ve gained since coming to Harvard. Because I’m brilliant I also happened to be carrying a HUDS breakfast classic: a blueberry muffin paired with a full cup of coffee. As I fell, up went the coffee (and cream) and the blueberry muffin, right into the beautiful place that is most commonly referred to my face.

Standing up, my hair, sweatshirt, and face dripping in coffee and muffin crumbs, I heard a weak “oh, damn” from behind me, courtesy of the group of students rushing to their morning classes. As an added bonus, a nearby construction crew also got to witness, and snicker at, my fall.

So here’s a note for all Harvard students: if you’re wondering how to walk on ice, the answer is probably pretty simple—don’t.

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