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Crossing the Chasm HBS-Style

We all heard the call from the SA to work toward greater interaction between RCs and ECs, but since when does anything the SA proposes actually happen? Well, the balance of the HBS universe was disrupted last week when RC and EC worlds collided. Oh, they can try to keep us apart: they can schedule RC lunch to begin exactly when ECs are starting class. They can give us different spring breaks. They can even draw a line of demarcation in lush blue carpet to delineate NA/OA (New Aldrich/Old Aldrich). But there is one place left unmonitored by the HBS administration: the steam room in the Shad men’s locker room. Please let that be true. Please God, don’t let the HBS administration be monitoring the steam room in the Shad men’s locker room.

And so we are brought to the scene where I, That Guy, had my inadvertent encounter with an RC: the steam room in the Shad men’s locker room. (Yes, readers, it’s true – That Guy’s skin doesn’t stay this smooth without work.) I was relaxing and enjoying the quiet when in walked the RC. Of course, being a well-trained HBS student by now, I assume that the world revolves around me and completely forget that other kinds of people exist. So naturally I assumed he was just an EC that I haven’t met yet. And he didn’t believe that these mythical people they call “ECs” really exist, since he had heard about them but never actually seen them (kind of like my girlfriend who I keep telling my friends about. Really guys, she does exist. No really, I mean it. She just doesn’t like hanging out with anyone at HBS besides me). Anyway, point being, he assumed that I was just another RC.

And so the conversation began: (note: The thoughts running through my mind as we spoke are in italics. In addition to being a witty writer, and a clever user of the ctrl-I shortcut, That Guy is also a mind reader. Therefore, the RC’s thoughts are printed for you in italics too.)

RC: “Hey, how’s it going?” This guy seems pretty cool – maybe we’ll be friends. (That Guy reserves creative license when reprinting the thoughts of others).

TG: Ooh. Awkward. Was this guy in my section? Is the steam thick enough that I can pretend I didn’t see or hear him? Probably not… “Not bad, not bad. You? How was your summer?”

RC (enthusiastically): “My summer was amazing. I spent June hiking the Inca trail in Peru, July backpacking through Western Europe and August sailing down the coast of Turkey. How about you?”

TG: So this lucky SOB got to enjoy a summer of leisure, followed by hanging out with everyone on the de facto Turkey Trek, while I was partaking in the internship from hell. This chump was tanning, sightseeing and enjoying the company of bikini clad Turks (ok, that was an image I didn’t need, Bedii in a bikini?!?!) while my name was officially changed to “That Intern Guy” for the summer? “I just finished working a couple weeks ago, so I didn’t really get to travel the world for three months. Some of us have to supplement the old CitiAssist here and there.”

RC: Did he work right up to Foundations? What a loser. “Interesting choice. I was really fried after the workload last year, so I just needed some time to unwind and chill out.”

TG: He suffered from the workload last year? What a loser. If I am not mistaken, we all had the same workload, but being “That Guy” and not “First Year Honors Guy” (but somehow also not “Hit the Screen Guy”), what do I know?

“Anyway, I’m really hungover. Had a big night last night.”

RC: “Yeah me too. Were you there? At Red Line? It was a good time.”

TG: Nobody goes to Red Line. “No, who was at Red Line?”

RC: Everybody was at Red Line. “Oh, just a bunch of people from our
class. Actually, I got together with this girl from my section.”

TG: “Oh wow, that’s impressive that you guys waited.” Unrequited Section Love for a whole year? Guess he missed Priscilla. And Holidazzle. And Section Auction. And The Kong. And Newport. And Pimps ‘n Ho’s. And the Section Retreat. And Brown Bag Lunch with Dean Kester.

RC: “Really? Yeah, I guess so.” Well, we have been in section for almost three weeks, and I broke off my engagement on Tuesday… “Hey, can I get your opinion? I have to miss class next Friday to go to my buddy’s wedding, and I’m nervous about getting a 3. Do you think it’s a huge mistake? Maybe I should go late to the wedding?”

TG: Wow this guy sounds uptight. He really must be gunning for Baker Scholar. “Are you kidding? It’s no problem. In fact, I have business in Germany coming up this Friday and Monday, so I’ll be missing class too.”

TG: “Hey, can you believe Aldrich? It looks amazing.”

RC: “Um yeah, I guess so.” Are we talking about the same place? It’s just a bunch of classrooms…

TG: “I guess so”?! I “guess” where Mr. “Don’t Have to Work This Summer” Big Shot comes from everybody has sliding mailboxes. “Yeah, the mailboxes slide.”

RC: “Oh. Cool.” Who cares about sliding mailboxes? This guy is crazy, I’m out of here.

RC: “Well, I gotta head out to work on my TOM writeup for study group tomorrow.”

TG: “Yeah, I’m leaving too, it’s almost time for my 3:00 seminar.”

RC/TG : “Ohhhhhh…..”

RC (mumbling in shame): “Sorry…”
In this moment of simultaneous realization, it was mutually understood that this forbidden crossing of class lines could never be spoken of again. Shouldn’t be a problem, since all of those RCs look the same to me.

September 20, 2004
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