Should You Eat Outside in the Cold?


As I waited in line this afternoon along with a hundred other students for my cup of hot cider, a donut hole, and a shiny Granny Smith apple, I wondered whether students at Stanford would have been so drawn by the lure of free food, or if there was something truly special about hot cider on a chilly autumn afternoon.

I think it’s the latter. New England is a beautiful study in contrasts, and while I haven’t had the chance to go out and observe it as much as I would have liked, thinking back on the past few days makes me vaguely nostalgic and yet also somewhat grateful that next year I’ll be returning home to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Saturday, I took the MPRE. I could write volumes on what a pointless test that was, and not because I think that legal ethics are a sham or aren’t necessary. Indeed, the test seemed designed to reward people who didn’t study much and who didn’t know the model rules.

My favorite question of all came at the end, where students were asked to check a box next to how long they’d studied. It read something like: Option A, none at all. Option B, 1 to 15 hours. Option C, 16 to 30 hours. Option D, more than 30 hours. Fifteen hours of studying in the same category as one hour? Check.

(Heaven help me if I have to take that test again. Please, Lord, make the curve my friend.)

Thankfully, I was that annoying person who asked if we could leave the exam as soon as we finished, so I didn’t have to sit in the freezing ballroom for the remainder of the two-hour test. But my plans of a relaxing afternoon shopping on Newbury Street were sadly thwarted by the high winds and rain that met me as I exited the testing center.

That evening, I decided to use portions of my BarBri MPRE booklet as kindling for my fireplace. It was not the smartest idea, as my apartment and most of my house filled with acrid smoke. Neighbors, if you’re reading this, I am so sorry about that. I blame MPRE induced hysteria.

I spent most of yesterday staring out at the rain. Rarely in California does it manage to rain all day. When it does, Californians start freaking out, the highways start flooding, and people tend to hunker down and wait out the storm. The only weather related day off I ever got in school was when heavy rain flooded a hallway.

Here, everyone acts like the rain is no big deal. We have tunnels, and besides, it’s not freezing rain, sleet, or hail. Today, I found myself marveling at the brilliancy of the sun and the clarity of the air. Even though the sun doesn’t impart much warmth this time of year, it still managed to evoke the feelings of happiness that most people associate with a summer’s trip to the beach. (Now, I often associate trips to the beach with grey days and bundling up, but I’m from Northern California, and SoCal is altogether different.)

When I bought my lunch at the cafeteria today, there wasn’t any question in my mind about sitting outside. Of course I was going to. It was sunny. The Science Center’s courtyard blocked the wind. It was in the 40’s, so it wasn’t freezing out.If you told me five years ago that I would consider 45 degrees pleasant enough to sit outside and eat my lunch, I would have scoffed. I used to put on a turtleneck sweater as soon as it hit 60. I had ski gloves for the days it made it down to 40. 1L year, the silk long-johns were out and in regular wardrobe rotation by November. Nowadays, I blithely get by with two layers, a long sleeved t-shirt and a fleece, and the long underwear is hiding somewhere under my bed along with two pairs of ski gloves, several thick knit hats, and about a dozen pairs of wool or high-tech fleece socks.

Yesterday was a charming afternoon, and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did, even if they ran out of cider before it was your turn at the tap.

Erin Archerd is a 3L, and thanks the Greenhouse Effect for making these past few New England winters so warm and welcoming. Now if only it didn’t threaten to put the Bay Area under several feet of water.

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