As an academic, a book nerd, and a lover of history; the thought of a visit to the Harvard campus has always been something to quicken my pulse. Knowing my GPA and bank account would never be the factors to walk me through the prestigious wooden doors, it was as a visitor and a tourist that I would have to plan my time at the Ivy League University around.
So, naturally, as my husband and I planned our most recent trip to The Bay State, a stop at a school I have forever dreamt about was at the top of my ‘must see’ list. We set aside an entire day to tour Cambridge; to wander around the campus and soak in all the history behind the brownstones.
We were greeting with buzzing conversations and students scurrying up and down the winding pathways, presumably to get to their next class. We stopped to take pictures of the Harvard squirrels snacking on animal crackers, and then continued on to where our walking tour directions told us to begin our adventure.
It is at this point that I feel I must add a few disclaimers to my story. My husband and I are both well-educated, professional adults. We have travelled quite extensively throughout our relationship, navigating busy cities, consistently finding our way when our GPS insisted we were driving through the middle of the ocean, and even managed to remain married after spending more than 100 hours in a vehicle together in a one week period. Harvard however, had us stumped. It felt as though we were being challenged to some secret initiation test in which we were failing horribly. Every door we approached required us to prove our enrollment with, what appeared to be a student card made of gold. Either that, or a first born to offer. Unfortunately, we had neither.
My toes were cold, my nose was running, and I was completely defeated. The only thing I wanted was to run my fingertips down the rows of old books and breath in the scent of years of pages being studied by scholars, but my travel sized Kleenex was my sole consolation. Dragging my feet we made our way back to the T station with a promise to drown our sorrows in Boston cream pie. My husband nudged me gently with his elbow and nodded at a gentleman walking toward us. He looked like an English professor – smudged glasses, worn leather patches on his cardigan to cover his elbows, and arms stretched to their full-length with a load of novels. He looked like a nice man, who would understand my need to visit the library. I was confident he would sneak us in. The distance between us grew shorter and just as my lips parted to ask for his assistance he looked the opposite direction and let one rip. My hopes had been high he would be my golden ticket and instead he answered my call for help by breaking wind. And that, about sums up my visit to Cambridge.