Adam Kaminski | The Cool Column
Parents, Idah and Skywalker
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 02:10
I loved Parents’ Weekend, probably more than I love my parents (don’t worry, Mom, it’s not true). From showing off the beautiful fall campus, to hiding the fact I don’t have as many friends as my parents think I do, to watching peers awkwardly escort their families though labyrinthine residential halls, I enjoyed the entertainment and enthusiasm of the day. Plus my family replenished my Luna bar stash. That helped, too.
This experience even convinced me that free Luna bars aren’t the only parental benefit. Hosting visitors allowed me to experience Tufts from a foreigner’s perspective and with a foreigner’s excitement. It allowed me to relive highlights of my first month through storytelling. It opened my eyes to the subtle luxuries I don’t ever want to take for granted. Apparently it didn’t teach me to stop using anaphora, so I’ll leave that to Professor Leavell. My parents were a kaleidoscope through which I could better appreciate Tufts.
One such luxury welcomes me daily in Dewick, sometimes Hodgdon. She’s a super sweet and a super cool celebrity. I am, of course, speaking of Idah Duche, the jovial, cheery, and infectious cafeteria worker. As she swipes me into the café,窠her contagious smile and energetic exclamations (“Have a nice day!”) warm me like no quantity of food could. Not even Dewickian pad thai. I knew I wanted to share this feeling with my parents and sister, who tagged along despite a broken tibia (I guess I am loved after all). I knew it was imperative to the Tufts experience, my Tufts experience.
Wait, what? Imperative? Isn’t that like, an exaggeration or something? Do you even know what that word means, man? Nope and not a chance. It does seem melodramatic to laud a single employee as “imperative” to the college experience, but hear me out. Idah embodies an undying energy permeating the campus. It’s like chi in Eastern philosophy or the Force in “Star Wars,” only exponentially more badass (Wait, is that possible?). Like so much of the Tufts community, she brings an extraordinary heaping of fun and enthusiasm to her work. It’s going viral, too. Led by Idah’s unwavering smile, our community generates force like Luke Skywalker on ecstasy, like Jackie Chan on a J.P. Licks ice cream espresso.
My greatest fear, aside from the fear that my excessive use of the superlative will sound grandiose, is that I’ll begin to grow accustomed to Idah and this enthusiasm, that for one embarrassing moment I’ll ignore the brilliant energy of our dining halls and campus. Energy not only in the form of calories, either. Who knows how prone I am to this numb dissent. Possibly a veteran upperclassman would understand ... it’s too bad I’m frightened of those, too.
As luck would have it, I did not find the opportunity to show off Idah to my parents last weekend. In other words, I opted that we splurge at that Tedeschi Mart in Davis instead. Caught between a second Tufts dining hall tour and unlimited hot chocolate packets, the quintessential first world problem, I went with my gut — my hedonistic, chocolate-craving gut. The decision was impulsive, but the consequences have been nonexistent; maybe I didn’t need my parents’ perspective in this one, specific instance. I still love Idah, appreciate her vibe and obsess over her warm smiles. I didn’t need to show her off to reinvigorate my own enthusiasm. Hers, ostensibly, has been enough for both of us.
My parents will certainly find their way back to campus (at the most minuscule excuse, too), where they’ll have another chance to feel that dining hall rush. Their presence will again elicit forgotten stories of excitement, but not of Idah. I’ll always appreciate Idah, throughout Parents’ Weekend or otherwise, the way she deserves. Unlike that hot chocolate I’ve already begun to forget, a smile can make a lasting impression. Thank you, Idah. I’ll see you tomorrow.
Adam Kaminski is a freshman who has not yet declared a major. He can be reached at Adam.Kaminski@tufts.edu.